Seemingly endless border security checks, x-rays and on one occasion, a pat down. Different countries have different requirements. Boarding an aircraft in Germany required presentation of all electric items for inspection. I was a little amused at the interest in my quite basic compact digital camera.
On another occasion, the metallic buttons on my pants generated some interest and a bonus once over with the metal detector.
Should I feel more safe travelling by plane from, and within Germany, or more concerned?
And, when the next stop is Australia, there is an additional search of hand luggage. At least from Abu Dhabi anyway.
But, these little events are all a part of my story.
And there are the people you meet.
On the flight from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne, I sat next to an 85 year old gentleman. He lives in Hawthorn with his daughter and son in law. A more polite person you would never meet. I assisted him with a number of things during the flight including his seat belt and immigration forms. His expressions of appreciation were almost embarrassing. He was of Iranian descent, spoke with a very heavy accent and held an Australian Passport. I suspect he has a most interesting life story.
He was a charming and content Gentleman, understated and happy.
I met a 30 year old Singaporean lady. She had attending Oktoberfest with two friends prior to seeking some alternative German culture after which they were each taking their own journey home. Her next stop was Paris. She was saying she would like to be away longer however her clients were wanting work done. She owned her own Interior Design Business and travelled the world to visit clients. She referenced several long standing high-profile clients.
So, what have you planned for Paris I asked and the answer was evasive. I sort clarification and she advised she has not been to Paris for nearly 3 months and the apartment she bought there needs to be occupied by her for a minimum number of days each quarter otherwise she is obliged to lease it. She has many clients in Paris however her work has unusually not taken her there for some time now.
She suffered from severe Ornithophobia and our conversation started by her asking if I would help protect her from the birds in the trees.
She was an articulate friendly, down to earth lady, easy in conversation with everyone. No airs and graces, just happy and inclusive. And most successful too.
The lady from New Zealand did tell me her name but I cannot recall it.
I noticed her peering through the windows of the restaurant as I crossed the road. The restaurant was my destination for dinner.
I entered and was shown a table and shortly after she did too.
Well dressed, she was perhaps in her 70’s.
We paid and left at the same time and she spoke to me as I held the door for her to exit. She asked how you tell if a restaurant is happy to accommodate sole diners, adding that when she noticed me going in and sitting by myself, she followed, comforted by my example.
I explained that I had not even considered that question and suggested restaurants probably quite like solo diners as we tend to eat and leave and they have a table free again.
She explained she was recently widowed and this is the first time she has ventured travelling alone and tonight the first time she had dined outside of room service.
I suggested she should be proud of herself for that, she thanked me and we went our separate ways.
There were many more encounters and conversations during my brief trip. Most were interesting, often they were educational and all were valuable.
I have highlighted these three for their cultural diversity, unexpected outcomes and overt politeness. I have also chosen to write about these three because in the space of a short time, they each openly and comfortably revealed fears and concerns.
They are all writing their own story and importantly, continuing to write it.
It is important that our own story is not one of repeating the same chapter over and over. We are better for embracing new experiences, sharing our learnings, expanding our mind and our sole and acknowledging rather than conceding to our fears.
What is your story, and are you still writing new chapters?