My favorite part of travel is hearing people’s stories. You just never know who someone is until you learn more about their life. On a trip not so long ago, I sat next to a woman who was on a plane to New York for a funeral. Her best friend from childhood’s grandfather had just passed away, and she was going home for the first time in years.
On the surface, it would have seemed that this woman and I had nothing in common. I’m not even sure how we started talking, but over the course of our 2-hour flight, I learned about her life, her family, and most importantly, the recent death of her infant son. She shared with me her sorrow, how she was coping, and her hopes for the future. When the plane ride ended, we parted with hugs and well wishes.
We all have stories. Some we’re probably more proud of than others. And some we may be too afraid or broken to tell, but if we create the space for ourselves and each other, we can positively impact lives.
As I was making my way to the taxi stand, I couldn’t help but think how the world might be if we all took the time to understand each other better. If we asked, instead of assumed. Showed compassion, instead of judgement. If we listened with our whole hearts, could we make the world a better place?
We have no idea of how interconnected we are or how many lives we touch on a daily basis, just by being who we are. Your smile at the barista in the morning may set off a chain reaction that changes someone’s life. You never know what someone’s untold story or dream is, until you ask.