I don’t know about you, but the strangest things can trigger my wanderlust.
Most recently it was Post-Its. With two children studying at home and two parents running two different businesses at home, Post-Its were going through post-its faster than toilet paper, and I needed a new supply. A large supply. I found one – a pack of 15 different colors, all fluorescent and beautiful. Then I took a closer look at the packaging. They called it the Miami Collection + Rio De Janeiro Collection. Seeing the names of two places that required air travel to visit sparked a wave of unexpected longing.
As someone who always packed two suitcases and greeted TSA agents with familiarity, the ongoing travel restrictions were particularly harsh. More than anything, I miss the chance encounters that only last a flight or a stay and yet remain in your memory forever. Like the time I set a random, life-changing goal from my window seat. Or the time when I was reminded of how far I’d come while waiting to get on board.
Accidental aiming at 30,000 feet
It was 2017 and I was on a flight from New York City to Arizona, where we lived at the time. I sat next to a gentleman who had a very fancy title at a very large bank and who was full of wonderful insights and advice. At one point in the conversation I remember saying wistfully, “I feel like I could live in New York City.” Since my first trip to the city, I have had a hard time leaving. There was just something to it: the energy, the people, the chaos … I couldn’t get enough of it.
“Well …” my seatmate began to say. He was older, experienced, and practical. He outlined how much rent would be for a family of four. “And to be able to afford this rent, you have to earn at least three times as much a month.”
I’m pretty sure he thought he was going to discourage me, as any responsible, seasoned adult could do. What he didn’t notice, as we both pulled back to stare at the seat in front of us, was that I started doing arithmetic on the corner of a random piece of paper in my pocket, trying to figure out how to get my business going.
My family has been home in New York for almost three years now.
I went to the boarding area once for a flight and saw the upgrade list on the screen. I was at the top of the list! HAL, K.
Yay! I went to the counter and asked the gate agent if first class was fully checked in to get a feel for if I could be taken upstairs. She looked at her computer and said it was highly unlikely, then added, “If an upgrade is available, it would go to Mr. Hall. It’s first on the list. “
I looked at her. “I’m Mr. Hall.” “Oh!” The gate agent squirmed a little and saw her mistake. She then assured me that she would let me know when a place became available. I wasn’t always proud of my airline status because to achieve it I had to stay away from my family and I often missed them before COVID. But at that moment, I was proud to be a kick-butt woman traveling the country changing the perception of who can top the upgrade list. Diamond on Delta, Executive Platinum on American: Mrs. Hall.
I don’t know the next time I’ll go through security or get on board, but I know I just can’t wait for the lessons I’ll learn when I’m back in the air.
This article originally appeared in the May / June 2021 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo courtesy Kindra Hall
Kindra Hall is the chief storytelling office of SUCCESS, the best-selling author of Stories That Stick, and a sought-after speaker. She is the president of Steller Collective, a marketing agency that focuses on the power of storytelling to solve communication challenges.