Saturday we decided to go out for lunch. Nowhere special, just a quick trip to the local Chili’s, which is about an hour away. By plane. The airport in the town where we live is small and the only eatery consists of a couple vending machines. But the airport an hour away? That’s where things get interesting.
The Ted Stevens International Airport sports a Chili’s, a Brookstone, a few bookstores with novelty items like the Tough Alaska Chic hoodie that one of these days I’ll purchase. So that’s where we went for lunch. To the Chili’s in the airport. And that’s when it occurred to me that airports, like bus stations and train stations and rest stops along the highway are the crossroads of travel.
These are the places where we meet other, fellow travelers. They’re the places where we see folks who are at the same point in their travels that we are, but who might be traveling somewhere completely different. These places are our crossroads along the journey we are traveling.
As we meandered through the various shops after lunch, I thought about how at any moment we could choose to get on a flight with four empty seats and go somewhere else. Somewhere other than home, someplace exotic and new or even revisit a familiar place we’ve been to before where we could try something different than the last time we visited.
I thought about the people walking by as they got off a flight or headed to the gate so that they could board. Where were these people going? Were they traveling for business or for pleasure? Would it be a happy family reunion when they got there or was it a family emergency they were rushing to attend to? My husband pointed out a passel of folks getting off a plane and informed me they were likely coming home after a two week stint of working on the Slope.
During our lunch time trip, we stopped for frozen yogurt (YUM!) and I picked up this gorgeous new notebook. I daydreamed about what I might write in the notebook and gazed at the trinkets and items in the shops and took pictures of the taxidermy animals in the display cases as if I’d never been to this airport instead of having spent a great deal of time there over the last almost three year years.
At the end of the day, we boarded a flight that returned us home. A place that at the end of whatever trip we are on, whether it is exotic or familiar, is the place we love to travel back to. I’m already planning for the next trip though. And when we go, I’ll be sure to muse over the fascination of the crossroads as I wonder where others are traveling to and from. I might even get up the nerve to inquire about other people’s travels. Who knows…a fellow traveler might just hold the key to the next trip I want to take.