I’ve read about those who go to airports – not to travel, but to just hang-out: people-watch; eat; sit and watch the incoming and outbound flights. Soak up the hum and thrum of people going other places. If they don’t actually want to go inside, some people – so I’ve heard – will sneak onto the fields surrounding whatever tarmac they can access. They lie down (some bring a blanket, food, drinks, etc.) just to watch and hear the roar of engines. Allow the takeoff to fantasy-destinations, and the wavy haze of heat and fuel, to lift their moods. I think of these activities as a kind of full-body ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfjBYtIzufQ. I get it. Especially these days. The need to move. To escape. To see something or someone taking flight, for work, a change of scene, or no reason at all except pleasure. In the best of times I crave travel. Today, even a long line to check-in and snags at Security sound good to me.
This morning as I did my five miles I heard a commercial jet overhead. Rare, at this point in time, with the US now leading in pandemic numbers (one step forward, two steps back). I looked up, with total envy, at whomever was going wherever. The plane wasn’t from my city’s airport – it looked to be flying in the 30,000 ft. range. But it was commercial. I could barely make out the logo on the tail. Instantly my mind took off on its own. This plane was doing a long-haul and I sent my mind up into one of the seats. Going to —where? New York. Europe. Montreal. Yes, those options are off-limits right now (unless maybe I’m willing to quarantine there for two weeks). But in my daydreaming? Those are very minor details.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to buy a new carryon backpack (an amazing little soft-body suitcase that you wear like a turtle-shell, on a shoulder strap, or carry by its side handle). www.tortuga.com. A few days later I phoned someone I know who travels constantly. I wanted her ‘read’ about how soon I could book a trip to a region that’s been calling to me. She channeled Donnie Brasco, with his trademark eyeroll and exclamation ”Forget About It!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS6zJ7IsJkM That was the response from my friend. “Maybe in Spring? Maybe next Summer.” I looked at my new carryon and went into a funk. And I stayed there for a minute.
Why is travel such an integral part of Who I Am, so that not being able to do it feels like I’m only able to half-fill my lungs with oxygen? Sounds like I have a problem. An exotic, but ephemeral addiction that I hope to never recover from. But since I can only dream about my next “fix” at the moment, I decided to connect with like-minded others for reassurance. In her Blog, Betsy Goldberg reminds me of the many reasons why I crave travel: the Challenge (out of my comfort zone); the Learning (about other cultures); the expanded Perspective (a healthier world view); the growth in Self-Knowledge; Appreciation for the people and things in my own life; new and strengthening Relationships; Escape; and Relaxation and Rejuvenation.
As I look at Betsy’s list, I can better understand why not being able to ‘get out there’ is such a huge deal for me. And I also realize that discovering and adding to Who I Am is definitely dependent upon exposing myself to fresh challenges. Travel to a new country – with its unfamiliar language, cuisine, customs, and geography – stretches and shapes me in ways that are lasting. I come home from that experience a changed being. I welcome this change. I embrace it and allow it to rough up or smooth out my edges, so that I’m aware of exactly what’s been added, tweaked, or dissolved (such as fear or apprehension). Bottom line, I think that even those who can’t, won’t, or don’t travel, — but who hang-out in airports – still yearn for experiences that take them out of themselves. Somehow they know what waits for them is more than a dream or fantasy: it’s a doorway into deeper self-awareness, connection, and peace.
ONE COMMENT [copied from Betsy’s Blog on Virtuoso, link below!]
Fay Cohen says: Travel is a drug you do not want to get off