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Travel Log: Day Nothing


The essentials: sun, saltwater, flyrod and refreshments... life can be good.

I always get this, right before I travel: this impending sense of loss, of isolation, of sadness—in a word, a deep funk I can’t seem to shake off. Instead of briskly packing and tying up a few loose ends I wander listlessly around the house, sipping endless cups of coffee, or check my email like 30 times, or, worse, throw a post up on my useless blog.

In less than 24 hours I’ll be squinting in the Caribbean glare, rum-drink firmly in hand, with silver-ghosts no more than a long cast seaward. There will be short hops on tiny planes, long beaches and the silence of wind and waves. And maybe, if I’m lucky, there will even be dark, sickle tails waving in the sun as my fly glides an intercept course for the spreading rings. So, how can I be dejected? Is there some guilt, some deep-seated belief that I don’t deserve this? Perhaps it’s just the angst brought on by travel in our post-modern age, the idea of being scrutinize, sanitized, certified, and homogenized before being herded into a metal tube and hurled through the atmosphere only to arrive blinking and confused in another world, almost another time. That, at it’s core, is simply an unnatural experience, and I relish it no more than a visit to the dentist.

It used to be I could relax a little more, take it all in, even enjoy the experience, but now I simply want to get it over with and arrive already. Maybe it’s the airports themselves. Let’s be frank: they suck. They are overcrowded, uncomfortable, and usually staffed by seriously miserable individuals. Add this to the fact that you can never spend just the right length of time in them and it’s easy to see why most sane people regard them with an almost psychological loathing.

Now, what I mean by “the right length of time” is somewhere between not too long and not too short. You know, just enough time to catch your connection without having to rush. No one wants to spend all day in airports, but having ten minutes to catch a flight at the other end of the complex is no fun either. Still, if you spend enough time in them, airports can grow on you. It’s not that they become any more comfortable or less crowded with herds of bovinian travelers (either wandering too slowly or knocking you aside as they stampede past). It’s not that at all. More likely they get to be a sort of adventure—one of the hardships that make your destination seem all the greener—and they must be factored in as such.

I mean, is the place you’re trying to get to so wonderful it’s worth standing in line, being jostle by crowds, harassed by security personnel, laid-over for hours, and just generally suffering. It makes one think. If your answer is yes, then the misery of airports can become a necessary part of The Trek that offers adventures found nowhere else.

For example, take a nap with your head propped on your duffle in the middle of Miami International and you might say to yourself, this may not exactly be roughing it in the wilderness, but it’s almost as dangerous, right? In the end it becomes something you can feel proud of—the seasoned traveler, worn jacket thrown over him, casually napping on his travel-scarred pack as everyone else bustles by. Not bad. But since you waited until the last minute to pack and only grabbed a half-hour of jittery shut-eye as a result, just don’t sleep through the boarding call.

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3 Comments
  • arcane
    Reply

    What do you think about playing music in airports to pass the time? I play guitar, banjo and mandolin (best travel instrument), and I can play softly. I always have an instrument with me on a trip. My fishing buddies expect it, and it helps to keep my hands from being around a bottle at night.

    When I have a long layover, I will usually head to the least populated area of the terminal, or outside if the weather is ok, take out whatever I have with me, and play. Usually it’s just me practicing some new tune, but if people start to move towards me and seem to be listening, I’ll cast out classical, Irish fiddle tunes, reggae, blues, etc, and watch the faces. It isn’t really an ego thing, but it could seem like that. I’m mostly trying to practice and to make travel less sucky, but not at the risk of making people hear what they don’t want to hear.

    Anyway, just wondering whether you are one of those guys that walks up and listens for a bit, or one of those that assesses the situation from afar and heads in the opposite direction.

  • Reply

    So now… where are you going?

    I don’t mind airports… I know that they are the gateways to wonderfulness… flats, bonefish, palm trees, Kalik or Beliken or whatever… goodness that you can get to in no other way.

    Always fun to spot brother-anglers… talk fishing, places. We are easy to spot.

    Good travels wherever you are headed.

  • sensitive soul
    Reply

    hope you have a great trip!
    jittery from lack of sleep is tolerable.. but hungover from a wicked night of drinking and still not quite sober is really no fun at all.. 😉
    tight lines et al..

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