My fascination with airports started a long time ago.
Probably when I was 8 years old and I took my first international flight from JFK to Seoul, Korea. It was winter of 1988, just after the Olympics.
I don’t actually remember a ton about the airport but I do remember my sister and I building tents with our blankets on the floor of the giant 747 taking us across the continent and over the pacific.
Guess we were pretty tiny back then, and chock full of imagination. I wonder today what universe we were living in under those blankets. And a part of me wishes we can go back there 😉
After that I didn’t fly for almost a decade. I spent the following years of adolescence exploring the inner boroughs, intimate neighborhoods and city streets of New York.
Then I discovered southern californian cousins when I was 16ish. So I started flying west to catch up on years of family…
In 1999 my sister and I did a European winter tour to see friends and family in London, Amsterdam and Paris. I’d always loved road trips and long train rides but this was the trip where travel stole my heart. I was madly, deeply in love.
So in 2000 I did a study abroad program at the University College of London, interning at what was then Chase Fleming (now part of the JPMorgan conglomerate).
That semester was a cultural exploration and my first opportunity to live like a local, abroad. And in the years since I’ve been to many airports, on many time zones, across many languages… And my fascination grows.
Airports (train depots, and the like) are surreal environments. People come and go or simply pass through. Here people laugh, hug, sleep, cry, bath, fight, eat, scream, drink… No outfit is a fashion faux paus… Because who knows where you’re coming from or where you’re going next? Winter wear, summer wear, hiking shoes, mink hats or leather catsuits… Who can judge?
There was this movie called The Terminal with Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones that came out a few years back. It was about a guy from a really tiny country that had broken out in war and his passport was invalid so he was stuck in the airport, couldn’t go outside and couldn’t fly anywhere. It became a mini-universe and he discovers every facet of human emotion from within the airport confines. It’s not as interesting as I actually made it sound but I liked the concept behind the movie.
Another random post…