The In-between World


Perhaps the most unfortunate element to travel is airports, and yet they somehow still make me feel at home. Truly, I have a very intense love/hate relationship with airlines in general.

As I write this I am en route to Amsterdam, and, while there have been a few hiccups along the way, I am content. A very large part of me lives for the strange comfort that can be found in the endless flow of passengers and attendants, each and every person has a different experience. Some are on family vacations, some are beginning a solo travel trip, some are headed to uni or headed home from uni, and more still are going to visit family, friends, lovers, or strangers they met on the internet (hey, it's 2018.. you never know). Each person is in limbo, neither here nor there - most people do not accept your "visiting a country" if you've only been in the airport, it only really counts in times where pity is required. Thus, all those wandering souls around you might be headed on a completely different path, but they are there, in that moment, with you. Airports are a collective transitional phase that anyone who is travelling, be it close to home or on the other side of the globe, exists in. Like phases of the moon, we cycle through check-in, security, duty-free shops, gates, jetways, aisles, and eventually that soaring above the clouds - and even then everyone on that air-bound-machine with you is at an in-between. From the moment you enter the airport until the moment you get through passport control, pick up your luggage, and hope into whatever your preferred (or in my case, whatever my not-so-deep pockets allow for) transport is, you are in the same weird space as the millions of others you've encountered in the past hours (or days, if you include stopovers). It's a time where you exist almost outside of reality, a strange time when you are stuck with limited options and are forced to embrace the enclosed space. Those numerous coffee shops, sandwich places, the convenience store-esque places that sell magazines, books, sweets, and souveniers advertising the city (that you may not have even been to) for those tourists who have forgotten a gift for their dearly beloved family member, they are places that feel different than shops in the real world. At least, they do to me. Even when the product or service is exactly the same, it has an aura of difference.

That strange limbo, is a sort of comfort to me. It's a time where my mind is at ease (unless I'm pressed to make a flight, or customs is being particularly difficult ..), and where I can give myself a mental space to both accept leaving one place, and to prepare for arrival in another. That is the beauty of the in-between, and it's not always in airports alone, I often find this feeling the first day or two in a hostel, a new city, or at any point of travel. It is an odd and splendid thing, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.