Ask anybody to give a list of things they dislike and chances are you’ll find airports in there somewhere. Flying has become a more common option of transport and it’s not so rare for people to often be waiting there. I can appreciate this, and it really all depends on the circumstances, but personally, I love airports.
A few days ago, as I was departing for Paris, I became stuck in a rather large queue waiting to check in. The check in system had crashed temporarily, leaving everyone in the line to wait around like herded sheep. After eventually managing to check in, I arrived at the dreaded security scanning station – the first of many on such a long journey. This is where it’s important to remember to try and not wear too many metallic items, which I inevitably fail to do. So there I am, each time without fail, holding up the people behind me so that I can take off my belt. A few times in the past the security guards actually ushered me through when they see that I think the belt will set it off and of course, when I do go, it sets it off.
After this I have to remember to take my laptop out of the bag. The laptop that had become buried under a thick layer of clothing and books in an effort to maximise the usage of space in the bag and utilise my long acquired Tetris skills. The technique pays dividends, as I manage to pack just one bag of seven kilograms for the trip. Efficient, but not very strategic of me. Of course once I’ve removed it and it all goes through, I then have to spend five minutes getting it back in there.
Finally, you’re through and ready to go – but now there’s just ten minutes before boarding time. There goes the final minutes that you were hoping to spend with the family that may have come there to see you off. Ten minutes or four hours, that’s never easy either.
Yet through all of these frustrations and time wasting procedures, I’m still happy to be there. Why? Because it means I’m going somewhere. Somewhere different. It means that in the time of a flight, I’ll soon be discovering something new. I’ll be seeing things I’ve never seen before. I’ll be meeting people I’ve never met before. I’ll be on a journey of discovery.
And yes, I can appreciate that this isn’t a view that can be shared by everyone. I don’t have a wife and children to say farewell to. I’m not departing for a business conference and I’m not spending every third day waiting in the queues mentioned earlier. Airports, to me, mean discovery – and that is ultimately what I’m looking for right now.
The only place better than the airport, is the destination, and only rarely the place you were before arriving at the airport.
Of course, all of this is moot if you’re at the airport to go back home…