I wrote this short piece on airports at the end of last summer while waiting for my flight back from Toronto. I thought I would share it here.
I love airports. I love the smell, the sights, the sounds . . . the people. Even in the most metropolitan of cities, one will not see the diversity that an airport can hold. Of course, the domestic terminal at Toronto Pearson is not exactly a place to see the world from, but interesting destinations can still be found: Port of Spain in the Caribbean and Birmingham, UK next to Sydney, NS and Moncton, NB.
There are all shapes and sizes in airports. Different people going different places, the well-travelled, the tired, the lost, the confused, the running, and the bored business class, jetting off for yet another meeting. Walking through the terminal to your gate is always the most exciting part – where will your departure be from this time? Where will the last place on land be to your next adventure, your last connection to civilization before bounding in to the sky, through the sunset and clouds off to the next stop on your journey?
Then there are all of the various shops, kiosks, restaurants and stands that fill your walk to the somewhat unknown. I am absolutely certain that if one arrived at any international airport, with a fairly large limit on their credit card, and absolutely nothing except the clothes on their back and a passport, the airport shops could outfit you for a trip to likely any destination in the world in a couple of hours. Camera, clothes, shoes, toiletries and a great number of the various travel knickknacks mass-produced to make one’s life easier on the road can be garnered at an astronomical price (remember the high-limit credit card?), and would carry you safely on your way.
More traditional travellers usually prefer the same pack, the same carry on, and the same old laptop to accompany them around the world. Even if it’s just across the country, it’s always useful to have all of the travel essentials on board – you never know when you might win the lottery and be on your way around the world from Brampton, Ontario . . .
Sadly, I could not bring myself to believe that computerized voice on the other end of the line earlier today, I had won “two hundred thousa . . .” *click* Yeah, right, and I’m the tooth fairy. So I finished packing my bags, bid my sister goodbye and now wait at C41 until the plane, which is currently being checked for my “security and safety” is ready to go, and I can wing my way back to the coast. Five days of driving through rural America to get here, five hours of watching movies to get back ~ ah the age of modernity.
Not that road trips aren’t a good idea, they are, but even when a change from long international flights seems like a good idea, Paw Paw, Michigan just doesn’t hold the same allure as Cairo, Cuzco, or the Caracas. But once in a while you’re called upon to help your sister move, and so the long hours spent in the car singing to Disney princess songs and nights drinking cheap, bad American beer are worth it to be with the people who you so often leave behind. These are the moments that matter, and are the travel stories that you will share with others while hostelling in the far reaches of South Africa and Australia next fall. Every trip is worth the travel, no matter what the mode, but I still love airports.