Honored to be featured with Virgin.com!

Today, I woke up to my dream of having my journey in Africa featured with Virgin!  What an honor to be connected with such an amazing group of people, out there helping others to change the world!  If you've clicked through the article and landed here, welcome!  I invite you to scroll down through the lions and elephants to take a deeper look into the month I spent with the communities in South Africa.   I love and appreciate comments, and look forward to having conversations with you, so enjoy the posts, enjoy the photos, and come back often!  If you haven't read the article yet, here you go!  http://www.virgin.com/unite/our-community/changing-the-world-through-a-lens

Much love,

Shelly 

 

PP52 with my class of Virgins

I couldn't have dreamed two years ago that I would fall in love so hard with the people I was about to spend five weeks with.  It was the November training class for Inflight Team Members of Virgin America, and we were the largest class they had ever had; there were over eighty of us.  For 5 weeks, we sat in class together, played games together, took breaks in Mt. Whitney together, stressed out with each other, laughed and cried with each other, and created bonds that will last a lifetime.  Each year in December, we go to recurrent training, and even though we dread the two boring class days, we secretly (and not so secretly) get really excited to have our mini reunion with a handful of Novemberites, aka "the best class ever".  This year was so much fun, I forgot the government required us to be there.  All we did was laugh.  Our instructor Sam was part of the reason we had so much fun too, he's an absolute gem, and we all swear it would be suicidal if he wasn't the one spending these 2 days with us.  Paulina here is one of my very favorite people at Virgin because of her wildly true spirit, and her realness.  She's someone you can have a deep conversation with about life & love, and in the next moment spit your drink out your nose because of her dry wit and priceless expressions. Our 'office' life is different every day, but at the end of it all we know that it is more than just our own metal tube hurling through the sky:  We have each other out there, supporting one another and laughing with each other across the world, and knowing that there are 80+ people who are our extended family, even if we only get to hug them once a year in the jet bridge!  

 

Paulina.

Paulina.

49, high in the sky

One of my favorite parts of working as a stew is when I get to go in the cockpit and take in the full panorama of the world below.  There are winding rivers and golden valleys of monuments, snowy peaks and speckled patches of a million lakes, colorful circles that span as far as the eye can see, and volcano peaks lined up so eloquently in a row.  The night time vistas are just as beautiful.  The Gods poked a thousand holes in a black canvass and let the light glimmer through in patterns that define a city.  Sometimes, when it's cloudy, you get to peek through for just a moment and catch a glimpse of life, and then you look up and see the planets shimmer for you out there in the blackness.  It's the most beautiful office in the world, and I envy the pilots who get the front row seats at this most spectacular and ever-changing show.  The time I have in the cockpit is precious, sharing quiet space with another person just observing the wonder of it all. Clem here is one of the good ones, his eyes still shine after a whole life up in the air.  He hasn't lost the magic, and it makes my day to share the awe with him, even for just a moment.   

Clem.

Clem.

Portrait Day number 48: Adam

All I am really going to say is that people like Adam are why I love my job so much!  As are people like Bethany, and Matt, and Steve, and Jaime, and Mikey, and Cliff, and Ting Ting, and Joshua, and the other Joshua, and Marche, and Kimber, and Monica, and Jeff, and Sara, and Heidi, and the Carries, and Paulina, and Samantha, and Marissa, and Tina, and Perry, and Clem, and Twee, and Louis, and Mark...and about fifty other fun-loving people who have filled my world with laughs and good times these past two years.  If I explained this particular evening I had with Adam and Bethany with you, you might be tempted to shake your head and throw your hands up in the air with amused confusion.  Not every trip is this much fun, but I hold on to them to get me through the rough ones.  Thanks, guys!  

Adam.

Adam.

Portrait of a sweet love: #47

The last time I saw these two, we were gathered together with a dozen others around the fire pit at our layover hotel in Boston.  I didn't know they were together...maybe they weren't at that point, maybe that was the night everything started.  All I know is that I already adored the daylights out of Tina, and Perry was fast becoming one of my new favorite pilots.  A month or so later, I saw Perry getting off the plane in Florida when we were getting on and gave him a huge hug.  "Oh wow, I just saw Tina here & thought of you!", remembering that last time I saw her.  Little did I know they knew the other was there.  It took one or two more run-ins like that to realize that two of my favorite people had become a couple.  In the airlines, it's a tricky thing, dating co-workers.  Everyone warns you against it, yet everyone seems to try it at least once.  I, personally, have never attempted the flight attendant/pilot mambo, but if I did, I would only hope that my match would be as good as these two.  Love and laughter, they've got the right combo.  

Tina & Perry

Tina & Perry