Home » Education » Canadian Scholar Thomas Girard Discusses Familiarity and Connectedness

Thomas gives his views as the COVID-19 Pandemic rages-on around the globe. Many ask if this is really the “new normal” and is it possible to feel at home in the Airport. 

Vancouver, BC, Canada, February 3, 2021, In his Pre-COVID-19 TEDx speech titled “How to feel at home in the airport”, Canadian scholar and researcher Thomas Girard reflects on the interconnectedness of society and the unique perspective of airports as a microcosm of society. Thomas Girard is an innovative thinker challenging Canadian perspectives on globalization, especially during these challenging times.

The Coronavirus has affected every facet of life, especially including air travel. What used to be a multi-cultural mélange of travelers and all of the vendors has turned into a wasteland. One can only wonder if it would be possible to feel at home in an Airport.

A recent Tedx Talk at Emily Carr University by Thomas Girard. “How To Feel At Home In The Airport” was a short talk that left a lasting impression for all who were fortunate enough to be in attendance. Thomas took the attendees on a personal journey through the gritty streets of Mumbai and edible diversions of Barcelona, a travel immersion that serendipitously reminds every one of the single things missing in his adventures – the familiar. Thomas Girard is a Continuing Studies Instructor at his alma mater, Emily Carr University of Art, and Design, with a unique cultural perspective.

As readers peruse Thomas’ comments it may seem like a glimpse of pre-Covid-19 life, but that was the “Normal” and people everywhere long for the “Old Normal”, not the “New Normal”.

“Looking back, my TEDx speech in March 2019 has shifted to an entirely different meaning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Thomas Girard. “This new way of life – social and physical distancing – is in direct opposition to our inherent nature of human beings. While we must take these measures to protect each other, our new experiences are missing the familiarity we crave as human beings. I think my presentation has really resonated with people – it has been translated into 14 languages and counting.”

Through his extensive travels, Thomas Girard brings a unique cultural perspective to his work as an Instructor in Vancouver, BC. His work has been internationally recognized through the Common Grounds Research Network as a 4-time Emerging Scholars Grant recipient. The Common Grounds Research Network Emerging Scholars Grant is awarded to eligible Ph.D. students and early career faculty who are undertaking contextually appropriate research in an accredited university. Having lived and worked in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Vancouver and London, Thomas is a sought-after speaker and panelist.

Thomas Girard is available for interviews on a number of topics including our societal dependence on connectedness and the craving of familiarity during these challenging times.

Please enjoy Thomas Girard’s original TEDx speech from March 2019:

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to travel all around the world. But it turns out my favorite places to be are the airports. I realized this was true when I found myself boarding a plane to Seattle just to visit their airport. (Laughter)

We often think of the world as a vast place with many unknowns and things to learn about culture, but sometimes we forget the things that can be the same wherever they are in the world. Let me illustrate. Recently, I was on a plane to India, and I was dreaming about India things. Greyish orange skies. The subtropical climate. Haggling over rupees with an auto rickshaw driver in Mumbai. But something happened when I arrived in India. I didn’t haggle over rupees. I took a taxi.

Another time, I was on my way to Barcelona, and I was dreaming about Barcelona things. Immersed in Gaudi architecture. Eating pan con tomate. Sipping a Tempranillo. Something happened there too. I didn’t sip a Tempranillo. I ordered a Diet Coke. (Laughter) And a second Diet Coke to save for later. Something happens when we’re in unfamiliar situations like these. We seek things that are familiar. We actually crave things that are familiar. Next time you’re on a plane, think about some of these things. Think about the Diet Coke. The tomato juice. Christmas. Two-ply toilet paper. Seat belts. Even think about Hollywood movies. And think about how these things might remind you of home. Maybe you will find yourself on a plane too. Just to visit an airport.”

It is clear that Thomas Girard has the uncanny ability to express his thoughts in a way that listeners can instantly relate to and ponder. This Tedx Talk has been translated into 26 languages. Having lived and worked in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Vancouver, and London, he is a person of many places. A 5x Emerging Scholar Award recipient, he speaks, receives awards, and sits on panel discussions around the world. Once employed as a Staff User Experience Designer at Lenovo Innovation Design Center User Experience Center in Haidian District, Beijing, his days are often spent thinking about where he’ll be tomorrow as he designs possibilities for our future selves.

Please visit Thomas Girard’s YouTube Channel here.

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For complete information on Thomas K. Girard, visit: https://thomaskgirard.com/

Media Contact:

Thomas K. Girard
Attn: Media Relations
Vancouver, BC, Canada