It’s already dark when I drag my bags down three flights of stairs, across the cobblestone road and to my waiting taxi. So begins yet another journey along with my wonderings of “Why do people think travel is so great?”
The airport has changed (once again) as I struggle to push a cart half my weight up a steep slope. As I pass through the checks and pat downs, the one little highlight is the little silver card I carry with me. What few privileges it does allow are welcomed – a quiet respite away from the others travelers who drag chairs to better locations and shop because there is nothing else to do while waiting in the terminal that feels like a corral for cattle.
From the corral of milling people we’re herded into tiny chutes to be screened once again. With the little silver card in hand I take advantage of the last privilege it gives and head first onto the airplane.
Soon, I find myself being hurtled through the sky in a metal tube. But the fast speed begins to decrease to the pace of a tired, worn out turtle as I doze for the next seventeen hours. Seventeen hours of sitting in a tiny, uncomfortable chair; of listening to the chorus of screams from children as tired of being locked in as much as I am.
While being locked in, chasing the light in this metal tube in the sky, the attendants start to force feed us – chicken and rice, rice and chicken, some dry bread. They take their duty seriously to make sure we’re well fed and read for the next corral.
Soon, I discover that the light we’ve been chasing has outrun us and snuck up behind us. Instead of dark, I see the cotton swirled clouds and wonder what is underneath. The map on the wall, who’s goal is to maintain some of our sanity in this tube in the sky, declares we’re over the site of the Titanic. Well, at least I find some education as I always thought she sunk farther out to sea.
As the light catches us by the tail, I discover that we have not outrun Jack Frost. He’s been to visit me and painted crystals for my enjoyment. The light that has been playing hide and seek as it tries to catch us soon illuminates the crystals which sparkle like tiny diamonds. A small piece of wonder to maintain my sanity.
We skim the world between the clouds as we finally reach land. Clouds above, clouds below. As we hover between this netherworld, the earth below slowly stirs to life, unaware of our silent observation of their minuscule world.
Finally comes the arrival and the slow, glorious release to freedom….of yet another airport while awaiting yet another flight.
When people say they love to travel I have two thoughts. One is that they’ve never traveled or rarely travel, unlike me who lives out of suitcases. The second is that they mean they love arriving at their destination, ready to explore. Because who in their right mind enjoys being packed like sardines into a metal tube, hurled across the skies, and unable to move for who knows how many hours.
No, it’s the destination that excites us. It is not the air or bus travel that is the excitement of the journey (unless one is walking or driving a private car). It’s the freedom to explore, make memories, meet new people, try new foods, and step into another culture when one is finally touching glorious land, free from the entrapment a of metal tubular walls.