I’m talking to you live from the plane (well, I’m writing in the plane but I’ll post when I have both feet on the ground and an internet connection). Today I left the end of the Canadian winter to go to Bolivia. Small thermal shock in preparation.
I took a first flight from Toronto to Panama City and I’m currently on my second flight: Panama City – Santa Cruz, Bolivia. And I wanted to chat with you, as I used to do a few years ago on the blog. Let’s start the story of how I love meeting people. On the first flight there are individual screens but I had downloaded a series on my iPad. On the second flight there are no individual screens and I have nothing to watch on the iPad. Bad calculation, but then I couldn’t guess.
I spent the first 2 hours of this flight looking out of the window, contrary to the flights to France where we are so high that we can’t see anything, then a big part of the flight is over the ocean and at night, to go to Bolivia we fly rather low, in the middle of the day and we can see the beauty of the landscape passing under our eyes. Small villages, rivers full of curves which cross the lands on kilometres. Clouds that almost look like ski slopes. As I write, night has fallen and I can only see the immensity of the dark sky.
I rarely have so much time alone with nothing to do. Between the fact that I always have something to do and the fact that we don’t really let each other have time anymore since at the slightest break we jump on our phones. I rarely have time to think, to reflect on life. About my life. About the evolution of things. To the turn of events. To the path I’ve taken.
So today we’re going to talk a little bit about all that. But before that I want to talk about the journey.
It’s funny because I don’t particularly like to travel alone, I like to share the experience with someone, I like to be able to see the surprise, the excitement, the joy in the other’s eyes. That’s why I enjoyed our stay in France last fall so much. Seeing my boyfriend discover France was such a beautiful experience.
It’s funny because even though I like to travel alone from point A to point B. I met several people on my way and I haven’t even arrived at my destination yet.
I want to share it with you to remember it. This morning while leaving my house 2 Uber cancelled the ride just before arriving in front of my house. While I was waiting I saw a girl coming out of my building. She had 2 suitcases. At 6:20 am there are few people outside and I almost talked to her, asked her where she was going and if she wanted to share the Uber to the station. Then I said to myself: “It’s 6am, leave this girl alone, not everyone is ready to chat 5 minutes after waking up”.
I got to the station, chatted with my Uber. It’s very rare that I don’t chat with Uber drivers, and if you don’t you should, especially in Toronto. They all have great stories to tell, and sometimes not so great stories that make you step back and appreciate the simple things even more.
Anyway, here I am on my way to the shuttle that goes from downtown to the airport. Well in advance I put my GoPro to film when I place my suitcase, even at 6am we do not forget to capture content for the vlog.
A few minutes before the doors close you’ll never guess who gets into my train ? My neighbour! She sits next to me: “I saw you in front of our building with your suitcase, nice to meet you! She is super excited it’s her first plane trip since the Coco. From strangers to 6am in front of our building to chat during the half hour of travel and exchange our phone numbers and our Instagram to follow our respective stays.
At the airport, I put my GoPro in the middle of the airport to film myself walking (I have to show you the backstage of all this, this winter I had put it in the snow haha) and I see a small group of guys approaching. They tell me: “don’t worry, we are also filming! We have also filmed like that here earlier! “What are you doing? Youtube and you? Same thing.” We talked about cameras. Of their stay. Of mine. We were on the same flight (apparently Panama City is THE place of all changes, in my flight there were so many different final destinations).
Here we go, I’m sitting in the plane ready to take off and my seatmate starts to talk to me. Mexican, he has just spent a vacation in Toronto, he loved it, a little fresh but he really enjoyed the city. We talk about his home town, I know it by name. I speak to him about my country of origin. Then I dive into my series.
Arrived at Panama City it is an incredible heat. I had a sweater, a jeans jacket and leggings, too cold for Toronto. Much too hot for Panama. I’m suffocating a bit, the change is brutal, and I feel like my hair is swelling with the humidity. Oh yes, and I have my period. Otherwise it wouldn’t be funny. Everything is fine. Where is my door for my correspondence? Where can I find water? I buy a bottle of water, the boarding for my second flight has already started. I had 1h30 between the 2 on paper but in reality I didn’t wait and I went from one plane to the other.
And there I was just meeting the most interesting people of this beginning of stay.
My seat neighbours are a retired couple. The gentleman is 77 years old. We begin to chat at once in a very natural way. They arrive from Las Vegas, I tell them that the change of temperature is a little violent for me but that I am in a hurry to be arrived and to be able to adapt my dress.
This gentleman tells me that he met his wife in Bolivia in the 60s when he was working there. “Going to work there is the best thing I’ve ever done”, he tells me while looking at her. Love in its purest form. He holds her hand. He reminds me of my grandfather with my grandmother when she was still with us. His wife is from Eastern Europe but immigrated with her parents to Bolivia when she was a child. He tells me about their children, of course I have seen pictures. He was a helicopter pilot, a former military man who learned to fly when he left for the army and made a career of it. They are selling their house in Bolivia to be closer to their grandchildren in the United States. I tell them that it’s great, I loved growing up close to my grandparents.
He tells me about his daughter, she lost her job 2 days ago. But he doesn’t seem worried, “she’ll bounce back”. He asks me what I am doing in Toronto. It’s always more difficult to explain my professional life to people who are not very familiar with the Internet. I tell him that I created a website when I arrived in Toronto and that I create resources to help francophones who arrive in Toronto or want to come here. And that thanks to this I work with several francophone organizations, among others, to give workshops.
But that I have other activities. He asks me if I have a business card. “Of course” (I still have business cards, call it old school if you want but I find it so much more convenient and easier for the person to remember you by finding you later in their pocket). “I want to give it to my daughter, maybe she could chat with you and get some ideas to bounce back”. “Gladly.”
He asks me about my business “how do you find your business? Reference? Marketing?” I explain how I work. That I have diversified my business so that I don’t depend on one source of income.
The flight is not finished but he reads on his iPhone. He will tell me later that he reads the manuscript of a friend who writes his tenth book at 82 years old. And I have my AirPods (thanks to the AirPods Pro and the noise cancelling I feel like being alone on this flight!
There is a little less than 2 hours of flight left. The end is always the longest. Between you and me, I really look forward to land and take a shower.
In fact, we will talk about life in another article because this one is already long enough.
I don’t know if my stories will have interested you but I hope they will encourage you to take the time to talk to people you meet on your way when you are alone. It’s always easier to strike up a conversation when you’re alone. I love these little moments in life and I really wanted to remember them and be able to read it again later.
When I arrived at the airport in Toronto I wrote to Charzie: “I made a new friend on the train”. Her response was “Of course”. No one is surprised when I meet someone wherever I go haha.
I’m off to write a second post about my thoughts while I was looking at the clouds earlier. I hope you love my story about meeting people.