I love traveling. It’s right up there with eating out all the time, going to musicals and symphonies, and other things I really can’t afford but love doing anyway.
There is something about flying that gets me every time. The security I could do without (and paranoid security is worse than no security at all, but that’s a post for another time). Beyond the sheer awesomeness of boarding an aircraft that takes you into the skies, it’s the shared confines of said aircraft that makes me smile. The loud guy two rows behind you, talking about his investment strategy? Stuck. The old woman asleep across the aisle? Stuck. The lady reading some boring fashion magazine two rows in front of you that you can just barely read over her shoulder, so to speak? Stuck. Like it or not, everybody is having a shared experience, and you probably won’t see any of them ever again. It’s a time when people’s true natures come out, because everyone is anonymous, and that can be anywhere from heartwarming to really, really depressing.
I also like airports, because everyone is crossing paths. I grew up with a very small family, but the sprinkling of aunts and grandparents I did have lived in Kansas City, Pensacola, and the DC area. So we flew, and because we lived in a small town in eastern Washington, we had layovers. Layovers are splendid, because airports are like little islands removed from the real world (you know, where bottled water sells for less than $4) and everybody is there for one purpose or another. Plus you can do fun things like seek out the best pizza places, find the one stall in the one bathroom that doesn’t have an autoflush toilet, and learn where the best places are to camp out near an electrical outlet in case of a snowstorm.
But road trips are fun, too. Jury’s out on trains after a certain Amtrak experience. Buses and trolleys and subways and metros are fantastic if done well (as in Moscow, for instance) – they’re like little microcosms of airports. And of course boats are glorious… because then you’re ON A BOAT.
Packing and planning for travel can be stressful, but once it’s underway, you can literally “sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.” Yes, corny, but still true. And when you know people in all kinds of places, you get to experience little bits of their world when you travel, and it opens your eyes. All kinds of good stuff… now if only it were free.
In unrelated news, I believe my internet connection was finally fixed by a competent Cox technician. He found a bad connection and an unnecessary line splitter, just hanging out and messing stuff up. I do wonder how the other two technicians we’ve had out managed to miss this.