This was just a quick 2-night work trip to a conference on Duke University campus, which I’ve been told is beautiful. Even though I was just there, I only had time to see what I drove past in the ubers… Sometimes, I feel like I’m wasting an opportunity to get to know a new place: I flew all that way, why not extend for a day or two and explore? Because sometimes I just don’t have time, like this time. So it was a super quick trip, and honestly could have been anywhere and I wouldn’t have been able to tell a difference. But on the shuttle on the way home, I suddenly realized that for me, travel isn’t just about the places, but the people! I know, anyone who knows me is saying “Duh, Kat…” but somehow, these 48 hours in transit really illuminated this point. So I thought instead of sharing with you what I did and saw on this trip (sat in a conference, saw a hotel lobby), I would tell you about some of the fascinating people I enjoyed getting to know.
- Tom – the guy I sat next to on the shuttle to the airport. I learned about how he and his father used to go pheasant hunting in eastern Colorado, but there aren’t any pheasants anymore to hunt, so now he volunteers for a pheasant-habitat restoration organization.
- Medical sales consultant – the guy I sat next to on the plane en route to Durham. He is a super-duper-all-the-time traveler due to his work, but was contented with his “steerage” middle seat, and a chatty girl next to him (me – again, duh). I learned that he really, truly, wholeheartedly believes that North Carolina is the best place in the world, and anyone who doesn’t agree must not have been yet. I tried to win him over on Colorado, but “it’s so brown” and North Carolina has a beach. Huh.
- Uber Driver #1 told me about how grateful he was to now live in Raleigh-Durham area, because the cost of living is so much better than San Francisco where he used to have to work two jobs to barely support his family.
- Uber Drive # 2 was very – VERY – cautious driving me to the airport in the early morning in the rain, which I simultaneously appreciated and found anxiety-producing.
- Femi – the guy I sat next to on the plane the way home. Femi is a born-in-Ghana-to-Nigerian-parents-now-American-citizen accountant who lives in Denver. I spent a while talking to him about all my friends in Ghana who I want to visit before he gently reminded me that he was merely born there, and knows really very little about Ghana. But I should consider visiting Nigeria.