Travelling by myself means fewer conversations and more listening to the people around me (when I don’t have my headphones on). On my flight from Vancouver to Frankfurt on Friday, I decided to pay attention to the questions strangers asked each other while confined by seat belts for almost half a day. Culture and family seemed to be the top two topics.
I heard people narrate very personal issues, related to why they were travelling. I know I have had excellent conversations with people, who have given me useful input and fresh perspective in a very short amount of time. Perhaps it is the shared mission of getting from point A-B that lends the sense of having something in common with a stranger on the plane. “Why are you going to place B?” seems to be a kind of shared curiosity.
That shared curiosity combined with a shared destination is what appears to drive the conversation, and allows people to learn about lives different or very similar to their own. I think this could apply to learning processes in general, when information is shared and people work together towards a common goal.
I also noticed that many assumptions about culture surfaced in that space. The kinds of questions people asked each other were telling of their perceptions of what other people’s lives were.
How do you introduce yourself? What kinds of questions do you ask people you meet on a plane, or similar situations?