A know-it-all sorority girl in my college Italian class once passionately proclaimed from the back row that she hated airports. She was jabbering on about the flight she had to catch later and how insanely long the lines would be. “I mean, nobody likes being at the airport,” she whinced.

“Amo gli aeroporti” I responded as I whipped around in my desk.

My mouth often works faster than my brain. “Think before you speak” was a frequent time-out goal assigned to me by adults when I was younger. This time, I probably didn’t need to pick a silly, travel-based battle considering I couldn’t even get my language of response right.

“I love airports,” I repeated. 

She confidently told me, and the rest of the listening ears, that she didn’t believe me.

Now, I was under no illusion that everyone loved airports as much as I do, but she truly couldn’t understand how I liked them at all. “Being at an airport means you’re going somewhere”, I explained…

I hate a mile-long security line as much as the next shoeless, liquidless, ‘my flight started boarding 5 minutes ago’ traveler, but at the end of that line, and that flight, you are going to touch down in a wonderful new place. Not necessarily new because you’ve never been there before; simply new because it’s not where you woke up this morning. And that is amazing.

It’s amazing if you’re going home for Christmas to see your family. Or to Cancun for Spring Break with friends. It’s even amazing if you’re going to a work conference in some bumblefrick town, because it’s taking you out of your routine and your comfort zone–if even for a single day. And it’s in these seemingly small moments, on the outskirts of life, that we truly learn and grow.

In my life abroad, each bus, tram, car, plane or train I take is the most amazing it has ever been. Because I’m on that drive or flight for no other reason than the most perfect, pure desire to have it take me to an unfamiliar place. With no other goal than talking, laughing, eating, roaming and exploring, until it becomes just a little more familiar. I’m just trying to get friendly with as many pinpoints on this globe as I can. All the places my skinny little finger used to land on when I would spin the classroom globes in grade school.

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-written on a bus from brussels to rotterdam-

“There’s a part of me that thinks perhaps we go on existing in a place even after we’ve left it.”  -Colum McCann, Let The Great World Spin

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