I had the good fortune of traveling to ABQ a few days early for some R&R with my wonderful husband and co-pilot adventurer, Dave. In spite of the long weekend we would share, the journey to the Southwest turned out to be an individual one. As it happened, we were scheduled on different flights with separate airlines. While I found this to be somewhat taxing initially, it didn’t take long to realize the moments that can be experienced when you’re flying solo.
Normally when traveling, I hunker down with a magazine, book or some work and become very introverted. I walk in a determined manner through the airport so as not to engage in (what I sometimes feel is) unnecessary conversation. Boarding the plane can be especially stressful with the perceived expectation that my travel companion will want to chat for the duration of the flight. I actually find myself praying that I will be seated next to and/or across from someone just as interaction-adverse as me. **Side note: In typing this, I realize how poorly I must be coming across, especially when my role at St. Norbert involves having conversations to build relationships with the hope of fundraising. I love what I do, and I truly do care about people. When I’m “off-the-clock,” however, I prefer to hang in my own personal hamster ball.**
Now that I’ve set the stage for how normally adverse I am to random interaction, let me also add that our plan is rarely God’s, and vice versa. As I cozied into my window seat, I was immediately greeted by my new travel companion, Tate. He was a friendly, unassuming man, fully of questions about the why-come’s and how-to’s of my trip to ABQ. Despite my nearly one word answers, Tate had gathered that I was traveling for the purpose of a Norbertine service learning trip. What happened next was serendipitous, if not almost a little magical.