I had underestimated how far the Pilot would go with discussions about life as a journey. Knew that he was bright, sincere and wise yet somehow concluded that he wouldn’t have much to say since he dealt with most things technical.
With the benefit of hindsight, he’d probably figured that as much as I’d articulated my stories, they were the kind of tales that focused mostly on what was rather than what could be. He made sure to give me just enough to ignite my soul so I could re-write the story.
That was my opinion. In a bid to make sure that we were singing from the same hymn sheet; I gave him a pre-flight brief which consisted of whys, who’s, what and how’s of what we were trying to achieve as a result of the interview. He listened intently.
He is that type of person.
Feeling rather encouraged, I proceeded to the next step. Served my own flight safety demonstration in a bid to equip him with a basic understanding of how this story-maker’s journey had panned out. By so doing, I was hoping that he’d get a picture of how I derived inspiration and life lessons from every day occurrences. I also gave him the highlights of a real-life story once written for my own consumption. I’d simply called it: The Tomato Plant. Tried to explain how the lessons learnt had shaken me to the core and forced me to evaluate my situation with the ultimate aim of taking appropriate action. At the time, I was feeling frustrated and stuck in an environment that wasn’t supporting my growth in so many ways than one. Going nowhere slowly.
Still, he listened. I know him well for asking questions but in that moment, he never did. There was absolutely nothing in his demeanour that would prepare me for what happened next. Maybe it comes with his training. Maybe it’s his personality. I remember back in the day when I was growing up under the African sun, ‘deep’ people were usually associated with not-so-groomed appearances. Pretty girls, for example, were rarely deemed as bright and intelligent. Wearing trousers in some instances translated to being of loose morals. So, there I was, interviewing someone who, on a good day, could be mistaken for a celebrity! Ever heard of the adage that one should never judge a book by its cover? It is indeed true. Before I knew it; The Thoughtful Pilot was on board as he leapt into story-telling mode. He completely understood the task before him. Armed with a notepad and a pen, I was left playing catch up with note taking. I dared not stop him lest I’d halt the flow…
As he cruised with his own version detailing how he would interpret life as a flight from point A to point B, I was hooked. Somehow, he had the ability to make me pause and reflect on my own personal journey. He was on a mission to inspire. His ultimate aim was to turn words into action. With the benefit of hindsight, he’d probably figured that as much as I’d articulated my stories, they were the kind of tales that focused mostly on what was rather than what could be. He made sure to give me just enough to ignite my soul so I could re-write the story. Doing so meant taking off, whatever it took. He assured me that the rest of his contribution would come after showing a commitment that I was taking his stories seriously. In other words, he left me with homework! I’d been schooled. It would take me over a year of learning and practice before sharing his thoughts with the rest of the world.
Previously, the curious mind in me had learnt that his own dream to fly had been conceived at a very young age. By the age of ten, he’d figured out that he wanted to be pilot. His parents would later confirm that as a little boy, favourite toys were always planes and helicopters. The Pilot also explained how he was motivated by other pilots during Trans-Atlantic flights whilst visiting relatives based in the USA. At the time, it was perfectly allowed to take a tour of the cockpit and chat with pilots.
His personal dream would take off but not without hard work, commitment and A LOT of mountain moving. He would study Aviation at one of the leading universities in the U.K. Upon completion, he’d embark on yet another journey. Pilot training in Oxford. Despite his natural inclination towards flying, the Thoughtful Pilot also pursued a football career from a very young age which took him to many tournaments out of the country. However, at some point he had to make a choice; football or flying. Soaring into the skies above took precedence over professional football. He had to kiss goodbye to one of his greatest passions in order to pursue his calling.
In a bid to take many off as quickly as possible, we’re not going to focus our attention on what it means to be grounded. Most people know already and have simply had enough. In the next article, we will go straight to the beginning of the journey, in pursuit of your own calling and purpose. With his permission, we’ll start from the discussions we’ve had along the way, powered by the author’s perspective upon reflection of his views regarding life as a journey. The Thoughtful Pilot promised to weigh in with articles penned in his own words in future.
Life as a journey...
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard as Ubuntu Courtyard takes you through a series of inspirational travel stories so you can reach for the stars.