It was Thursday March 8, 2012: Embarking on this journey, I was certain of one thing. It was going to be about making connections. After all, the purpose of my visit for the next 2+ weeks was to use all of my senses to observe, seek and connect with my brand new place. A place I could hardly pre-visualize.
My first connection was an enjoyable one as I rested in window seat 24J. A young woman from West St. Paul sat with me who was flying to Kiev to re-connect with a college friend. A new adventure for her. That sounded like a great trip. But flight connections, even those that last 8-hours, are fleeting. And I found myself gazing out the window wondering what I would find. I couldn’t help but feel a strange sense of being alone without connection as I peered out the window to a cold distant moon above and the Atlantic below.
Airport hubs. That’s where connections are made. Amsterdam’s Schiphol is one of the world’s most efficient if not pleasant places to travel. A place of constant motion, visual and verbal cues direct traffic and facilitate connections.
I love the kiosk that shows how many minutes you are from the gate from that point. In other words, can you pause to shop or eat, leisurely stroll, or if necessary make a dash to make your important connection. You don’t want your name as one being announced on the P.A. system by the kind voice that says, “Mr. Kotvis. Please proceed to Gate C9. You are holding up your flight. If you do not board your flight now, your luggage will be off-boarded.”
Sitting at my gate waiting for my connecting flight, I was itching to become open, talk with someone. Some are more open than others. I tried with an effort with the guy sitting next to me having his snack. But, oh it’s hard to connect with someone who is plugged-in to their own world and tuned-out to the world immediately around them. My luck changed when he left and older woman replaced him in his seat. She was heading from Germany to Hawaii for a Crimson Circle conference. Interesting and entertaining connection.
All those travel related connections went fine, including the pleasure of meeting a guy from Jacksonville who was traveling to Nairobi to help a missionary with his orphanage. The man on my left was making connections to his homeland, visiting his family and friends who he’s left to be able to work in the U.S for the past nine years. Those would be nice connections for him.