In Transit, Transitory

Grey fluorescence and thin carpet, pacing and staring, the crackle of walkie talkies—the sanitized restlessness of waiting.

I don’t mind airports, waiting in airports. I almost look forward to it, to the ritual of it—buy a trashy magazine, a bottle of water, go to the bathroom, watch the faces, cross and uncross my legs: a small moment of imposed stillness amid the go! go! go! of traveling.

I like traveling. And not just the Getting To, Arriving In, the Being There.  I enjoy the process of traveling, the physicality of moving from one place to another, the inbetweenness, the great equalizing of bodies in motion.

I used to dream in trains. I say “in,” the way some people dream in color or in black-and-white or in impossible tangles of Freudian metaphor. I’d always be moving, always in route—changing carriages, transfering trains, walking down long dimly lit corridors, riding escalators deeper and deeper into the earth, underground, to grey platforms where something would howl and headlights would gleam like little pairs of eyes.

In these dreams, I’d never be still, never sitting. The stations and trains were always crowded; I’d never be alone. And I’d never, never arrive. I wouldn’t even know where I was going, what my destination was. I’d just be moving—in transit, transitory.

I’m not sure when the dreams stopped, maybe a few years ago. I still get them, from time to time, and it’ll be like an old familiar place—a dingy station somewhere in my mind.

I’m en route again, in my real life, my waking life (which may or may not be my real life, depending on how you look at it). I’m at the beginning of a journey, bags checked and tickets printed, legs crossed and waiting.

This isn’t the “wow” moment—there’s no story here, no picture to take or pearl of wisdom to unearth. Just the waiting, the stillness, the reflections on the glass.

3 Responses to “In Transit, Transitory”

  1. 1 Reannon September 19, 2010 at 4:39 am

    I can relate to this. When I lived in Tokyo, I’d often get such an intense urge to travel somewhere, ANYWHERE, that I’d ride the subway in circles (there was this one subway line that looped around the city in a continuous loop…kinda like the S train in New York). I liked the fact that I never had a destination…somehow the simple act of continuous movement was enough.

    The magic of air travel, on the other hand, is now completely lost on me. I used to love flying! It was exciting…but after working for an airline I now go to the airport and feel like I’m at work. It’s ruined it for me. Never get a job with an airline!

  2. 2 mickey September 20, 2010 at 9:32 am

    great writing and insight, as we have come to expect, I always look forward to how you will lay down the inner workings of your mind and eye – Have a great trip.

  3. 3 Candice September 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I get this, oh man. Have I told you how much I love your writing yet?

Comments are currently closed.

Lauren Quinn is a writer and traveler currently living in Hanoi. Lonely Girl Travels was a blog of her sola travels and expat living from 2009 to 2012. She resides elsewhere on the internet now.

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