The passenger in the aisle seat opened his package and the delicious aroma of falafel filled the air.
“Don’t you like airline food? ” I asked
“Well, I’m vegetarian” he replied.
” Me too”
And so we began to talk about a shared interest. The topic moved onto Tasmania, the apple isle we were leaving. I had been staying in the North West of the island for the first time. Though the land and wildlife is exquisitely beautiful, the human population could be somewhat clannish and out of touch with modern social changes.
But we both agreed that the place was spectacular.
“Did you see David Attenborough’s special on Tasmania on the ABC (the National Broadcaster)?” I asked
“No” he shook his head and said. “I can’t watch that ” I assumed-wrongly-after hearing the ABC decried as biased in this part of the world, that this was the reason for his refusal to watch the channel.
“I’m a creationist and Attenbrough…well, he promotes evolution”
My coffee cup remained suspended in mid air.
Eventually, I placed it in its saucer.”But..”I stuttered as someone who has experienced personal evolution and wanted to defend Darwins theories
“As humans we’re always evolving and the evolution Darwin described takes place over millenia…”
“Sure”he laughed” but you havent “evolved” from a sheep into a goat have ya?”
I gave up then and suddenly became absorbed in the movie the airline was showing.
I arrived at my destination and shared my experience.
I later reflected that one of the great benefits of travel is to pierce your bubble and throw you out of your comfort zone.
But sometimes through chance you can make positive connections and soon after I fell into a deep conversation with a stranger on a train. She broke the ice by telling me that she had just received good news
“My novel’s just been published”
We chatted about our respective creative pursuits; it was a totally unexpected and delightful encounter.
From creationism to creativity; who knows what you’ll talk about with that stranger sitting beside you on your next trip, and that is one of the gems of travel.