A professional firer who prefers life “up in the air,” Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) relishes the fullness of his itinerary and the lightness of his backpack. When his company threatens to cut back on travel, Bingham panics at the prospect of permanence until he meets a special woman who makes him believe, if only for a moment, that he is capable of settling down.
While Bingham toys with the notion of a more stationary lifestyle, chances are he wouldn’t be able to suppress the travel bug for long. Still, it’s clear that the man is up for a little meaning in his middle age, even if he can’t stay grounded. So while we can’t pin him down, we can change what he’s doing in transit, which may have just a little something to do with his wounded psyche. Delivering bad news for a living? It’s got to take its toll.
Luckily, there are plenty of jobs involving travel and a more positive engagement of the community. A tour guide, for example, while perhaps not as glamorous as a high-powered suit, moves at break-neck speed (especially when atop a bicycle) and receives VIP treatment wherever he goes. If he’s good at his job, he is a natural leader, like Bingham, and a charismatic public speaker. Check. Most importantly, he immerses himself in other cultures, helps others to do the same and, in the process, forges meaningful connections with people from all walks.
Facilitating life-affirming experiences for people that can enhance their understanding of the world, bond them to their loved ones and create lasting memories? That’s quite an improvement from storming into someone’s life to inform them of their sudden redundancy. And if the whole “meaningful connections” clause sends Bingham’s heart a-racing, he can rest assured that these relationships are strictly short-term — tours are generally a palatable one to two weeks.
About the author
Becky Hutner is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She has produced and edited segments for network and cable television, and has screened at numerous festivals internationally. She hold a bachelor’s degree in screenwritting from USC.