I love airplanes. Airports. Trains. Train Terminals. Even busses and bus terminals. And I’ll tell you why. I know. I haven’t written about the aftermath of the ironman. About the 4 days of sneezing and coughing I had on the couch, (and perhaps a tad-bit of depression) or about the somewhat normal but not-so-smart decisions I made immediately following the race. I haven’t mentioned Christmas in Miami, the amazing gingerbread cake my aunt made, the grilled lamb on Christmas day, or our family-tradition “the mad game.” [a flying-watch-your-fingers-but-not-your-language card game]I know. I haven’t mentioned yet the fabulous talk that my “Ironman Aunt” and I had on our 6 mile run before going to a TRX class in which I almost threw-up Because, well, frankly, I’m sitting in JFK right now and I’ve had one beer that has apparently made me just a little beyond tipsy, and since I just summed up Christmas and Ironman aftermath in three sentences at the top I shall kill my hours here at the JFK airport about telling you why I love to travel. . I think that maybe (just to clarify) airports and train terminals are my favorite. Perhaps airports first because they have more variety, unless of course it is South Station in Boston or Grand Central in New York both of which make one feel as if it should always be winter and as a lady, one should always be wearing a hat with a feather in it and greeted by a man in an equally fancy male hat, or perhaps two women with hats in feathers embarking on a grand adventure.
So why. Here’s why.
Last Christmas I [without thinking until afterwards] booked a ticket to Boston with a layover in Detroit…and got stuck overnight in the Detroit area. Lucky for me I was by myself (I felt terrible for families) and had a day before I was to travel again. While I was freezing my butt off waiting for the shuttle I asked a guy if he knew which one went to the Holiday Inn. “Oh! I’m going too!” Young, interesting, and also stuck, we passed a couple of hours sipping crappy tequila and talking about our adventures around the world.
On November 23rd of this yearI landed in Cancun from Mexico City. Not sure yet exactly how I was going to get to Tulum yet, immediately a myriad of options presented itself. Waiting in line for a bus ticket still thinking about what to do I asked a young man where he was traveling. “Well,” he said, “we’re staying at a hostel in Cancun tonight. But it would be cheaper if we went all together.”
“Ahh,” I said. “I need to eventually get to Tulum.”
“Oh! Well, we’re renting motorcycles tomorrow and going down to Tulum. If all you have is your backpack [my luggage was still yet to be disembarked] we can just put you on the back of a motorcycle.”
“Oh, well, I do have two big pieces of luggage,” I said my mind flashing at the fabulous spontaneous adventure I could possibly take.
“Well, we can just strap your luggage down, probably.” The young guy shrugged.
In the end, I did not end up on the back of a motorcycle that day. A friend from school, who happened to be on the same flight as me, offered the bed-and-breakfast she was staying in for the night. Without really being able to think it through, I took that easiest option.
No regrets. I ended up spending a fabulous night in Playa del Carmen with a group of people that I don’t usually see. That’s the magic of being in the Backpacker’s world…even if you’re not a backpacker.
Of course itineraries change. And when one has a limited time one doesn’t have time to think about the changing itinerary especially at the height of holiday season. So, this holiday season I booked a ticket from Miami to Boston with a layover in New York, realizing only later that I am traveling back to New York a days later. I got the last seat on the plane. No idea what language anyone is speaking anymore…it’s Miami to New York. We’ve switched from just Spanish-speaking to Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and other languages I do not recognize. So cool…I love New York! The girl sitting next to me takes out her book. Catcher in the Rye. Well, she’s gotta be cool if she’s reading J.D. Salinger. And so I say, “Have you read it before?” And so began a 3 hour conversation about sports, healthy eating, balance, mindfulness, and what-to-do-after-college-I-definitely-want-to-travel-the-world. She said, “I mean it’s definitely about the traveling, but more about the people I meet along the way, you know?”
Yes, I know.
“I’m with my mom,” she said. “She’s a flight attendant and from here she’s working a flight to Milan, Italy. I’m going with her.”
“Oh awesome! For how long?”
“Oh, just, like a day and then back home to Boston.”
Lunch in Milan? Why not! After all there is no destination. Just the the learnings, the places, the conversations, and the food(especially if it’s Italian!) that we get to experience along the way.