For some people being first at the gate means you have arrived super early and will suffer a long wait for your flight. True. But there is something nice about sitting in the quiet area of the airport with no one else around, yet. Possibly, if it is a full flight, the whole waiting area will become jam-packed with people. But that is later.

I like to get all set up, with access to power, plug-in my computer, hook up to the wifi and see where my mind takes me. Depending on how long I have to wait, is how far I can go. With a connection to the internet and power, I could easily spend all day and be happily occupied. 

Or, with all those empty seats, I could stretch out for a little nap, depending on where I’ve come from already that day. I might feel like diving into whichever book I have on the go, also a good possibility. I can listen to music or my endless list of excellent podcasts. Just to name a few things which I could do to pass the time.

Some people don’t like waiting at all. There is a sense that the flight itself is going to involve so much sitting, they don’t want to make it any longer than it has to be. Those people arrive at the airport in the last possible minute, considering it quite a victory if they don’t have to wait at all. I think that is way too stressful. So many things can happen to foil that travel plan. I would be so worried about missing the flight altogether.

There are worse things than missing a flight. In that way, there is no point in worrying. If something happens which delays you so significantly, like a traffic jam or other weather based incident, so be it. You won’t be flying that day. Why we let ourselves be overcome with fear and stress is very strange. I have missed a flight for a weather and traffic related incident. The sky did not fall.

But to cut it so close, as to increase the chances of missing a flight, well that is a little strange. I think life is stressful enough, why make it worse on purpose? Why not just allow for the fact that a travel day, or two are long days. Then, enjoy the whole ride. The waiting becomes just one part of the overall picture.

This is also an opportunity to live in the moment. For watching the waiting area fill up with people, is a moment that comes but once, for the flight at hand. If you are watching, you also never know who might turn up. I’ve had more than one instance when someone I knew turned out to be on my flight. One time that person was even sitting beside me! I should have bought a lottery ticket that day.

No, we are too busy in our own lives. Too wrapped up in our own affairs. One last call, a series of texts or catching up on emails before we have to leave for the airport is how we roll. And then we are rushing. And if the traffic backs up, we become very frustrated. We wish the taxi driver to hurry up, or we put the pedal to the metal on our own cars. All that could have been avoided. If only for the joy of being early, instead of just in time.

On this trip around the world, we have nowhere to go in such a rush. We can always leave early because it just doesn’t matter too much to us, whether we look at our emails at one place or another. There is more of a benefit to be early and get settled into the rhythm of a travel day, making sure we have time to get everything taken care of at the departure airport.

It also allows each of us to get into our own space. By putting on a pair of headphones at the airport waiting area, we are not being rude to our fellow travellers. We are taking some time to be quiet and reflective so that when we are next enjoying time together socially, we have something to say. We have taken the opportunity to recharge our own thoughts and process some of our own feelings without a need to be communicating all the time. 

I’ve found that the most draining trips are when you are travelling with co-workers who need to be communicating all the time. They need every space of time filled with something. Conversation, action and movement. I think the only time those people are still is when they are sleeping. Even the best co-worker relationship will strain under that pressure. Even my family, who I love and cherish deeply, get on my nerves with too much 24/7 face time. 

So I’ve learned to love travel days. Instead of thinking of them as a drain on my energy, I look at them as a chance to recharge in a way I don’t get to do in normal life. Of course, that says more about how abnormal a travelling life is, than anything. Because there was a time, not too long ago when I was firmly in the camp of not liking travel days and doing a lot to shorten them as much as possible. Just goes to show how wonderful life can be if we are able to reframe an activity, changing it from a chore to a joy, or sorts. Although, I would still rather choose the teleportation machine, if that was an option.

Join me in this creative journey. I think it will be worth your time. Together, let us see where we can take this. I look forward to hearing from you! Please share your thoughts. Feel free to send an email to: Christine@dailycreatives.com

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Christine Westermark

I am a world traveller, lucky enough to have a loving family who support my dreams to learn, create and give back by designing creative content which enables a lifestyle we don't need a vacation from.

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I like being first at the gate

2 thoughts on “I like being first at the gate

  • January 19, 2018 at 7:07 am
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    I enjoy reading your posts! Yes, I would agree that it is nice to be there early and have the big empty spaces all to yourself. I find myself quite drawn to big empty spaces, LOL, must be the introvert in me. Your suggestion to just have some downtime with music or headspace is a great one. Maybe if we all take the opportunity to reground during waiting times like this, the world would be a more patient place. Your post makes me think about all the movies that are set in a train station, airport, port, etc., and have the theme of travel in the background of the drama. I also think that is what makes people watching at airports so enjoyable, you can imagine the drama that might be going on in that other person’s story. Nice post and I look forward to reading more.

    Reply
    • January 19, 2018 at 8:29 pm
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      Kelly – thanks for the note! I was thinking about ‘other people’s stories’ as I was writing the post. But, I was not sure if I might be the only one who thought that way!

      Reply

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