Carol Nosches speaks about how putting down your laptops or smart phones while traveling and having a real conversation with the person sitting next to you can be an inspiring event.
On a recent flight to the East Coast, I noticed a trend that has been validated for me, over and over, the past number of years. As I was getting ready to board my flight, I was struck, once again, with the “quiet” in the gate area. As I looked around and opened my eyes more widely I noticed roughly 90% of the people, whether traveling alone or with others, adults, children and seniors…they all sat quietly typing and tapping away on their devices.
Then it became my quest, right then and there, to try to make eye contact and share a friendly smile with someone. FINALLY I became aware of an older gentleman, finely dressed in a suit, smile at me. I noticed that he wasn’t attached to a device. Could he be on the same quest as myself? ALAS, someone is living in the moment of humanity in this small environment of the gate area. He walked over to me and we began to have a nice conversatioin. Casually discussed the weather, where we were going and why we were traveling. You know, chit-chat. It was interesting to note that he was recently retired, though acting as a consultant and thoroughly enjoying his life. He lit up discussing the importance of EACH and EVERY day… He was an inspiration to me.
As I embrace my work commitments and responsibilities, it is hopeful for me that someday, I may be in the same shoes when I retire. What a refreshing conversation we shared. Ironically, as we boarded our flight, he was seated across the aisle from me. So we chatted occasionally and were mindful not to disturb the “quiet atmosphere” on board the aircraft. As we parted our ways at the conclusion of our flight, we exchanged business cards. We have communicated a few times now. I find him a positive individual and consider him a “gift” in my busy, hectic world. A simple blessing from a conversation with a stranger.
With the innovative technology tools (laptops, tablets, smartphones etc…) we are all able to be productive, engaged and involved with the device at almost any place, anywhere. We truly have established a relationship that is based on a human-device model –at least in our Western society. However, my discovery, maybe coveted by some of you, is that I made a friend. Remember a warm smile and a good conversation can go a long way for fulfillment if you have the desire and curiosity to notice others around you.
I’m happy I took time to breathe and take in what was around me. Life passes us so very quickly. Take time to have a conversation.
Carol Nosches, CTC is our Corporate Travel Services Manager at World Travel Business Elite.