Welcome to another installment of Travel Thursday! Last week AJ took a trip to the Great Barrier Reef: this week he’s stuck in airport purgatory.
If Hell exists, I have no doubts that it features long extended periods sat inside a grey bespeckled building known as an airport, waiting for the boarding call for a plane which – for some minor detail that they tell you is important for reasons unexplained – keeps getting delayed another couple of minutes. There’s no chore tougher than trying to sit patiently and wait when you’re so excited to explore new lands.
Fear not, I have compiled a small list of things you can do while you wait for that flight. (Do note, Aaron Smith, having sex in the disabled toilet is not likely to come up).
- The Usual Time Passers
You know the ones: you’re waiting for the doctor to stop pissing around with his previous patient and get to you, so you can tell him all about that chest cough which you don’t have anymore and think is probably cured. The usual come in many shapes and sizes: endless crosswords of Sudoku, the standard “on my work break” Facebook/Instagram scrolling (you can even stalk your ex, if you like!), or you can even read a book. For the longer delays, you might even need to read two books!
I know what you’re thinking: “But AJ, where can I even find good books to read?” Just scroll past this post, the good shit is right there fam. Alyce delivers. Hit it up, yo. #shamelessplug (Alyce: thanks, bae xoxo)
- Acquire temporary friends
Travelers are the easiest people to start conversations with. Just ask them why they’re traveling, and life stories incoming! Sometimes those conversations are absolutely gripping and awe-inspiring.
While waiting for a particularly shy flight at Cairns I met a fellow who once lived inside a volcano in Russia doing geothermal studies, an opportunity given to him by just being friendly to everyone he met (crazy concept, I know). Stories like that act as a lighter to the gasoline that is my travel itch. If you pick someone in the same gate lounge as you, there’s also a good chance of getting travel advice for your destination if the person you picked is a local going home.
I am a deep believer in the concept of sleep (and not just because it’s currently 4am as I type this). It’s not for everyone, but sleeping in the airport is one of your better options – especially before a long haul flight – and some airports even provide the necessary sleeping rooms for weary travelers. Although, as I found out one sleep at Wellington Airport, there is nothing more disorientating than dozing off surrounded by 3 equally conscious passengers, just to wake up with 300 people around you and an Asian lady staring straight at you. SleepinginAirports.net provides you excellent resources on this topic.
I was introduced to Geocaching by a friend of mine. One of the games that inspired Pokemon Go, this worldwide scavenger hunt properly utilizes multi-million dollar satellites so that you can find tupperware in a tree. Most airports I’ve visited have one hidden away somewhere. Simply download the app, turn your GPS on and go hunting to pass the time. Careful, though, you’re not supposed to be caught by muggles (non-geocachers).
- Fuck it, get a bus/train
Sometimes your waiting time it too long and you want to see more of the world right now. Fear not, my eager ticketholder, for I have a solution. At most of the big airports you can get on a bus or a train super easily and pop into the city, explore some sites, grab a bite (for a far cheaper price that you could at the airport!) and pop off back to the terminal all before Per Mertesacker has time to turn. Not only do you get to satisfy your insatiable travel lust, you also fixed your famine crisis!
- Get a couple of squats in
As long as you’re not about to hijack a plane, you can do anything in an airport and very few people will bat an eye. Why not grab a bit of floor and get a workout in? Some airports, such as the ones at San Francisco and Amsterdam, even have dedicated yoga or meditation rooms, if that’s more your style.
- Channel your inner David Attenborough
The airport is the best way to witness flocks of humans, from all parts of the globe, in the act of migration. These majestic creatures come together like a pot-luck, in various shapes and sizes. Watch how this young male darts through the crowds towards the gate at the other end of the room, desperate to reach the doors before they shut and he has to wait for another herd to depart. Over there we have a child displaying a dance of dominance over two adult humans, who are left cowering and red-faced as the rampant toddler destroys two bottles of duty free in front of perplex onlookers. It’s a truly fascinating spectacle. The wonders you’ll marvel at while human-watching.
These are just a few ways to combat the waiting times you’ll no doubt experience on your travels. If you’re talented you could even challenge someone to an impromptu Disney sing off, like the Broadway casts of Lion King and Aladdin.
Or you could get a KFC, I suppose.