Traveling as an introvert who seeks new experiences is a challenge. On the one hand, I am overwhelmed by the sensory input of the experience: new surroundings to observe, a cacophony of sounds to sort through, strange scents wafting from fellow passengers, and a general unfamiliarity to process. On the other, I am drawn to people and their stories: I see a mother and her son and I want to find out what grade he’s in, I observe an older man dragging a very worn and overstuffed briefcase and I want to ask about his long career, I sit down next to a young woman studying a script and I want to know everything about her upcoming production. What’s a curious introvert to do?
At the end of the day, my heart is full. I helped a family of 5 navigate security. I put headphones in to block out the loud talker across the aisle. I was mesmerized by the lights of the city reflecting off the water as we landed. I shared a pleasant conversation with a young man with sparkling brown eyes who checked me in to the hotel.
I didn’t accomplish much in a day. I simply got myself from one place to another. But in the traveling, I participated in the abundant common life we share. There are those who dread airplanes and the waiting and the inconveniences. But in the uncertainties, I discover connection and energy and life, abundant life. There are people in the world living fascinating lives, and we all converge in surprising ways among the maze of terminals and shuttles. It’s our openness to one another, our interest in what we share, and our welcoming of differences that makes us truly human. I become more of me when you share more of you. And that is abundant living.