I like airports. I’m also a big fan of beer. Not a massive amount, but a quiet beer and purposeful thought.
I’m a huge fan of flying itself, but I’ve always found that the rituals and acts leading up to the departure gate enjoyable.
Much like train stations, airports are alive with the pulsation of people opening and closing a new chapter in their lives. The atmosphere in transit hubs is contagious.
I’ll usually arrive at an airport well before my flight, any excess time spent can be used for work. I’ll get the painful bit over with right away, usually clearing security quite early, then step into the departures utopia. Passport and boarding pass in my pocket, spare undies in my carryon, the final ingredient in the travel ritual is the airport beer.
Airport beers are arguably as important to the flying process as say, check in, baggage claim, or little U shaped pillows. The only time I ever feel guilty indulging in an airport beer is if my flight departs before 10am. Note for future travels: flights before 10am suck.
Airport beers are best enjoyed in silence, in a moment of self reflection. Find a seat with a view, put the phone away, lean back in your chair (careful that your chair has a backrest, bar stool sitta) and savour the moment. Whether it’s a trip home or to the end of the earth, your eminent departure is a crusade into the unknown. Who will you meet? How will the journey shape you? What challenges and frustrations await? The point of this meditation is not to question the journey, not to dwell on the destination, but to enjoy the last few moments you have now, before departure.
I’ve been mentioning my use of alcohol quite a lot lately. As someone who previously abused it often, I can appreciate those who view it as a non crucial piece of their life and chose to abstain. To me the Airport Beer is more of a reflective moment, and less of a necessity. In the flights following the original drafting of this entry I’ve found myself ruminating over Airport Coffee, and simple Airport Silence more often. I’d like to invite readers to fill the (oft-empty) comment section with their own airport rituals.