I have flown a lot in the last two years, so the quirks of traveling have become habit. I am not as mechanical as Clooney in Up in the Air, but I'm good at separating my liquids and slipping off my shoes.
A friend told me that he usually asks out a woman on his international flights, which I think is brave. I usually strike up a conversation, but airplanes always seem like temporary time machines to me. I get on the plane, sit for x hours and then get off, knowing I might bump into that lady in the restroom or that guy in the line for coffee. We'll probably never see each other again.
It reminds me of how many people on Earth I will never know.
The first time I flew to California from Virginia, I remember an irking feeling that someone had driven the fuselage (thanks, LOST, for bringing that into the vernacular) into a flight simulator, projecting cloud images into our windows, and pulled back out again. It was weird to think I was standing on ground that was connected to Virginia... just 3000 miles away.
This distance also highlights how many people who live between the coasts are people I will never meet. The idea that I might know someone for longer than the flight is so foreign to me that when my friend told me he asks out someone on his flights, it was as if he said, "Did you hear they found a new continent?"
My goal for this trip is to transcend that "otherness" feeling. I mentioned that I'm working on seeing men as bretheren. Similarly, I'm going to view fellow tourists as people and not objects peppering my view as I travel.
*Lisbon: bummer city