To most, it’s missed connections and frantic jogs through security. It’s fast food and no outlets. But to me, an airport is one of the most romantic of places. Yes, I will admit, I have a love affair with airports. The romance of an airport is unlike any relationship I’ve had with other places.
The magical lights of the departure airline lists. The scrolling list of the television, filled with exotic locations – so many of which remain unexplored by my own two feet. “Departing,” “boarding,” “delayed.” Three words that bring a rush of energy coursing through my veins, each specialized and unique than the next. The sorted lines at security that empty out into the faraway destinations, some a skip away and others thousands of miles away.
I look to the woman ahead of me in line and I wonder, to where is she going? To the family of four, I ask, are they vacationing or leaving for a new life? And to the quiet, elderly man, I question, is he saying hello or goodbye? The romance of an airport is the diversity of the people that encompass it. The ethnicities, the religions, the ages, the families, the solo travelers, the young, the old, the excited and the anxious. All of which must go through the same lines as myself, and all of which await their adventures. The romance of an airport is that it is a microcosm of civilization. It is a glimpse of the greater world.
Each airport I’ve visited all share the same quality, they are a place of transition. No one stays, everyone leaves. Just like me. I will corner myself in a comfortable seat, next to the husband and wife double checking their seat assignments. I will put on my headphones and anticipate my upcoming adventure. But I, like everyone else, will depart.
But to see each person, in their vivid, bold realities – whether living through a nightmare-ish layover or seeing the glimmer in their eyes as they look forward to beginning a new chapter – it’s romantic.
The next time you enter the airport, remind yourself of these romantic notions. The romance of an airport is present when you look for it. Savor the (hopefully) short amount of time you have in a place as alluring, diverse and transitionary as this. Happy adventures, Dame Travelers!