A little about you.
1. We certainly don’t want to dwell in the past, but sometimes it’s helps the drive forward to look in the rear view mirror. If you could go back and change one thing about the way you were raised, what would it be? If it’s nothing, tell us why?
The past is a tricky place for me. Looking back through the kaleidoscope of time and memories it’s hard to pinpoint one specific thing I would change about how I was raised. I do my best to hold the belief that everything that has come my way, good or bad, has shaped me into the person that I am today. I’ve spent the majority of my life working to love and accept that person. Therefore to eliminate or alter something would profoundly change who I am. I also believe that every experience has something to teach us. If something good can come from a bad situation, then that situation becomes just a little less bad. So I guess my answer is i wouldn’t change a thing!
2. If you could go back and tell your 10 year-old self, or tell an authority figure, one thing, which person would you choose and what would you say?
Oh wow! There are so many things that I would want to tell 10 year old Justin. I think the best I could do would be, “You’re going to be different from a lot of the people around you, but don’t shrink yourself to fit others expectations! Be unabashedly yourself and let people see who you truly are!” I spent way too many years trying to blend in and be somebody that I just wasn’t. I put passions of mine aside because they weren’t considered “cool” and I was terrified to stand out for any reason. When I finally got to the point of embracing myself for exactly the person I am, my whole life changed trajectory! I only wish I hadn’t waited so long!
3. When’s the last time you felt afraid and/or lonely? We’re not trying to be sad here but a little “me too” always feels good.
That last time I was afraid was probably Thanksgiving morning. I woke up at 1am feeling absolutely miserable. Sore throat, cough, congestion, the whole works. I was so worried that I had contracted Covid and could have passed it to my friends or loved ones. Fortunately I was negative and just ended up with a cold, but it was still pretty frightening.
4. We all know magic is way more than a card trick. So, when was the last time you experienced magic? Or the only way to describe the experience was “magical”?
I’d say the most recent magical moment was during the Christmas holiday snow storm that disrupted travel at SEA. It was an awful day but the huge majority of passengers were so kind and understanding. Obviously that wasn’t the case for everyone, but after these last few years of constant conflict and challenges, it was so refreshing to hear people say things like, “Thank you for being here!” Or, “We know that you’re doing your best!” They seem like simple gestures to most, but in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, those kind words felt magical to me.
5. When is the last time you felt the most free? Any tips for how we can replicate it?
The last time I felt truly free would probably be the last bike ride I took in early October. I had just gotten my first new bicycle since I was a kid and had to wait 9 months for it to overcome the massive shipping backups due to the pandemic. Getting out and feeling the crisp autumn breeze on my face, smelling the distant aroma of a bonfire and pushing my body to be active outdoors was such a liberating experience! I can’t recommend riding enough!
6. Is there a way that aviation taps into the sacred/holy/spiritual/universe to you? If not - no, wait, there has to be right?
Aviation taps directly into my soul! I love the feeling of flight in all of its stages! Take off is exhilarating! Climbing above the clouds is serine. Cruise is often peaceful and relaxing. Turbulence is exciting and gets the adrenaline flowing. The feeling of starting decent is one of the best feelings in the world and landing is a loud moment of pure joy! From start to finish, flying is a spiritual event I treasure!
7. If you could guarantee 1 thing for yourself 10 years from now, what would it be? Or maybe it’s nothing because messing with the future is tricky?
If I could guarantee one thing for myself in 10 years, it would be that I love what I’m doing. Working in aviation has changed significantly in the last 2 years and in many ways not for the better. People are more aggressive and divided than ever before. The threat of the pandemic looms large over every move we make. In addition to all of our other normal security responsibilities and customer service expectations, flight attendants have been thrust into the role of mask enforcement and Covid safety. These additions to the job have led to a deep fatigue in many crew members, myself included. I’m still in love with aviation and traveling, but knowing that no matter the path I choose, I would still love what I do would be a great relief!
8. What gives you hope that tomorrow will be better than today? And thus, gives us all a little hope?
The thing that continues to give me hope that tomorrow will be better than today is the group of people I get to work with. They truly are some of the most dynamic, kind, hilarious, resilient, empathetic and incredible people I have ever met. In moments when I’m down, they lift me up with a joke or a “just thinking of you” message. It sounds like a cliche but these people really are some of the best in the business! If anybody can overcome this rough patch in history, it’s them!