In addition to using this blog to provide specific information to people traveling to various cities and countries, I’d also like to start telling some personal stories from my own travels. So without any further ado, here’s the story of how my university friends and I built a blanket fort on an airplane.
Studying abroad in Hong Kong were some of the best years of my life. I had an amazing group of friends, was thoroughly enjoying my program and university, and I was stuck right in the middle of a world class city; there was very little to complain about. One of the great things about Hong Kong is that flights to other countries in Asia are relatively cheap – and with that in mind, some friends and I headed over to Taiwan for a week to do some impulsive exploring.
With a bunch of early-twenty-somethings giddy from excitement of exploring a new country, we were having a great time on the 1.5 hour flight from Hong Kong to Taiwan. The plane that day was particularly empty, with a huge section at the back with no passengers. I can’t remember if the movies weren’t that great, or if we just thought it was a good idea, but we used the provided blankets to make a small blanket fort in our seats.
Noticing it was a fun idea, we asked if we could move to the back of the plane, and the flight attendants said yes (likely to keep us away from the other passengers). With that, our blanket fort started to grow. Eventually we decided to make an audacious request; we asked if we could have some more blankets to build a large fort at the back of the plane.
Fully expecting the flight attendants to say “no, sit down” we were astonished when they thought it was hilarious and said they’d be right back with a bunch more. Eventually we ended up with a fort that took over the entire back section of the aircraft. Other passengers were coming over to say hello, and the flight attendants were serving us drinks through the curtains. Eventually the time came for the flight to end, and we had to take the fort down – but I can honestly say that was the only flight I’ve ever been on (save the ones where I’m the pilot) that I didn’t want to end. I recently spoke at a conference on the importance of making audacious requests when being a leader; the worst that’s going to happen is someone will tell you no. Because we made the audacious request to ask for more blankets, I ended up with one of my favourite memories, and we ended up with some fantastic photos too.
The entire Taiwan trip was amazing, and was actually the catalyst for my return to the country a few years later to live in Taipei and improve my Mandarin Chinese skills – but unfortunately, I didn’t build a blanket fort this time.
Special shout out to Pamela, who didn’t make it through immigration – but we missed immensely during that trip. Thanks for saving us in Mainland China with your amazing Mandarin skills.