What Is It About Me + Airports?Apr 21, 2019
What is it about me and airports?
The first night I ever went to an airport knowing that I wasn’t catching a flight or picking someone up was on February 14, 2006.
It was Valentine’s day.
From the outside, my life appeared to be great, but on the inside, I was suffocating.
I’d just had my heart broken again, after not having dated for 6 years. My depression was getting worse. I had just quit a job I despised. I was full of shame from years of being told I wasn’t good enough or smart enough and that my dreams didn’t matter.
I needed to catch my breath, to write. I needed to do it someplace I felt safe. I grabbed my moleskin notebook, a pen and headed to the San Francisco International Airport(SFO).
I don’t remember if I’d had the intention to sleep there for the night or not. What I do remember is not wanting to go to a coffee shop or a restaurant. I felt so much emotional pain that I didn’t want to be around anyone I knew. I wanted to be able to just cry my eyes out if needed. I needed to be with my thoughts and my own time. I didn’t want to be somewhere that closed.
Growing up I felt like an outlier. I was surrounded by academics but hated to learn. I was the happy-go-lucky kid that everyone ignored because no one understood me as I would spend every moment daydreaming about sailing around the world & diving with Jacque Cousteau. I grew up feeling invisible in a family of six.
Travel is what saved me..... as a kid I thought it was magical.
When we traveled it was the only time I didn’t feel invisible. I would get so excited. Travel to me meant new adventures. Boats, planes, or cars I loved every single part of traveling.
We started traveling when I was just 5 months old and by the time I was 18, I’d lived and traveled to over 13 countries.
The thing I always loved about travel is the human connection. I loved meeting people different than me, learning their culture, their foods, and their language. I was starving for human connection and travel-filled my soul. I could sit with people for hours as I loved hearing their stories.
Going to the airport that February day seemed like such a natural place for me to go, as airports had always felt like a second home. International Terminals are melting pots, bringing back all my fond memories of growing up all over the world.
When I arrived I found a great place to sit and write. I would take breaks to people watch or to walk around. I felt grounded. I could breathe.
Airports are an easy place for someone who is used to feeling invisible. It’s easy to blend in. I don’t have to feel like an outsider. I can sit with my own thoughts or I can strike up a conversation and make a new friend. I can dream of new adventures and my untapped potential.
When I got tired that evening I found some benches in the international terminal. Having traveled for so many years with canceled and delayed flights, and early departures, it seemed perfectly normal to just lay down and get some sleep.
I woke the next morning feeling rested and with a much clearer head. While I hadn’t solved any of my immediate problems, I could breathe, which meant I was in a better place for working on healthy solutions. After grabbing some breakfast and a few more hours of writing I headed back home.
I’d found a place where someone like me, an introverted extrovert, could recharge and not worry about being invisible. I could just be me.
Each of us is wired so differently and what works for one person might seem a little crazy to someone else. I’m more than ok with that, as I know that’s what makes each of us so special. I also know that every single one of us has untapped greatness within, and we need to figure out what works best for us.
Little did I know how much spending that one night at SFO would impact my life down the road.
NOTE: Click HERE to read my original Instagram post.