They get in your space. They smell. They have had one too many coffees; and I respect the hell out of them.
Recently, I have joined their ranks.
When you are traveling on a budget, you have got to do what you’ve got to do. More often than not, this includes spending a night or two in an airport as apposed to getting a nice soft bed at an airport hotel. Seeing as the broke traveling crowd usually are an interesting bunch, people watching is a top notch activity. You can see seasoned travelers snoozing on the floor, in a perfect slumber curled up in sleeping bags. You see confused young travelers that are only there because they missed their first flight and decide it is best to just stay at the airport to avoid missing catching the next one. You see the girl with the stuffed backpack as a carry on, viciously playing a Nintendo 3DS to pass the time… oh wait, that’s me. As most people reading this probably know, I am currently living in Aarhus, Denmark. Although it is the second biggest city in the country, the airport here has limited flights and therefore I had to go to Copenhagen to catch my 10 o’clock flight (with Easy Jet, so gates close 30 mins before the flight takes off). I left my residence at 3 on the Wednesday, walked 30 minutes to the train station which is connected to a shopping center (who has money for cabs anyways?). I wanted to get the latest train possible, so I was able to kill some time at the mall wandering about. I ended up on a 6:30pm train, as I was getting bored of walking around stores and knocking things over with the over-sized pack (How do those Ninja turtles maneuver with such poise with those gigantic shells on their backs?!), and quite looked forward to the 3 hour ride which would allow me time to watch a movie or two. The train goes right to the airport, which was a blessing. I arrived around 9:45ish, and my night at the airport had begun (however much of a buildup I am giving this post, I assure you it in no way resembles night at the museum). There were a few stores still open, mainly convenience stores, so I browsed them a bit. Eventually I plunked down in an area next to a 7/11 at which I purchased a Summersby cider (becoming a favorite of mine while living in Denmark) and a bag of mixed nuts. The night was rather uneventful, and my mind was mainly occupied with figuring out if the man who said “Bon Voyage” to me was actually French, or just using the popular line. I had attempted to sleep once or twice, but I am far too restless. I was impatiently anticipating a time that would be appropriate for me to go through security. I finally did around 6 o’clock, as that is when Joe And the Juice was opening and I was desperate for something in my stomach. After wandering the shops that were slowly beginning to open, I had a seat at a big coushy round thing that was planted in front of the screen displaying the gates in which planes are flying in to. I ended up somehow laying down and drifting off. Apparently, some people find this behavior unladylike or something, as when I came two just 20 minutes later, I was greeted with stares of disapproval of well dressed strangers. Finding their disapproving glances to be quite comical, I stretched, got up and made my way to the nearby bathroom. Ah, the bathroom. This is where the fun begins. As one can imagine, I was a bit tired and not in my most alert state of mind. I have a terrible habit of leaving phones in bathrooms. After I had brushed my teeth and was ready to wander around some more, I headed out to take another hopeful glace to see if the gate for my plane was up yet; no luck so I decided to check my phone and see who I could bother at this hour of the day. My phone. Check, my … phone? In my pocket, of course.
Yes.. no? Oh right, my sweater pocket then! Noo.. no. Purse, obviously, right? Nope. Starting to get desperate here.. backpack. Must have gotten to the bottom of my backpack. But.. no. I had thoroughly searched every possible place on my person that my phone could be. It. Is. Not. Here. I refuse to have another phone lost to an airport. I am getting close to funding the black market on the lost and found cells misplaced by tired travelers. So off I go in a fury of rage to find this damned worthless piece of shit Nokia Android phone. After revisiting Joes, and all the other places I could have possibly been, and some I hadn’t, no. phone. I sat down in a fog thinking of why I even bother with phones, and gave myself some bull shit pep talk about how modern technology is just a burden anyways and I really don’t need it (says the girl with the touch screen laptop.. shut up Amy). Knowing my record of leaving phones in bathrooms, I return one more time to give the place a once over. With no avail, I hopelessly head back to sink into the coushy round thing and watch the flights. On my way I was chased down by a highly enthusiastic, stereotypical dramatic Italian woman. She spoke little to no English, but was yelling phoneeee!! at me. After haphazardly explaining that she had noticed the phone after going into the bathroom after me, she had looked for a girl in a striped dress and hair in a bun, and that she had tried calling people on the phone to notify that it was lost. A lovely gesture as it was, she just called random people on my Facebook (so sorry to anyone who might have received any mysterious calls from a very concerned Italian) and she used up the 20 dollar card that was on my phone that I had just purchased making these international calls. However, she was just the sweetest, and our communication was essentially chopped down to an extensive game of charades. I said thank you once again, and we went our separate ways. My flight gate was not announced until maybe 15 minutes before the gate was supposedly closing, and it was at least a ten minute walk away, even by my fast walking standards. However when I got there, I found that easy jet is rather slow with the process of getting people on to the flight and such, so I had plenty of time. Being a low cost airline they can take these liberties I suppose. I met up again with my my Italian phone saving friend, it turns out she also was headed to Milan on the same flight as me. We used our hand gestures and broken understandings of each other’s languages to make do and pass time in the lineup. She was a lovely lady, shout out to you where ever you are. Point of the matter being, a little kindness and effort can go a long way, and has the ability to completely change the outcomes for someone else. I would have been kicking myself the whole trip for losing yet again another phone to an airport if it hadn’t been for the kindness and concern of a complete stranger. You never know who you are going to come across and who will have an impact on you, especially being a traveler, so be nice and helpful whenever you get the chance.
When I was staying the night at the airport in Milan on my way back to Denmark, I had hours of conversation with a woman who spoke no English, yet I know she is a manager at a fast food restaurant, she has a son and was going to Casablanca. She wanted to see the snow in Canada. I was thirsty and the only vending machine wasn’t working, so she gave me her bottle of water, offering also to split her boiled eggs, of which I had to politely decline.
Here I am, once again spending another night in Copenhagen airport, saving a buck or two on a hotel, heading to Norway early in the morning. I had a lovely chat with the people at Starbucks who are always a ridiculous amount of friendly for how busy they are, especially in comparison to the general disposition of Starbucks workers. Making my complicated order perfectly without complaint, and an amusing misspelling of my name as “Emmy”, it was an overall pleasant experience, setting an immediate pleasant tone for the remainder of my evening.
I suppose, the purpose of this post is simply to applaud the generosity of complete strangers that I have experienced throughout my travels. I am not oblivious to the fact that there are copious reasons that call for caution in unfamiliar situations, however I would be hard pressed to say that there is no reasons left to have faith in human nature. If the dreary state of the the perception of the world shown popularly on the news has got you down, may I recommend that you spend a night or two sleeping in air ports as well.
A special thank-you to anyone who I have come across to make countless hours in airports, in stations, or on planes/trains enjoyable or at the least bearable (including the people that take the time out of their busy schedules to talk to me on Facebook so I do not start talking to the walls), you are all lovely people and are all so essential to everything I do, near or far!
Love to you all across the globe,
-Amy Tattrie xo