Traveling is always an adventure. Whether you’re exploring the tropics of the South Pacific or simply crossing the street to check the mail; you’re bound to run into something unexpected.
One of the best parts of traveling is finding new experiences along the way, taking detours and making mistakes that result in a more memorable trip.
As a wise man once said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
At least, it should be.
The man in question obviously lived in a time long before the advent of airports.
There is no sense in being subtle about this point; airports are hell, flying is hell, landing is hell. The entire thing from start to finish — hell.
Somewhere between the slightly off-putting TSA agents (who only wish to grope you before slowly scanning the next passenger with a vacant look of despair) and the sad looks of those huddled around the baggage claim waiting on luggage that will never arrive, a small part of your soul dies.
It isn’t just the hassle of security that bothers me; it’s the general air of discontent that surrounds the entire building. Maybe it comes from the cumulative frustration of countless passengers, or maybe it is because airports suffer from routine demon possessions. You’re free to draw your own conclusions, though we all know it’s the latter.
So as my brother and I traversed the long-forsaken wasteland of security checkpoints and screaming children, past the greasy food courts filled with day old fries, there was only one thought in our minds.
“Dear God, why?”
After resigning ourselves to our fate and paying a small fortune for a stale candy bar and a drink at the terminal “convenience store,” we finally collapsed at the waiting area by our gate. The scene in front of us was nothing short of horrific.
Remember that scene in “28 Days Later”? The one where the survivors of the zombie outbreak are huddled together waiting for the inevitable? That is exactly what we saw at the gate of our flight; waves of people who looked like they’d been waiting for at least a week for a flight that may never come.
“So do you think they’re overbooked or something?” said my brother, with his unrivaled ability to sarcastically restate the obvious.
We each sat down with a sigh and a look of longing at the fleeting glimpse of deliriously happy passengers boarding a neighboring plane.
After what seemed like six days (but realistically was half an hour), my brother and I were allowed to board the flying sardine can that was to be our transport for the next eight hours. Which would have been a relief, had we not overestimated the size of the overhead compartment thus causing us to spend the entire plane ride buried beneath a mountain of luggage that we had been assured would be safely stored above us.
“Mmrmph mphmrrph,” said my brother, his face slightly visible under what looked to be a small refrigerator containing a variety of airplane snacks.
“Whrph mmph!” I agreed, as I attempted to create a small pocket of breathing room by wiggling my elbows.
Thankfully, especially for the sake of our internal organs, the mound of luggage shifted after a particularly terrifying bout of turbulence that left the crew cursing silently under their breath. My brother and I took this golden opportunity to sorrowfully request a serving of airplane pretzels with a side of flat ginger ale.
The remainder of the flight was fairly uneventful, unless you count the 43 times the large sweating man in the window seat ambled past us to use the bathroom and the small child who decided that my headphones were obviously meant to go in his mouth.
As the plane set down in a textbook landing maneuver (provided that the textbook was hurriedly scrawled by a foreign factory with a poor knowledge of the English language), we quickly gathered our things and exited the plane.
Our journey was finally over, our destination reached, and our flight survived. We leaped into the air in a synchronized congratulatory television-style “airfive” as we spotted our luggage listlessly rolling in the baggage claim.
For us, this was far more than just a flight. This was an adventure, a triumph of the human spirit over a soul-sucking journey above the Earth. As we left the airport we each celebrated by cracking the seal on the airplane peanuts we’d been hoarding during the flight. This, was the prize for our victory.
And the best part? We only have a week before we go through this all again.