This final moment awaits since the anticipation of the purchased flights. The heart races past the 405 to Century Boulevard arriving at the crowded Tom Bradley International terminal in LAX. One bids their last farewells too easily, as the traveler is transfixed by a higher weight of an untold future.
Checking in past TSA and strolling passed Burberry, one will embark the beginning of the wanderlust adventure. After finding a seat at the Mexican Cantina or Wine Bar with a shabby host, one can sit nomadically with headphones for a drink.
Strangers who share the same flight conversate together over cocktails and initiate jubilant conversations of travel endeavors. Drinks will graciously be treated by someone with the exchange of business cards, since both parties are on the same high as one another.
Full of spontaneity, a call gets made to one of the favorite contacts in the iPhone. Boisterous laughs echo through the terminals with WhatsApp promises exchanged on the trip.
The waiting game gets tedious, especially those layover hours that range from four to six hours. Not enough time to stamp out for an hour on the town but lengthy enough to burn through all the playlist sets. Patience, a trait that is learned and acquired through these exorbitant times of waiting.
Browsing through the duty-free sections, inspire regal emotions by spritzing the YSL cologne on pressure points. Ironically this item is already owned at home and brings forth familiarity.
There is a chain coffee shop that looks recognizable. After ordering the drink, the price totaled at $56,000.00 in the foreign land. The first transaction is charged on the Visa card, but rest assured, the exchange rate will equate to under $5 US.
Taking a seat in a modern lounge-like chair with an armrest full of USB plug-ins. With the iPhone charging, a quick selfie is snapped, capturing the layover bliss before the odyssey begins in T-Minus another flight. The longer the wait, the more worthy the destination.
Prior to boarding, the flight attendants hand out custom forms for final destinations. Check: no, no, no, no to whatever they are asking. In scanning the pre-boarding area, it is observed that not everyone takes a custom form. Where are they going?
Storming off the plane and speed walking to customs, noticing the country’s welcome sign and their designated cultural artwork. A frequent visitor or for a first time arrival, no other feeling willever measure up.
Gazing at the different colored passports in line will influence the mystery of the rest of travelers. What countries have red covers? What do these people do for work?
Then the stamp or scan occurs as the homeland passport and it is waved through with a rush of elation flowing afterwards.
“Welcome,” smiles the customs officer.
The same airport that can skyrocket emotions of euphoria, bears the same capability to crush hearts and dreams. Time to go home.
Wandering through the airport this time with a bit of time, two to three hours to be exact, as opposed to the previous hustle past the passengers of the plane. Stepping into the gift shops with appreciation of the country’s uniqueness. The trinkets priced for tourists, but give subtle reminders of the people encountered and the bonds formed. Smiling aloud and caught by the check out staff holding a souvenir in a lost daze.
Rhetorically saying inside, “I will be back.”
Getting off the plane to the most comfortable place, can appear the most foreign. Those sad feelings remain, but transform into prideful wisdom. Entering the US lines like cattle, marching through, only to tell the short story lived abroad.
The journey may seem over, only temporarily because the brain is racing with many more airport encounters. We gravitate to these attained emotions that are plummeted so quickly in the array of places around the world, and that is why we travel.