Departures & Arrivals: Plus What Happens In Between

It seems as though every time that I’m at an airport I’m reminded of Hugh Grant’s opening monologue from Love Actually.

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there — fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge — they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.

Earlier this week, I had a surreal moment where I realized how magical airports are. There are thousands of people heading to hundreds of destinations all with different reasons. Some people are heading to reunite with loved ones while others are leaving those loved ones behind. Families are going on vacations. Students are heading back to the campuses they call home. Everyone is on their own journey, and for the first time it hit me just how incredible that is.

We all have our own lives, our own struggles, our own plans, yet we find our own paths intersecting with others at times we don’t necessarily expect. Most people keep their headphones on and eyes glued to their phones, but every once in a while, one should look around and learn more about some of the journeys of the strangers surrounding us.

During my latest flight, I got the chance to have a conversation I’ll never forget with two other ladies on my flight. We began discussing where we were headed and where we were coming from. Two of us were heading back to school, while the other was heading home after finally meeting a guy she had been talking to online for a year. In the short twenty minutes or so that we interacted, I learned so much about the human experience. I watched the three of us connect because we had the smallest similarities, despite the major differences in age and background.

This flight reminded me of why I’m a people person. I absolutely love reading about and hearing stories of other real people. Even if I have nothing in common, I’m enthralled by the human experience. On the flight, I got to hear stories about working with kids with special needs, about spending time in the Dominican Republic, about meeting a neice for the first time in 38 years, and most importantly, finding love and happiness in the most unexpected place.

I’m at a time in my life where I’m not always positive of the direction that my life is taking, but I know for sure that I want to spend as much time as I can learning about others and their own experiences and the lessons they’ve learned. We all have our own destinations, but what really matters are the times where our paths come together, if only for a moment, in order to show us that we are all simply human.


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