New York, NY – August 2013
Arriving St. Thomas, VI – June 2013
There is something about airports that I just love. I’m not sure many people can say that, although I have come across few kindred spiritss who feel similarly about the many terminals and wandering, unfamiliar souls. At first, I couldn’t figure out why I loved airports so much. Soon after my first flight ALONE as a young, anxiety-ridden, eighteen year old, I craved to be at an airport at random times. I recently came across an interesting blog entry while doing my usual blog surf, where a girl described the process of traveling, and being at the airport as therapeutic. I then realized, it was much the same for me. I know what you’re thinking, have you ever experienced a flight delay, or the rude people at airports, even for an amateur, I’d say I’ve seen quite enough to know that I still enjoy it.
This summer I had many wonderful opportunities to travel, alone, and visit unfamiliar places with the people I love. First, to the Virgin Islands to stay with my best friend and her family, and then to New York to visit a dear friend of mine who was living there for the summer. Now, I may not be considered a “frequent flyer” just yet, but it’s no secret that I will take any chance I get to hop on an airplane, and I know flight delays all too well, already.
To me, when I walk through an airport alone, as I’m sitting at my gate, when I take my seat on the plane, I feel liberation. Everyone around me is going somewhere, and most those people don’t care where I’m going, but once in a while I notice a particular person and I wonder why they’re alone, where they’re coming from, why they’re traveling, and I know people wonder similarly about me, and what a wonder it is to meet people that way. When I tell people about how I always strike up conversation with people at airports and on the plane, I often get the same response, like, ‘that’s annoying why would you do that?’ At first, I figured this must be a beginners thing, but I couldn’t help and think about the amazing people I’d met in passing just by asking where their destination was. En route to the Virgin Islands I had a four hour conversation with an older couple, who encouraged and inspired me by sharing their life stories and their travels, and they made an impact on my life within such a short amount of time. This was partly because this trip is always something I’ll remember, and in part also because they were amazing people that I never would have stumbled upon had I not uttered the words, “so where are you folks headed?” -Even though it sounds like something a cab-driver, or flight attendent is supposed to say, I love the answers I get. On my way home from the VI I was enlightened by two older women, a mother and a daughter, who had just had an amazing, and entirely different than mine, vacation in the caribbean. They told me many travel stories as well, and made me giggle. Those four hour flights seemed like nothing while my curious soul being fed with such stories.
Now, my trip to New York was much more stressful (yeah, that doesn’t make sense), and I still couldn’t help but delight in the energy of the Atlanta airport for three hours. Hours before I was supposed to be at the airport, for a direct two-hour flight to New York, NY to reunite with my soul sister who was living there, I get a call from Delta telling me my flight had been cancelled. You can imagine my horror. Well, after much confusion and many calls, my flight had been delayed a couple hours and I was far from dissapointed since I was still on a weekend trip to see one of my best friends in one of the greatest cities in the world, not to mention I was still getting on an airplane so life couldn’t be that bad. I had just made it through security at the GR airport when I received yet another call, more flight delays, and it didn’t stop there. You get the point. Needless to say, I was scheduled to arrived at Laguardia Airport at 715pm, and didn’t end up arriving until 1230AM-ish. I even made a stop in Atlanta, it was a rainy day on the east coast, and with my worrying parents back in MI, I still felt comfortable enough to wander the airport for hours on end until my flight to NY FINALLY departed. While, my dad was over-reacting about me traveling alone, and my aunt was making reservations for a hotel in the airport (just incase), I was worry-free, and I suppose I mostly have my wonderful, supportive, and protective, family to thank for that. After a crazy day, I ended up being seated next to a pilot on our way to New York, we talked a lot, after I, of course, asked him about his job as a pilot. He joked with me, and told me all about how it feels to travel as a life-style, and again, I was nothing but amazed by the answers I got. It may have taken me a few hesitant, nervous seconds to utter some of those questions, but I sure am glad I did. That day opened my eyes to a completely different world of travel, a frustrating and often dissapointing process, but I then understood that I truly loved to travel, in all aspects, and I hoped my family would finally accept that I knew what I was doing!
I didn’t grow up flying much, I had my first flight at ten years old and since then they have been speradically occuring, much in part to my wonderful, always traveling, aunt and uncle, who have inspired and supported my wanderlust. Maybe it became a luxury to me, a dream romanticized by all the romantic comedies I watched end at airports, and all the National Geographic magazines I read dreaming of someday being in those amazing places. Because, I was never much amazed with where I started out. But when I’m at an airport I know that this particular terminal, although it may take a while, will soon take me to another territory. So, whether it is the liberating feeling of flying away to an unfamiliar land, or the adrenaline-rushing feeling of unpredictablity at the airport (always), that keeps my soul full of wanderlust inspired and my bigger-than-average feet movin’, it doesn’t much matter. What matters most, is that I have overcome one of my fears, flying, and that I now have found a great therapy for myself, a therapy that will take me to find many, many other (things). When in doubt, book your next flight!