We all know that airport travel comes with its fair share of stressors including TSA security lines, navigating your way to the gate, flight delays, will my bag fit in the overhead bin?, being in zone 3, the list goes on… And while some of these really grind our gears, it is important for us to recognize some of those usually overlooked bonuses of airports, airplanes, and a good ol layover.
I love airports. Now, I don’t know whether I love them because I know when I’m there it means I’m off on my next great adventure or if it is actually the airport itself but nevertheless, the airport and I get along quite well. First of all, the people watching. The people watching at the airport is only second best to that at Disney World. The collection of retired folks setting off on an extended vacation, business professionals and their serious typing and pacing phone calls, and families headed to the 20th annual family reunion always make for some fresh and interesting entertainment. My favorite activity to pass the time is “where are they going and for what reason?”. Another thing about airports, I find there to be so much energy! Airports have got a great buzz to them and everyone is on some sort of mission that it just gets my work and creative juices flowing! I always feel motivated by the excitement.
Once you make your way onto the airplane, there are only more things to get excited about! First, it is such a relief knowing you already have a seat picked out for you (unless you’re on Southwest, in which case you should always pay the extra $15 for that guaranteed A group status). My least favorite part about the first day of class is walking into the classroom and not knowing where to sit or who to sit by. How lucky are we that when we walk onto an airplane, we know exactly where we belong. Next comes the actual best part of airplane travel. Making a new friend with your seat partner is an opportunity you should not pass up! There are some truly interesting individuals out there, you never know who you are going to meet. I also enjoy the timeout from society and social media for the mental break and much needed personal reflection. It is a rare opportunity to find yourself with few distractions. Next thing, THE VIEWS! I always make sure to get myself a window seat so I can peep out the window at the earth below. An early morning flight is always worth it when I get to watch a remarkable sunrise. Lastly, the white noise of an airplane hum is the perfect backdrop for a nap.
And finally, the good ol layover. How I appreciate thee. It can sometimes be challenging to find the joys in a layover. At first glance, a layover is just something holding you back from where you want to be. But I like to think of layovers as prime personal time. It is one of the few times in life where you have nowhere you need to be except right where you are. I like keeping my phone on airplane mode during layovers so I can prolong that mental break and continue to spend time with myself.
So next time you find yourself stressing about that trip to the airport, think about seeking out these great opportunities!