About two years ago Eva Liparova, a theatre producer from London, got a contract in the USA
and started to fly the London–San Francisco–London route regularly. After several 13-hour
flights, she found it strange that on such a long journey people did not talk much to one another.
Everybody watched movies, listened to music on headphones or played games on their
smartphones. Liparova decided to do something about it. She boarded her next San Francisco
flight with an empty notebook in her handbag, determined to ask people to write stories about
themselves and share them with fellow passengers. She believed the stories could act as
a natural icebreaker and would get them to talk.
Yet, this wasn’t as easy as she had imagined, because at 30,000 feet she suddenly found herself
suffering from stage fright. “When I think of it now, it was rather stressful, because it took me
about four hours to gather the courage to walk up to the first person!” she says with a laugh.
But eventually she did. She handed the notebook to a woman sitting in the first row. Inside
the notebook, there was Eva’s short introduction, a story, and her question. She also gave a set
1. Read the last entry in this notebook and answer the question below it.
2. Write your own story and ask a new question.
3. Pass the notebook to the passenger next to you.
4. Before landing, return the notebook to Eva (seat 42E).
Recommended: sign with your seat number and leave your email.
It took hours until the last person returned the notebook to Eva. In total, 33 people answered
the questions and wrote their stories. Some were more personal than others, including entries
about honeymoons, babies and marriage proposals. Eva noticed that where the notebook had
been passed, the passengers started talking to each other more. She was very happy about that.
Her only regret is that few people left their emails in the notebook and only one of them, Flossie, answered Eva’s message. Eva hopes to find the rest of the people through social media and
show them what they all created in the clouds. Eva would like to do her project again, but this
time she wants to make sure that the people who decide to take part in it get the chance to read
all the stories before landing.
adapted from edition.cnn.com