Have Love, Will TRAVEL.

Like most TEDsters, I’ve always been doing.  Creating, advising, writing, consulting, researching, exploring, managing, studying, teaching, designing, performing, meditating, contemplating, and the list goes on.  This lifestyle beckons two absolute realities.  One, time management efforts to combat the stress of a full plate, and two, a significant amount of travel.  From business trips, conference presentations, research fellowships, pilgrimages and vacations, I’ve seen my fair share of the inside of a plane.

Multiple Truths in M.C. Escher’s “Relativity”

When invited to participate in TEDActive’s Travel Project (an intimidating honour), I started to tackle the human-centered flight experience in my own research style.  My first thought was to take this large problem and boil it down to its essentials.  In my design work, I have developed a brainstorm-generator surrounding the concept of “multiple truths”.  The idea aligns with the contemporary zeitgeist; whether you call it pluralism, post-modernism, or even the culture of remix, our minds have become a flowchart expanding in all directions.  As the list grew, it began to appear as a clear opportunity to inspire collaboration in preparation for the upcoming conference.  So here goes!

The “Multiple Truths” of TRAVEL: An Airline Flight is…

  • A place to focus
  • A perpetual transition
  • A time-sensitive context
  • An intimidating journey
  • A stressful necessity
  • A class separation
  • A social medium
  • An exciting adventure
  • A place for reflection
  • A constricted discomfort
  • A trusted service
  • A metaphor for success
  • A dream come true
  • A safety hazard
  • A step toward/away from love
  • A confrontation with mortality

Fellow travelers… please add to the list !

7 thoughts on “Have Love, Will TRAVEL.”

  1. – a place to meet people
    – a conversation hub (I was once on a flight where everyone in first class engaged in a group conversation – it was awesome)
    – a workspace
    – a view from above
    – reflective time
    – a time where the distractions fall away and one clear focus is possible
    – herding, pushing, impatience
    – FAA rules


  2. A microcosm that will never exist the same way again.

    An opportunity to break the bonds of gravity

    A time capsule

    An act of incredible faith and bravery


  3. Hello. I like this thread.

    For me the airline travel experience is a transitional journey from goodbye to hello. Somehow it always feels like an in-between period full of iconic moments (some good, some bad, most weird).

    A few quintessential flight experience moments:
    – checking your ticket stub three times while finding your seat
    – getting stuck in the middle aisle
    – lovely security checkpoints
    – clumsy window shades
    – turbulence
    – overhead luggage
    – cell free zone (thank you)
    – etc.


  4. Thanks for the awesome additions! Billy’s “confrontation of stereotypes” got me thinking about multiculturalism in flight. I find it super interesting that a flight is simultaneously:

    …a domestic carrier of homogeneity
    …an international carrier of heterogeneity

    In other words, some flights bring you across city/state/provincial lines with a crowd of passengers who you can mostly relate to, while other flights take you across major political boundaries, traversing ideologies and cultures of the world with a diverse group of people. Seems like an impossible design problem until you contemplate how different airlines and different planes are used for these varying circumstances.

    Thinking about the differences between domestic and international flights, it’s becoming clearer just how multi-faceted the human-centered flight experience truly is.


  5. A loss of privacy
    A confrontation of fears
    A confirmation of faith in technology/skill(pilot)
    A confined space
    Must conform to airline policy
    Confrontation of stereotypes (post 911 life)
    Separation of belongings during transit
    Extended periods of confinement
    Continued periods of comfort zone breach


  6. Your multiple truths certainly capture the dual nature of each and every plane flight I’ve been on.

    I might add,

    – a temporary redefinition of personal space
    – a place to be entertained
    – a place to be taken care of
    – an expensive way to travel

    I also thoroughly enjoyed your article regarding social connection amongst airline passengers, and believe you should head up this arena as we move forward with the delta project…

    Wiki-seating– brilliant!


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