I may or may not say this phrase on a regular basis…OK, fine, my colleagues will tell you that I’ve asked every person I’ve ever sat next to on a plane in the past six years this question! This group never does hyperbole either…But yeah, I’ve been known to frequently utter these words to strike up a conversation – yes, I’m that guy – on a short- or long-haul flight. Range of responses so far has been mostly positive. Once they realise I’m not a weirdo they seem to be happy to engage in chat-chat. Occasionally I get an obvious short, blunt answer and I take the hint. On one occasion I met my match. Almost out of habit, I asked the person next to me if they were heading home. On this rare occasion I wasn’t actually that fussed but it seemed polite. I was hoping to be shut down actually. I kid you not, three hours, yes THREE hours later, we landed and having been talked at for most of that conversation I had a re-think my plane strategy! I size someone up now and if they seem friendly I may or may not ask them, ‘so, you heading home?’ and my hit rate has been overwhelmingly positive since that fateful occasion. It’s amazing who you meet though. Professionals of every description and from all backgrounds. I like to think I’m a bit like my late father. I am genuinely interested in people and their stories and I am grateful that he taught me to be a global citizen.
Speaking of JB (Dad’s nickname), he always said that it takes a village to raise a man. I feel that I’ve always carried that with me on my travels and tonight really drummed that home. What an absolute JOY to sing in my hometown of Christchurch, NZ! I’m on cloud nine! Looking out at a sea of faces from all walks of my life to date was very humbling. From my first choir at the Canterbury Choral School overseen by Murray Lennox to the hugely integral Cathedral scene and all the regulars, the Christchurch Boys’ Choir and students and staff from Burnside High School, University buddies, members of the City Choir, Big Sing colleagues, friends from Primary school through to adult life, and finally my whanau (for all you non-Kiwis this is basically ones extended family). Every ‘villager’ has played their part and if you’re one of those reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you did, large or small, to make me into the man I am today.
Arohanui. It’s good to be home.
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