Make the Airport Work for You

by Emily Jasper on March 25, 2010

With the potential of spring finally landing, I’m ready for a get away. I’m very excited to plan out trips and think about moving and shaking, but I’m not always excited about the actual travel part. I’ve been delayed in the airport quite a bit. Especially coming back and forth from Minnesota, you stare and the giant screens and see big red DELAYED signs. And that’s summer and winter. Instead of getting all aggravated and angry, I see it as an opportunity. I head over to the nearest terminal map and look for a restaurant or bar where I won’t mind hunkering down for a bit.

And then I write.

See, the beauty of writing is that really all you need is power. And if you’re a paper and pen kinda gal, then that’s really all you need. You don’t even need the laptop. Well, I pull up a chair, find a spot where I’m not going to bother anyone, order a snack, and make the situation work for me.

I don’t end up being crabby.

See, I hate flying. When I was 11, I had blisters against my eardrum in my left ear. We found out about them from the doctor a couple days before flying to Japan. Yes, Japan. And so, because we couldn’t exactly ship me via cruise across the Pacific, I got on the plane with what medication I could take. The pressure burst my blisters, and I’ve since lost a good amount of my hearing in my left ear. Like any other ear problem, flying messes with my balance. If I have too many connecting flights, the equilibrium in my inner ear is thrown off.

I’m also what you consider an “experienced traveler.” Thank goodness at MSP we have a line for us who know all the security rules. Let me tell you, jumping to the front on the 23rd of December was kind of awesome. I HATE being behind people who have never paid attention to the rules, who have multiple quart-sized baggies of liquids, still don’t understand why we take off our shoes, and so on.

So I need a chill pill. But I can’t actually take one because when I travel by myself, I’m paranoid I’m going to miss my flight. No medical relaxers for me.

That’s why writing is so important. Instead of sitting there, being angry that the weather gods have not aligned the planets to fit your travel plans, use the time to write. Be productive. You’ll probably have some really interesting things to say if you just document your people watching. Imagine what you’ll pump out if you have some real content to push. Plus writing doesn’t always require the internet. You can type from Word or even go the pen and notebook route.

Or read! Learn something! I almost never get to read magazines all the way through (and I mean ones with real words, not just celeb pictures). When I sit in a terminal hoping they’ll board my flight soon, I’m all about the cover-to-cover action. I love it. Plus, it’s a conversation starter. Take a look around, see what other people are reading. I’ve swapped out magazines in airport restaurants with other fliers before. It’s nice because you can save a few bucks and still get great info. Plus, you might have made a new friend!

So what do you do to make the time pass? Make the airport work for you? Become your best traveler self?

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