Friday, October 12, 2007

The Secret Thoughts of Travelers Have Been Revealed to Frank Warren


ABOUT 10 years ago I was sitting next to a young woman in the window seat on a flight to Washington. During the flight, I noticed she was writing postcards. I peeked at the words she was writing and discovered she was an author on a book tour sending notes to her friends.

It seemed so romantic and exciting to me. Even though I never spoke to her, I have to believe that serendipitous encounter is one reason I started a community art project called PostSecret and why I am now traveling on my fourth book tour.

It should be noted that I don’t actually write books; I compose them from the postcards that are mailed to me. I essentially invite strangers to anonymously send me untold secrets written on homemade postcards. So far, I have received more than 150,000 inspiring, remorseful, funny, hopeful and even sexual secrets from around the world on every topic imaginable.

Not surprisingly, travel experiences were one of the secrets that people felt they needed to share. And now, when I travel to talk about the PostSecret Project, I never feel alone. The secrets I read stay with me, like baggage. When I enter a shuttle bus, wait by my gate or sit on a plane, I am reminded of the anonymous voices sharing with me their latent animosities, soulful confessions or the hidden acts of kindness that happened to them while traveling.

One postcard I received had a hilarious picture of two pilots jauntily walking through an airport in crisp suits. We all have seen these people. We have all been annoyed by these people. The secret on the card read, “Stop walking through the airport like you own the place!”

Another secret that arrived on a baggage claim ticket read: “You called me an idiot so I sent your bags to the wrong destination. WHOOPS! I guess you were right.”

The homemade cards can be just as creative as the deep secrets they carry. Written on an unused airsickness bag: “Sometimes when I fly I wish the plane would crash and I would be the only survivor. Then I would make money on the book or movie.”

On a photograph of empty terminal seats, I received the very sad missive: “Airports make me the most suicidal.” On a boarding pass, I read a secret of love lost, “I would have left home and flown 2430 miles with you if only you had asked.”

Read the entire article in the NewYorkTimes-Business Section

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