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I’m not talking about them in the title of this post, but I really love airports.
Normally when I say that out loud, people think I’m kind of crazy. And I totally get why. There are more than a handful of things to not love about airports: long check-in lines, expensive bottled warer and having to empty your most personal possessions into a sad plastic tray among them.
But I still really love airports.
And it’s not just another thing I kind of enjoy but could give or take – I really freaking love them. If I could choose to skip the airport and hop straight on the plane, I wouldn’t. Arriving at the airport gives me all the feels in the same way that venturing out of the house before the sunrises does. You know, when there’s barely anyone else around and it feels you’re doing something a little bit sneaky and exciting, and it just feels kind of magical. A magical little moment all to yourself.
Even when things go wrong and most of my time at the airport is spent stressing over oversized bags or long security queues, I still get such a buzz from being there.
A lot of that buzziness comes the infinite people watching opportunities. Is there anywhere better for people watching? Nobody’s doing anything particularly interesting at an airport – most of the time they’re just sitting or standing around, waiting for their flight to pass through the next step of the process. But everyone’s there for a reason. And I find myself constantly wondering what that reason might be.
Are they off on a holiday they’ve spent years saving for? Is it their first time flying, their bodies flooded with adrenaline from both fear and excitement? Do they make this journey every week? Every month? How far are they travelling? How well do they know their destination? Is someone waiting for them when they land? Are they going onwards from there or is that the final stop?
When you’re in a departures lounge, everyone is on a journey. Nobody flies for no reason.
As much as I love travelling to see a place and learn about its history, getting to know its people is what really fascinates me. The people and their stories. Yep, I pretty much geek out over everyday life. It’s how I became a linguist and it’s a large part of why I continue to travel so much.
I’m also 90% sure it’s why I love sitting on trains so much, seeing who gets on and who gets off, wondering where they might be.going. Wondering why they’re making that journey – especially if they’re making the same journey as me.
It’s a hobby that’s clearly shared by someone at the Heathrow Express, because the photography exhibition they put together to celebrate 1 million passengers is all about its passengers’ stories. The Heathrow Express hired photographer Dave Burt, who owns and runs the @London Instagram account, to photograph the staff and passengers and share their stories with the world. And I have 3 thoughts on the whole thing:
First of all, how cool would it be to run the @London Instagram account? It’s the kind of thing you wish you thought of all those years ago. Well done, Dave.
Now that’s out of the way, I should mention that Dave has a pretty cool photography account too.
Finally, I’m just so happy that someone else out there shares my love of people watching. That, even if they’re the only person in the entire world who does it too, they’re curious about their fellow passengers’ stories like me. Travel is so often about the destination, and sometimes about the journey too. But rarely is ever about other people’s journeys – and that’s what I really love the most.
Find out more about the HExhibition on the Heathrow Express website. Do you ever wonder where those around you are travelling to?
This post was created in collaboration with the Heathrow Express, but written entirely by me.