Airports

I love airports. They always give me a little rush of excitement.

When I lived in Melbourne, being inside an airport usually meant I was on my way to spend time with my family, or had just done so. If not that, then being at an airport meant I was heading off on an overseas adventure, or picking up someone I had missed.

That’s part of it. The other part is the other worldly nature of airports. They’re like their own little universe. People are in transit in airports — on their way to somewhere or from somewhere, stuck in between two places. Planes are similar. But I guess airports still allow people to move around, and therefore be more interesting. I love it.

I get nervous when I travel — have I packed everything, will I get to the airport in time, will I be able to find my way? — but once I’m at the airport the nervousness is replaced by excitement. I’m always excited to be going somewhere. And, once the nervousness dies down, I’m thrilled to have (re)discovered that I’m capable of doing this on my own.

Overseas travel excepted, pretty much all my time in airports has been spent alone. And I like it that way. It’s a different kind of adventure when someone else is along for the ride.

Being on my own leaves me free to people watch, and to strike up conversations with strangers. I love talking to and observing strangers. People are so weird and entertaining. Especially when they’re between places, in the midst of a journey. An airport, after all, is not really a destination.

I’m writing all this because this weekend I’m spending time in various airports (being weird — and maybe entertaining — in the corner, furtively doing a few quick yoga poses to realign my spine after sitting in the slump-inducing plane chairs), as I make my way to and from Adelaide for the Academy of Words. I’ll be on a panel today, and hanging around at various other things all day. If you happen to be in Adelaide, come say hi.

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