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Its not the destination, it’s the journey that counts.

Not my words, but the words of countless wise persons through the ages (sort of).  This never seems more true than when I visit airports. I can’t help feel I’ve misunderstood this sage advice though, but there we are.

[Warning: this post is almost entirely senseless musings. An ‘electronical mindfart’ if you will.]

I like airports. There’s something exciting and full of possibility about them.  Everyone is going somewhere. So many different types of persons. Old, young, business, single, family, couples, UK people, European, People from further afield. We all co-exist and stop off for a universally accepted cafe latte or cappuccino*. Isn’t that amazing.  If all the world was a corporate retail wonderland, there’d never be wars.

I know WHY I like them too. Growing up, my family were well traveled- with regular holidays in the UK and in France. We’d travel most of that by car, heading to a holiday home in France or the UK. Always self catering. Mum would always wake up at some unknown hour (before the family at any rate) to make a mountain of sandwiches, gather some apples, tomatoes a few hunks of her delicious and wholesome cakes.

Dad would always (and still does) do all the driving. Even if it was 8 hours straight. Hardcore. Us kids felt hardcore too. Especially as often times we’d be listening to the maddening noise of the cricket on short wave radio (kids: Google it). FOR HOURS and HOURS. Dad has a great trick of keeping us well behaved too, apart from shouting and those eyes that is which was to recite steam train numbers and names. His specialty was ‘Castles’. He’d say (For Example): “4073 Caerphilly Castle” and keep going with as many as he could recall.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_GWR_4073_Class_locomotives)

Taking trains involved a rural station in Wales, ending up in a station somewhere else (obvious if you understand the concept of travel). Apart from maybe Euston (a bit) the destination stations were not something to look forwards to.

Airports therefore represent something different. Something new, A mode of travel to exciting places. It represents me doing things as a young person and young adult, like a year in Germany, or holidays whilst at Uni or visiting friends in Europe. Exciting things. I can’t shake that feeling. Even now, I’m sat awaiting a UK flight for business purposes and I’m enjoying being here. It’s Gatwick, but its still exciting. Could be worse: could be Luton.

I’ve flown a fair bit though in the last 15 years, and It’s taken the edge off.  What will the next generation get excited about?  Probably not trains or cars, and probably not airports and flying either.  Something that represents their upward mobility and changing aspirations. Maybe spaceports to the moon.

* on the subject of old folks drinking ‘modern’ drinks like Cappuccinos and Cafe Late’s – those of us interested in how people break habits and take up new things should look and learn. I admit its been 20 years now since they became commonplace, but it is astounding to see a man who in all other respects looks like the antithesis of the cosmopolitan Italianate ordering then supping a frothy coffee.  Sitting there in ill-fitting sports wear, unkempt and looking vaguely angry with the world as he asks for “2 espressos and a pain au chocolate”: gets me every time.

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