For the Love of Conversations/ For the Joy of Traveling.

Where do you meet the most interesting people? At your work place? School or college? Or while waiting for your coffee in the morning? How about at the airport or the seat next to you on the red-eye back home?

For me, traveling is synonymous with meeting people from around the world on different paths and journeys across the world. When I think about the collective humanity traveling from Australia to Brazil or Mozambique to Sweden or Samoa to Spain, I am filled with this deep desire to talk to as many of these crazy adventurers and travelers and wanderers.

As a woman traveler, with family spread across three continents and academic conferences scheduled often across the other two, I often find myself at airport gates, listening to music, observing people, and the things around me.

As solo travel increases worldwide – not just for business, but also for leisure, adventure and exploration, you would be likely to find people like myself in airports, struggling with long layovers, ten time-zones, bland airline food, and long-long journeys across the oceans. Some people enjoy the experience of not knowing anyone, being completely anonymous (to an extent), where no one knows your name or what you do, and would like to keep it that way. But some, like me, who prefer a good conversation as the sun rises over the pacific, 36000 feet in the air, in the quiet of the sleeping aircraft cabin, find it rather odd to strike up a greeting with someone, not knowing how this would be received by the other. If it doesn’t work out, you’d be left sitting with a resentful individual for the next ten hours, and that can be uncomfortable!

Only if there was a way around this? Perhaps airlines could introduce a section in the economy class which could be dedicated to people who want to exchange travel stories and reminisce about sherpas, shiraz’s, shoes that got stolen in an Indian temple, shimmery fire flies in Thailand and ships that sailed across the world. Maybe knowing that all the people in this “make a friend cabin” are interested in conversations, travelers would be able to enjoy the much sought after conversations that make their travel complete. Ofcourse, kinks would have to be worked out.


Something that comes a tad close to this is the bar-lounge that Emirates airlines offers to its passengers in business and first class in the Airbus 380, but that is a driven by a hedonic motive to appeal to the rich clientele.

This “make a friend” cabin idea can even be extrapolated to restaurants in popular tourist locations and fast food joints.

A quick pilot study among my friends left me with disappointed results however. It seems my friends thought that this idea wouldn’t really fly as people don’t want to talk to strangers. I am not sure if that’s true though.

Well, I am not giving up on it just yet though.