I have always thought that airports are fascinating places. The constant influx of people, arriving and departing from all over the world, luggage in hand and a destination in mind. Some frantic, some calm, shuffling and striding to the correct terminal. Husbands waiting impatiently for their wives to arrive from a recent vacation in Spain, children running into the arms of their fathers–who knows whens the last time they have been together. A lone student waits anxiously to board his flight to China for study abroad. His first time away from home.
People watching in the airport is one of my favorite activities. I love arriving extra early so I have time to observe as many people as possible. As I watch these strangers, I create stories about them, wondering what fascinating adventure they may be going on or what the name of their long lost love is, the one they are traveling 2,000 miles to see. I think we all do this to a certain extent, I think that I am just a bit weird and elaborate more than the average go-girl, creating extensive autobiographies for the people that interest me the most.
What do these people have in their bags? Photos of their mothers, their husbands, their friends? Expensive cruise ship couture? Handcrafted metal jewelry from India or plastic souvenir key chains for their nieces?
Where are they from and where are they going? Perhaps the most fascinating part about this game is that it there is no way of “winning”, of figuring out whether or not these people are who you imagine them to be.
This game helps pass the otherwise dull hours waiting at the airport. On January 16th, I am traveling to Tanzania to study abroad. As I embark on a new adventure to East Africa next semester, I know that I will be spending a lot of time in airports, train stations, and bus terminals. As strange as it may seem, I am itching with anticipation to wait in the Columbus international departures terminal and sit at the humid bus station in Dar Es Salaam. To me, not only is the destination important, but the journey itself can sometimes be the most interesting of all. We just have to take the time to notice!