What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘travel’? I bet it’s pictures of the destination — beaches, mountains, restaurants with tourists rushing around, drinks and whatnot. For me, travel has an entirely different meaning. I realized late in 2013 that I loved the journey to the destination more than the destination itself.
That is definitely not to say that I don’t like arriving at amazing travel destinations, I absolutely do; but I like the time spent on getting there, provided that the journey isn’t too bad for some reason.
So why am I writing this travel confession all of a sudden?
The Airport Diaries
Late in 2013, I traveled to the United States for the first time ever. I was invited to a conference titled Mozilla Summit 2013 (pictures here) by Mozilla Foundation. I’m a volunteer with Mozilla, albeit not an active one, and I ended up receiving an invitation to join the summit that simultaneously took place in three cities around the world. I was chosen to go the US to attend the three-day summit.
During my two-week stay and travel to the United States, which includes flying from the West Coast to East Coast, I flew a total of 6 airplanes from 7 different airports around the world. The journey started from Dhaka (Shahjalal Int’l Airport) to San Francisco International Airport with an 8 hour layover in Dubai International Airport. After the conference had finished in Santa Clara, I flew from San José Airport to LaGuardia Airport with a layover in Minnesota Airport. After another week in New York, I flew back home from JFK International Airport to Dhaka with the same 8 hour layover in Dubai Int’l Airport again.
Right, I had to double-check that I wrote the previous paragraph right. That’s a lot of airports for a two-week travel!
It has been over a year and a half since I had that jam-packed journey to the United States, and all I can think of (besides the chaos in New York and calmness of San Francisco) is the experience of airports and getting onto different flights! I know for some people, this can be exhausting, especially those who are frequent flyers (I envy them!). But for me, I can see myself very comfortable flying multiple times a week!
Airports and Chaos
If I were to choose between the chaos of New York and the silence of San Francisco, I’d be in trouble.
Having grown up in a metropolitan city, I’m used to the chaos. I don’t necessarily love it, but I do enjoy it when the place is different from my hometown. 😀 That being said, I find airports an amazing place.
As I was an international traveler, most of the airports that I’d been to were filled up with people who were coming from or going to another country, or waiting in a layover, spending time eating, reading magazines, or window-shopping. There’s something mysteriously attractive about airports to me. I find that hard to explain. Even if I’m not boarding a plane, I find airports a fun place to hang around, though the airport in my city does not have much place to fool around. 😛
I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to flying high, because I have done so only a couple of times, but I sure do enjoy it. If I needed to fly halfway around the world twice a month, I think I’ll still be happy to. 😀 I’m sort of immune to the exhaust of long-distance traveling. Even back in Dhaka, I enjoy going to places as long as the weather isn’t burning hot (which most of the time is).
I can still remember the skies, the clouds, the top of the mountain, and the weirdly amazing patterns on the desert that I’d seen from the window of my seat. The scene of sunset and sunrise over the Atlantic ocean will stick to me for as long as my memory works.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s having this kind of thoughts after having their first journey(s) by plane, but I’m sure I miss it more than most people do.
To conclude this random straight-out-of-brain post, I should say that I’m always excited about the destination, too. When I was traveling to San Francisco, I was super excited about visiting the tech capital of the world. Having been used to the large, open sky and quietness of Silicon Valley and Santa Clara, I was preparing myself for East Coast for a completely different picture.
New York welcomed me with its millions of lights as I landed on LaGuardia Airport in the middle of the night. From the next day, I experienced what one of the world’s busiest cities looked like, and I loved it too! If I were to choose between the chaos of New York and the silence of San Francisco, I’d be in trouble. I love both, and I can’t prioritize one over the other.
Nevertheless, one thing that was common with both the places was how I got there: airplane! The other night when I was coming back home from a friend’s place, I noticed a plane take off from Shahjalal International Airport. In an instant when I saw the plane flying off to the sky, it all flashed back on my mind. The departure from Dhaka, the arrival in Dubai airport, the soft weather and large skies of San Francisco, and the well-known busiest streets of New York.
With all that thought out loud, I’m looking forward to the next journeys that come to my life. 🙂 Having written all these, I’m thinking I should write a series on my travel to the US and journey from America’s West to East Coast. 😀 It was full of wonderful new experience as well as meeting awesome new people who volunteer at Mozilla. Perhaps someday I will.
What’s your favorite thing about traveling? Do you enjoy packing up for travel? Do you enjoy the journey to get there? Or do you enjoy most when you finally arrive at your destination? Don’t forget to write your thoughts in the comments below.:)