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Celebrating Community in Unexpected Places

It was the day that I often do not look forward to. The day I have to say goodbye (for now) to people I love and trade the warm arid desert for the lush greenery, snow capped mountains, and scenic bodies of water I enjoy at home. And while I love living in the Pacific Northwest, and in Kitsap in particular, it is a challenge to trudge out of bed early in the morning and jump through all the hoops involved in airplane/airport travel these days. Travel days often cause me to want to both linger in the location I’m at and be back in the beauty and comforts of home all at the same time!

After an unexpected glitch I encountered with TSA in the security line (they were very kind- it was all on me), I had just enough time to get to my gate as they were boarding. I am usually the traveler that likes to get to the airport with plenty of time to spare.) After settling comfortably into my middle seat, I buckled up with both gratitude for a great getaway, and sadness in my heart in having to leave.

And then the unexpected. It began so organically. Before we were even wheels up both my seatmates began to chat with me and one another. Before long the conversation included places we’ve all traveled (all 3 of us have been to Ireland) and they both have visited Costa Rica (next on my bucket list). I learned of Mik’s long military career, and Sarah’s health issues that she has claimed victory over. We talked family, future travel plans, past challenges, meal prep and more.

And then, to my surprise, I discovered that Sarah is studying to be a health and wellness coach! What joy it brought to realize we both have a huge passion for health and wellbeing and to help others achieve their health goals and best life!

After Mik shared some current health challenges he was experiencing, Sarah and I offered up a few health tips with him including how he might make small changes to help improve his health; that it is important to work on his thoughts first and understand how to begin to change habits. Sarah shared some things she has done to reclaim her health.

And while Mik seemed at first a little apprehensive about beginning to shift a habit or two, he was committed to making healthy protein smoothies by the time we were wheels down.

Sarah, had also remodeled an old house built around the same time as mine and was so helpful, as was Mik, about things I can and ought to do in terms of a remodel. That information was super helpful to me.

Sarah and I discovered that as young children, our families played the same game at family dinners growing up.

We chatted about relationships, family dynamics and future travel plans. Each shared what their plans were in the Seattle area since they were both visiting our beautiful Pacific Northwest.

By the time the plane touched down, I felt as though I’d had a reunion with old friends!

We then had extra time to chat, crack jokes and share more about ourselves due to our plane landing and encountering an unexpected gate change - our gate was occupied by a non- functioning aircraft. That caused nearly an additional hour on the tarmac.

While that was unfortunate, especially for those with connecting flights, it gave my new friends and I extra time to learn more about one another.

We parted with a promise to connect and check in with one another and with Mik committing to let me know how he was liking green protein smoothies that he felt confident his wife would happily make. While he expressed concern around tasting the spinach, both Sarah and I reassured him that would not happen.

I originally had planned to read and work on the plane from Phoenix to Seattle. I had great intentions and aspirations to be productive and knock out a bunch of work to get a jump start on my week.

But clearly, that was not the plan. An unexpected chance encounter to meet and connect with two lovely people took precedence over any of “my plans.”

We all shared how great it was to have us all meet and share so much in one 3 hour – well 4 hour including tarmac time – flight.

We all need connection. Being open and receptive to connecting with others in meaningful ways can be the very thing your soul needs. As we focus on and celebrate Community / Social Wellbeing and Relationships, we encourage you to be open and curious about others, willing to engage in unexpected places, and reach out and connect with old or new friends.

You never know whose day you may brighten as a result and maybe the person who is most blessed by the exchange is unexpectedly you!

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