So Kiss Me & Smile For Me

I love airports! I love the hustle, the agonised goodbyes, joyful hellos and the tangible anticipation of a holiday not yet taken. In airport terminals things seem to happen in fast forward.

Usually once “I’ve shopped til’ I’ve dropped” in the duty-free outlets or until my credit cards are exhausted; I sit back with the obligatory refreshments watching the world go by. Even as a small child, people watching, has always been one of my most favourite occupations. In much the same way that one of my friends enjoys watching Kung Fu movies with her partner and re-enacting the fight scenes with him afterwards in a lot slower motion. Although, she did mention that it nearly always ends with a pulled ligament or broken ornament. So my hobby is positively pedestrian in comparison and a whole lot safer too!

I am fascinated by the rowdy fancy-dressed hen and stag parties, the world-weary business traveller and the naïve young explorers off to discover new places. Each in their own way has a story to tell and for a short while, we fellow travellers become their audience.

As I sit there invisible to all the cast, I wonder whether there’s someone waiting for the sole traveller and whether a happy homecoming lies ahead of them. Will the excited family have the happy holiday that they saved hard for all year and is it likely that the harried businessman will make that all important corporate meeting which made him miss his child’s birthday? Alternatively, the loving husband who keeps checking his watch and counting the hours until he is reunited with his wife along with the young backpacker eagerly returning to her family after a year’s sojourn across Europe.

Being in an airport reminds me that life is a constant circle of “hellos” and “goodbyes”. Whatever our circumstances or wherever we come from, our time on earth is enriched by life’s arrivals and departures however heart-breaking they may be. As my Grandma used to say to me when I was a small child and I had to leave her to return home, “If you don’t go away, how can I miss you?”

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all people cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try to understand each other, we may even become friends.
Maya Angelou

airport

95 thoughts on “So Kiss Me & Smile For Me

  1. People watching in airports is a favorite past time. Often, the people who decide to strike up a conversation on a plane can be quite a trip, too. 🙂 Hmmm….I think you may have just inspired my next blog post. Thanks!

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  2. Great photo – I feel excited just looking at it and I’m not going anywhere… and brilliant evocative title, such a sweet sad song… but most of all such a good post!

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  3. I too love the emotion laden environments of airports! Watching the crisscrossing of so many lives makes me realise how overwhelmingly big the world is! Haven’t listened to John Denver in a while….that used to be my favourite song 🙂

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  4. I love your grandmother’s question! I wish I could remember anything my grandmothers had to say. I remember feeling this way in train stations and airports also. Thanks for the reminder. We get pretty jaded and a good reminder is good. – Kaye

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  5. gosh you are a romantic you!! I hate airports… just a way to get me from A to B, just a way of passing through in the quickest possible way, I wish I could avoid them, but they are a necessary evil to getting to my destination. And I hate being surrounded by all those people… wish I could go through the VIP route… 😉

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  6. You would get on well with my Mum – no matter what time of day or night, if one of us is arriving or departing, she will be there. She loves airports, too.

    Me, I’m off to the airport to collect LM. Maybe I kinda’ feel the same way…

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  7. I always find folks who have traveled far more interesting than the bumpkins who have never budged from the one place they’ve always been. (for the most part)

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  8. What a positive attitude to airports! I love them mostly because of the promises they hold – new countries, new people, family. And sometimes, as happened last week, you meet someone, after more than 12 hours travelling with a flight connection and substantial layover, who was in your departure airport and is now in front of you at immigration. It’s a small world.

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  9. Great post… Whenever I’m at an airport (or big train terminus), I love the feeling of all the possibilities of the places I could go, and yes, people watching – everyone seems to wear their feelings more openly, whatever they are – anticpation, dread [of flying], sadness, happiness… and there’s the shopping. I’m also intrigued by the non-reality – not quite here, not quite there – of airports, like you’ve stepped into another time/space zone. I hope you soon have a reason to be flying away again 🙂

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  10. People watching is one of my favourite pastimes and a very entertaining way to pass time waiting for a plane. Although i recently got a little too carried away in Hong Kong and almost missed my connecting flight!!! Ahem, rookie error indeed.

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  11. Great way to pass the time and you never run out of characters, even better when you get into conversation with a stranger and then find out they are totally different to what your scenario was making of them,

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  12. As my good blogging friend Jennifer would say from “your lips to God’s ears” – that would just be amazing and I might possibly then get to give up the shelf stacking – thanks for all your kind comments from way back to when I started and a big kiss of Odie x

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  13. Reading all the replies here I feel like the odd one out. I hate airports with all the hurry up and wait, the flight delays, the lack of information. I don’t people watch at airports, I just sort of retreat into myself, find a relatively quiet spot and read to pass the time. I don’t trawl the duty free, can’t be bothered shopping while carting hand luggage around as well. Gosh don’t I sound like a miserable old woman 😉

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  14. I have my favorite airports, some are great for shopping others great for people watching. I am a million miler on two airlines, being that business traveler you mentioned. I have long since stopped loving travel (the airplane part) but still love very often the destination. I still people watch in airports, don’t often shop except at Heathrow I always stop at one shop and buy a new charm for a bracelet (it is a fetish).

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  15. I enjoy the people-watching in airports, tourist towns, and shopping malls. And travel does remind us what things we take for granted. When it comes right down to it, we have more in common than not.

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  16. When I was a child, we would always dress up in our finest clothes to go to airports. In fact, it was a Sunday outing just to go to the airport. We didn’t go anywhere but it was if we had – and that made all of the difference to me. I knew there was a world to see and stories to hear, and music to sing. Your post reminded me of those wonderful times when I knew, deep inside, that life was going to a fabulous adventure….

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  17. I love airports too, as long as I’m not trying to sleep in one! The stories you can see there, if you are looking for them, are more densely packed than almost anywhere else–like the fruits and nuts in a fruitcake. I hope you haven’t seen the movie, “Love, Actually,” which opens and closes in an airport. I really enjoyed that movie, and hope you get to see it soon, too.

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    • Do you know I haven’t seen that film but I think my sister has the DVD somewhere so I may just dig it out for a rainy afternoon. You’ve just reminded me though how uncomfortable those seats are when you’re trying to grab forty winks!

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  18. Loved this post, and your grandmother’s quote is so sweet. I grew up near an airport. We were right on the flight path for the main runway. The planes were low when they went over our house, and everything rattled. I loved that part. Even better was the outdoor observation deck. We could go to the airport whenever we wanted and watch the planes come in. We’d always go inside for something to drink and watch people for a while. I love airports, but now that I am older I always seem to be crying in them, whether I’m greeting a missed love one, or saying goodbye.

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  19. People watching at airports nearly always has me teary-eyed (big softy, me) all those happy reunions and sad goodbyes – one Indian family at Delhi airport I’ll never forget; they were in bits as they said goodbye to their eldest daughter…

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  20. I worked in an airport for one summer, it was a student job. And as much as I disliked the boss and the constant rush, I loved the observing-people part. There was so much hugging, kissing, crying, waving, smiling…so much emotion! I loved it. 🙂

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  21. Oh no not the itchy feet syndrome! I also suffer with CTS – caged tiger syndrome! Have a serious case of it at the moment and want to head for Baja Mexico. But the bank balance … sigh.

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  22. Dallas, good morning. Just woken up – found this post. Told Jo I don’t need to buy books at airports anymore, will just read one of D’s pages. Best read!!! Sending you a cup of sunshine from here. Go on dreaming and counting. Ciao, Carina

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  23. don’t mind me, just poking around your blog 🙂 and found this. do you mind if I steal that quote? i love it! I love people watching too.

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