As a seasoned travel addict, you have no option but to.
Sitting here quietly, minding my own business waiting for my flight, when a young girl comes up to me with a very worried expression and asks me “When will she get her luggage, she has checked it in for the Cape Town flight and is worried about where she now needs to collect it to get it onto the plane”. We get so blase about travel and for the uninitiated it can be quite a daunting experience. I explained she need not worry, she has booked on a Mango flight, and they are looking after it for her and when she gets to Cape Town it will be there for her to collect. Really hope Mango don’t let me down and lose her baggage otherwise she will never trust a random stranger again.
But apart form this recent interaction – I have a confession to make – I love airports – especially when you arrive with ample time to spare and sit and enjoy a glass of a good Durbanville Merlot and watch the world go by.
As a solo traveler and avid people watcher I try and see if I can guess where the various travelers are from? I was somewhat surprised sitting here at O R Tambo domestic terminal to see and hear so many foreign visitors – it fills the heart to know that the majority (I would guess 95% of these people) will be leaving our shores with a positive experiences in their memories.
The easiest travelers to identify are the Germans, then the Dutch followed closely by the Poms and Yanks. I sit and wait to hear them speak to verify my guesses and get almost all of them correct. And as a South African, spotting a local is a piece of old takkie (and this terminology will only be understood by a South African – like a reference to “robots”). Also sitting today with the glass of red in my hand, looking at the people around me and imagining thought bubbles above each persons head, provides a solo traveler with much entertainment.
Maybe I am privileged as I have always been at an airport through choice, embarking on an adventure, and even if it is just a short 45 minute hop down to Durban it is an adventure – I try to look at life in general as an adventure. Maybe to a jaded travelling businessman airports can be a bane of their existence, but then it is all about attitude. The chance encounters I have had in my travels are many fold and ones that have enriched my life even when trying to catch 40 winks on cold airport floors, to today’s leisurely experience.
Airports teach you that people are people, regardless of race, colour or creed. So when you are next getting uptight in an airport, relax and just soak up the atmosphere, watch the people and enjoy the ride – and happy travels to one and all – life is an adventure.