Last semester I found myself sitting on planes quite often. I don’t mean this in a figurative way like I rediscovered my soul or anything of that nature. Nor do I mean to imply that I was sleep-traveling (although, how neat would that be?). I simply mean to say that I traveled a lot via airplane during the months of November and December. (I suppose I could have just said it that way to begin with, but I didn’t want to. Deal with it.)

I wouldn’t say I was a “frequent flyer,” but I would tell anyone who’d listen that I could get through security—shoes off, coat off, scarf off, giraffe necklace off, change out of pocket, laptop out of bag, liquids in a clear quart-sized Ziploc, boarding pass out, small talk with security guard, shoes back on, scarf and coat in hand to put on later, giraffe necklace thrown in bag with laptop and liquids, change forgotten in plastic bin—in under two minutes. This is, of course, if I was among other non-novices. If a first time flyer was anywhere in front of me, all bets were off.

With each flight from Baltimore, I attempted to bridge the geographic gap that my moving here created in almost every relationship I had. And during each flight back to the East Coast, I often feared that maybe I was headed in the wrong direction. During every single flight, however, I people-watched. And I listened. And I giggled at the strange things that only happen in airplanes and airports.

I compiled all my notes from these 16 flights and attempted to create one blog post. I failed. There’s much too much information and reflection for one post, so I’ve decided to separate my stories and thoughts into a small series of blogs over the next week or so. Again, deal with it. Here’s a small preview of things to come:

Swapping Life Stories with Strangers—As someone who really enjoys their quiet, internal time, I can assure you that I do not make these new friends on purpose. I think I must just have a face that says, “Tell me your life story beginning with your most traumatic memory, because I’ll listen.”

Turn to Your Flight Attendant for Some Important Safety Information—I decided to fully explore the many euphemisms involved in calming nervous flyers before and after takeoff. This, of course, includes looking at the illustrations in the safety brochure in your seat-back pocket.

College Kid in First Class—I was mistakenly put in First Class after a flight was double booked. I think they knew I didn’t belong though because the lady next to me ordered a Fresca and fancy cookies I couldn’t pronounce, and I ordered a Coke and goldfish crackers.

In the meantime, feel free to share your own airport experiences in the comments section below. And don’t forget to people-watch and use your words!