By: Michelle Naim | Features  | 

I wrote this at 1:12 PM

My favorite place in the world is the airport. Yes, that’s right, in all its glory—the TSA, the annoying passport lady, and the crying baby in line behind me. I’m sitting in the airport right now, as I write this. I’m waiting to take off Delta flight 458 to Los Angeles from gate B32. Take-off is at 1:50 pm, it is 1:12 pm right now. There’s a guy sitting to my right with a maroon hoodie, and a baseball hat, fiddling with his phone -- probably texting his girlfriend. There’s a woman sitting to my left wearing jeans and an olive-green jacket. She’s carrying a Herschel backpack and wearing hipster eyeglasses--probably from Warby Parker. The escalator taking people to their other destinations, like gates B30 and A12, is directly behind me. Some people look tired, others look excited, a handful more have a distinct look of angst and anger from the long lines and delays on the perspective flight.

I can’t help but sit in awe. It’s amazing. Imagine how many stories exist in one place. Imagine the infinite number of places these people have been, the multitudes of places they’ve seen, the countless people they know, and the numberless amount of people they’ll meet. It’s just amazing. This guy’s girlfriend of five years just broke up with him so he’s trying to get away, this elderly man and woman have been married for thirty-five years and are going to visit their grandchildren, I’m going to see my mom, dad, and two brothers who I haven’t seen in three months. I miss them so much.

This is the place that never fails to amaze me. It’s the place that triggers me to start thinking about bigger parts of my life—my family, my friends, and the opportunity to even get on an airplane. It’s the place where I look around and start to remember all the people I’ve lost, I’ve met, all the people who have hurt me, left me, or loved me. All these people remind me of the bigger picture. There is something bigger than us.

This place is my favorite place in the world because people are here for all types of reasons, but ultimately, they’re all just people trying to get somewhere. Some are entrepreneurs, some fathers, some daughters. But they are all here. And they are all trying to do the same thing. Get somewhere else. The airport, metaphorically, is the birthplace of embracing change, or sometimes, returning to where we once were. Sometimes we have to do that in life. Sometimes we are forced to change, or make a change, and other times we revert to our old selves. The airport is the place where we are literally leaving a place behind in order to reach a different destination. Or, at other times, we are going back home. The airport is also the place of connections—connecting flights and stop-overs. People stopping in between their destinations, maybe to admire a different city, or take a few hours to nap before they have to catch their next flight.

It is in places like the airport, the places in between, that matter. This place is the birthplace of growth. It’s not so much about the destination, it’s about the process. It’s about the airport. The crying baby behind me in line, it’s about her. It’s about that tired and pissed off TSA lady. It’s about the struggle of removing our shoes in line, taking our jackets off, raising our hands up in the air above our heads so that we can be scanned, checked, and rechecked with our backs to the hundreds of people waiting in line behind us. It’s about all the spaces in-between our destinations. I love the in-betweens. I love the airport.