Writing Prompt Story Starter: Essential Travel

Shutterstock / Oleg Troino © Story Starter

This week’s story starter is about essential travel, and the reasons behind it.

I recently moved to Germany and had to catch a plane, with 4 suitcases and my computer bag. I felt like a turtle moving with my house on my back. Albeit it was in a trolley next to me, because I doubt my back could withstand the weight of those pieces of luggage on top of each other.

It was the first time I travelled with that much extra luggage. I usually limit myself to just one – enormous – bag.

Funnily enough, I always wondered what pushed people to travel with that many suitcases.

A reason behind the travel

Airports, much like train stations or a café in a busy city street, are some of my favourite places to people-watch.

A café in an airport is even better.

Depending on the reason for my travels, I find myself imagining different lives for the peoples transiting at the same time as me.

For instance, when on holiday, I catch myself wondering which exotic destination are any of those people flying to.

Travel destinations

To start with, I am always curious about people’s travel details.

How long is their flight? Do they have a stopover? Do they have more than one stopover? Are they going someplace new?

Is it their first time flying? Do they enjoy flying, are they fearful of it, or did the flight lose its magic by the sheer redundancy of them flying too often?

Is it a pleasant journey?

After that, I start imagining the journey itself.

Will their seat neighbour snore the whole trip?

Could the person I am watching be the snorer, and later wake up to people looking at them, pushing them to ponder in a worried inner dialogue whether they drooled or talked while sleeping?

Is it possible that a friendship or a romance begins on their flight?

Maybe your character’s plan of finishing their book will fall short. They may just daydream the whole way, wondering what awaits them at the other end of their trip?

More importantly: do they like cloud watching?

Essential travel purposes

In a world where travels are limited, what is their essential travel reason? And how will you describe it?

Is it a positive one? Are they travelling for work reason, and what kind of work is that?

Maybe it’s for love. They could head home for a happy event: to be someone’s best (wo)man, or even better to marry someone.

Are they starting a new life somewhere? Are they running away from something? Or running towards their dream?

The UK government published a list of reasons for travel abroad. The list in itself is a handy tool, and a great story starter for all essential travel-related stories.

There are as many stories as there are people around

Finally, I also wonder how many of these people around me I may have encountered, possibly multiple times over the year, without remembering. The world is so small, after all.

Similarly, how many times will you cross paths with someone before you meet and engage in a conversation?

Places of transit are also places of new beginnings. Full of choices and decisions, of people embarking on new adventures, taking the next steps towards their future.

Some people seem confident, some lost in their thoughts, some are bored already.

Which one will you write about?

To choose another “Friend” Story Starter, click here.

Manon Gandiolle