I have done a lot of traveling in my lifetime. Often not very exciting places but between being a military wife and business I have been in lots of different locations and in quite a few airports.
Lots of changes have happened especially over the last few years. Gone are the banks of payphones and in their place are “charging zones” for our various electronic devices. People still bury their heads in books or e-readers.
The nosy person in me loves it when people bring real books. I love to see what people are reading!!
And for those of you who are curious ( aka nosy, lol) about what I have been reading, here you go:
The other thing people bury themselves in are their phones. Row after row of people with their heads down, totally oblivious to the people around them. I have even spent a whole flight sitting next to someone who never even said “hi”.
I am here to tell you that you are missing out on a whole lot of awesomeness.
When we traveled to Italy two years ago I learned quickly to always look up. The ceilings in the historic and non historic places always had a story to tell of craftsmanship, beauty and brilliance. It started to be the first thing I did when we entered a building. I was never disappointed.
Sometimes I saw incredible artwork:
And sometimes we were entertained by a lively conversation complete with hand gestures!!
Being in Italy and knowing that if I failed to look up I would miss out on so much instilled the habit of looking up and all around everywhere I am, especially in crowded places like airports and coffee shops.
That one simple habit has filled my heart more than once.
Just last month I was waiting to board my flight and saw an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair parked at the gate agents podium.
He was all alone.
It is almost always easy to start a conversation with an older person. They love to talk. This gentleman made it easy because he was wearing a Marine Corps Hat. A quick “Semper Fi” and we were off and running.
His name was Marvin, he has five kids, told me all about his military service, his farm, his deceased wife, and the fact that he just turned 90!! I told him both my parents turn 90 in the next 6 months. He smiled and told me not to tell them but the truth was ( his words) “Its all downhill once you turn 90” He said it with a smile and I promised not to tell.
He was a delight and far more entertaining than my phone and certainly enriched and touched me in ways the internet never could or will. My only regret is we didn’t get a photo together.
Other past encounters include a woman dressed to the nines with most impressive jewelry. She was a blind pianist. I also met a guitarist from the group “White Snake”, a delightful artist from Florida, a retiree with a broken leg moving to Chicago, an inspirational speaker who had a good experience as a foster kid and was paying it forward as a speaker and advocate for foster children!
As much as I love getting a handwritten letter the other part of this is interacting with the people around us. You just never know who you will meet, how you will touch their lives in that moment or maybe forever or how they will touch yours.
Now go out and make it a Thoughtful One and remember to Look Up!!