Step Back from the Baggage Claim

Change the World, Start at the Airport

by Jason Barger


It’s funny what a glass of wine can lead to. My wife and I had just put our two young boys to bed when the words “I think I may write a book” leaped from my mouth. The words almost surprised me and my wife had no idea where this was leading. The next thing I knew, the traveling adventure had begun.

My family dropped me off at the airport in our hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Over the next seven days I traveled from Columbus to Boston to Miami to Chicago to Minneapolis to Seattle to San Diego - 7 cities in 7 days without leaving the airport the entire time. I was sleeping on floors, eating rubbery chicken nuggets, and yes, watching people. I soaked in nearly 10,000 minutes of observations of humanity at all four corners of the United States. Yes, I’m strange - but, Life is a trip!

With over 87,000 planes in the skies over the United States on any given day, airports are one of the most unique spaces in our mobile world today. So many different people going different directions with different agendas. The airports are a place filled with great excitement, frustration, sadness and anxiety. In order for us to get from point A to point B, we must navigate our way through the obstacles, delays and cancellations that show up along our path. As a metaphor for the rest of our lives away from the airport, how do we choose to travel through daily life in our world? So, I needed to go and see what I would observe.

Oddly, the baggage claim was calling me.

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