Among travellers it seems almost de rigeur to hate on airports, and to be honest I’ve never understood why. Certainly in this country (New Zealand) you can’t undertake any sort of travel of a serious nature without getting on a plane. We’re a tiny island in a large ocean and to get anywhere else requires a plane ride, often a long one. So for me airports have always represented the beginning of a great adventure.
I’m very rarely bored at an airport. I observe my fellow travellers and wonder about their lives their trips, the reasons they are making them, where they’re from and where they’re going. The farewells, the arrivals and the sheer diversity of humanity. There is scope for making up endless stories about strangers in a crowd.
Checking out other people’s luggage is another favourite pastime. I have a luggage obsession and am always hunting for the perfect item. I watch it all roll past and mentally design my ideal bag. The obsessive compulsive bag wrapping types can tell theirs apart from everyone else’s by the layers of plastic. The rest of us try and express some element of our personality in our choice of colour, size, shape, number of pockets or zips in the hope that we can identify it quickly in the general scrummage at the luggage carousel.
All this may be because I’m a hick from a tiny little country at the bottom of the world but I don’t think so. There is still romance in travel despite the fact that it is so much easier now than when the great Victorian explorers where making their journeys across continents unknown . There is still the romance of exploration, of seeing the new, the different and the intriguing in other cultures, and other places, and I don’t believe that will ever change. Just checking out the departures/arrivals boards in a foreign airport is the best fun. I imagine myself jetting off to exotic and unusual destinations purely on the basis of an intriguing place name. And then watching who gets off the flights from those destinations…
And yes waiting can be a pain, especially when your flight is delayed, and delayed again and then cancelled, and I must confess that I’ve never been stuck in an airport for days due to the vagaries of Icelandic volcanoes. That would justifiably sour one’s point of view. However, I make sure that I always have a book/kindle with me and latterly I have my knitting. And no, I’ve never had my knitting needles confiscated, but the security man at Casablanca airport poked me in the arm with one to see what my reaction was And yes it did hurt, but I wasn’t going to let him know that, because then it would have been bye bye knitting.
The keys to enjoying your airport experience:
- Realize you are nothing more than human cattle – it’s not personal. You are there to be queued checked, checked again queued again questioned and processed. Get over it.
- Wear comfy shoes for queueing in. And yes I’ve been known to break out the crocs. Desperately, tragically and painfully uncool, but light and easy to slip off on the plane, and be worn with a pair of socks if need be (even more uncool) and allow for swelling of feet on long haul flights. If anyone can find an attractive alternative please let me know!
- Lycra is your friend. Soft stretchy clothing that is breathable and allows you to move easily is the priority.
- Have something portable and productive to do while you are waiting. Time passes quicker. For me its knitting and blogging.
- If you desperately need peace and quiet consider paying for access to a lounge.
- Lastly if you are a member of that privileged portion of the world who can afford to travel DON’T COMPLAIN! You are fortunate indeed.