It’s Time We Have A Talk

a runway with white and yellow markings

I realized as I started writing this some folks will think I sold my blog or some other craziness.  None of that, I promise.  I really appreciate everyone that has followed this blog for over a decade and I’m committed to another ten years with you.  And, while the blog posts may not have been as frequent as they used to be lately, you’ve always got my podcast.  You’re stuck with me.

But, I Need Your Help

Simple words, but sometimes hard for people to say.  We’ll dig more into that in a minute.  We’ve talked quite a bit over the years about various charities that I support.  I’ve been incredibly thankful for those that supported me when we raised money for LIVESTRONG, Komen, Pelotonia, Give Kids The World, the Jason Dahl Fund and more.  And, I need your help again.

The frequent travel world lost a friend recently.  I lost a friend.  And, it hurts quite a bit. Will Maxwell-Steele supported virtually every charity drive I’ve ever conducted in the travel world.  And, he participated in a big way.  Will didn’t do anything small, and that’s why I’m sincerely hoping we can make the discussion we’re about to have a big one.

As an aside, I got a couple great friends together to talk about why we started this initiative.  I hope you’ll listen:


I Need Two Things

I’m hoping for two things from each of you.  It’s sorta 2-and-a-half, but let’s not quibble.

First, I hope you’ll consider a small donation to our charity drive to raise awareness about mental illness.  Help us support those that live with mental illness. And, will you please pass on this blog post to someone else?  We need to raise awareness and money.

That’s why we’re adopting the hashtag #wheretheresawill.  You’ll be seeing it on social media and I hope you’ll be hearing about it for quite some time.  It’s in memory of my friend Will, who I miss terribly.

Will always helped his friends in need which is why we chose NAMI.  For the 1 in 5 or nearly 60 million people living with mental illness, NAMI means more than hope. They provide real-time education and support, advocate at the national level, and raise awareness to ensure better lives for all of us.

Once again, I’m humbled by the generous folks in the travel community.  I came up with the idea to put up $1,000 in matching funds.  When friends heard about it, we quickly had folks who pledged $5,000 in matching funds for our fundraiser.  That means if you decide to forego a Starbucks latte this morning and instead donate that $5 to our charity drive, we’ll match it with $5, up to $5,000 in donations currently.  And, if you can’t afford to donate even a few dollars, then you can help by sending it to someone who can.  That’s sorta two asks wrapped into one.


The second ask is harder.  I know it’s harder. Life is busy, we all have a million things on your plate.  But, here’s what I want you to do:

  1. Call someone you care about.  Don’t text, don’t e-mail.  Call them.  You know that hunk of electronics you carry around to check Twitter, Tik Tok and all that good stuff?  You can use it to make a phone call, too.
  2. When that person picks up the phone, ask them how they are.  “How are you?” It’s a pretty standard greeting.
  3. Now, I just want you to listen.  And, when they say, “Fine, how are you?”tell them that you really want to know how they are.

Take 5 minutes.  Call someone and check on them. That might be all they need to tell you that they’re really not okay.  Heck, they might even tell you how you could help.  If they did, I’d call that a huge win.

Mental Illness Is Hard To Talk About

Conversations about mental illness can be tough to have.  And, when we do, sometimes we ask questions that are easy, like “Are you okay?” That’s an easier question to say yes to than no.  Because “no” then requires an explanation.  I don’t have frequent discussions about mental illness.  I suspect many of these conversations happen at the level of a whisper.

It’s a difficult subject, but it’s time to turn up the volume.

  1. Please Donate
  2. Share this fundraiser with someone who might contribute.  Such a huge help!
  3. Please call someone who might need you to check-in. You won’t know if you don’t ask.

Safe travels, Will:

Tonight most people will be welcomed home by jumping dogs and squealing kids. Their spouses will ask about their day, and tonight they’ll sleep. The stars will wheel forth from their daytime hiding places; and one of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.

-Ryan Bingham, Up In The Air


  1. Ed, I’m 100% in. I have a few friends I don’t talk to often and when I do call them, after the normal banter, I will ask, “John/Sue/Sam, how are you really?” and I won’t stop until I get a true answer. You, too, have kids. I won’t let my son get away with a “I’m fine” and I won’t let those I hold dear do the same. Thanks for posting this. Now, on to donate and call that old friend. YDM!

  2. Will was one of the few well known Flyertalkers that I never met. I know that he was admired and respected. Donation made in the amount of $18.00. In the Jewish world, this number is symbolic. It means life. I hope my fellow MOT’s (member of the tribe) will honor Will in whatever amount they can afford.

  3. I lost a friend to depression last month. I stopped doing the calling and checking in. Life felt hard enough at the time. I’d give anything to be able to call her now and ask how she is. A donation was made in her memory. Thanks for the reminder and the opportunity to do something good.

    1. Taryn, I’m really sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I can’t say I know your exact pain, but I think I’ve felt a similar pain this last week. I’m so thankful for your contribution and for sharing that story. Let’s hope stories like this help us reach one more person who needs some help.

  4. Long time reader. Fellow Washingtonian. Donation made. Good job Ed. Hope to run into you in IAD someday.

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