An amusing flight from 🇲🇻 Maldives → 🇹🇷 Istanbul (Cocktail glass emoji sadly not accurate)
Sometimes one can meet really amazing, lifetime connections on flights.
After a trip to the Maldives, I boarded a Turkish Airlines flight alone and sat down in a seat at the very front of the plane, next to a gentleman who was probably about 40 years old.
As I am “young” (although not so much anymore), I am aware of the (understandable) generalisations/thoughts other passengers might have. Such as, being a trust fund kid, arrogant or simply not the passenger the older, more traditionally “business” crowd might be expecting to see on a flight. Anyhow, this was from Male to Istanbul, so nobody can expect the most formal of crowds.
Due to this “anxiety”, although that is an overstatement, I do not wish to bother people and strike up a conversation. I can sleep, and catch up on movies — I used to lie to myself and tell myself I would work on flights, but those days have long gone and also (on shorter flights), it’s a bit troublesome to setup WiFi, open, close, open and move your laptop as food and drinks come — If anything is pressing or some urgent thought comes to mind, there is always a phone to mash the buttons on to get the productivity, increasingly short-lived, feeling of “productivity”.
Before the plane has arrived at the runway, the gentleman sitting next to me asked me if I wish to have a drink with him. I declined, not sure why, I maybe just didn’t have the idea of drinking in mind.
A minute later, he asks for 2 glasses with ice — I was not sure what was going on, and after the glasses arrive he brings out a bottle of vodka. Then, asks again if I would like to drink with him.
Pretty difficult to say no, and it seemed he came prepared, so we began.
Whilst he was a clear pro, drinking more than me, we finished 1 bottle in a few hours and I was “half cut”.
It was an exciting time, we exchanged stories and even valium — The purest of times and it seemed we both worked in similar, inter lapping fields related to technology.
He explained he had been in the Maldives for around a month as he was conflicted (as many are) between his wife and kid, and of course another lady who he found to be far more exciting. As it happens, I recently read a theory that after 2 years or so, biologically men lose some sexual attraction/desire towards females because 2 years is around about the time, when the female has given birth, the child can fend for itself and in many ways, the male is no longer needed — I do not agree with this, I digress, and probably it relates to the animal kingdom and not humans. Anyhow, his issue seemed to be something along these lines.
Of course, he had confided in the right person. At the grand old age of 26–27 I could clearly steer him in the right direction — Of course not.
So, out comes the second bottle of vodka. I am trying to drink with him, it was tough.
Probably not long after the second bottle has been opened, I have to throw up in the toilet to survive.
He didn’t seem to mind, it was a very happy time, and we exchanged numbers. This was during a time when I had maybe 3 different phones and was generally unorganised, but numbers, contacts, and business details were all exchanged.
We landed in Istanbul, went to the lounge as we both had connecting flights, and drank some more. Hugged goodbye and I heard from him a few days later.
Our businesses had such synergy, I would have likely leased, rented, acquired or made use of some of his technologies and vice versa. In fact, this was maybe in 2017 or so, and even things like Central Bank Digital Currencies, the concept of a pandemic, and new forms of cryptocurrency were being discussed, with each of us having some involvement in each field.
We probably exchanged a few messages, I remember him asking about the valium and then (as is tradition) I lost the phone I had his number on.
Never to be found again, lost his details completely, not sure if I could even recognise him now, but hope he is well and he solved his relationship conundrum.
Now, if I meet someone who I think is worth keeping in touch with my go to strategy is to add on Instagram, get their email and send an email and / or Telegram — IG and email are very useful, as people do not change these often, whereas people that travel with multiple devices, it seems to me WhatsApp, and some other messengers are slightly more flakey. Whilst I am not and will never be one of those people that take business or first class flights for networking, I take them to travel (duh), it does not preclude one from meeting some nice people. Although, those guys that take it with networking in mind, probably dress like the Tinder Swindler, so at least they flag themselves up.
Unfortunately, the Russian gentleman is one of a few that I’ve lost the contacts of over the years — Some really silly ones, but we live and learn!
Have Fun on Your Next Travel Adventure,