Why I Travel: Because I Love Places of Transit

From Photo Class

Airports. Train stations. Subway systems. Ferry ports. These places fascinate me. I love the comings-and-goings, the people-watching, the hubbub of movement as travelers board, disembark and hurry on their ways. This weekend my sister and I went to see Up in the Air. Some of my favorite scenes were in the various airports. I liked trying to identify the different terminals I'd been through.

From Sydney

Next time you're in an airport or train station, take a moment to observe how such hubs of transport portray themselves to the people passing through. From the architecture to the tchotchkes for sale in the knick-knack shops, I believe you can learn a lot about what locals value and want to share with visitors. The train station in Cambridge, England is positively swamped with bicycles outside. The subway system in Prague is like a city-wide art exhibit. And at 8am every day at the central train station in Bangkok, they play the national anthem while everyone in the station faces a giant portrait of the King and all hustle and bustle halts.

I just love soaking this stuff up.

From Cambridge

From Czech Republic

From Bangkok

It's best when there's a little humor involved:

From London 2007

Between my work and personal travel, I spend a lot of time in airports, so it's a good thing I enjoy them. And it's a good thing I don't get flustered by all the frenetic activity at such places, as most of my travel mishaps have happened at airports or train stations:

2003: got separated from my friends on a train in Italy, ended up in Milan instead of Venice
2007: detained in Heathrow for describing my job as "unemployed" (stupid, stupid. I should have at least said "freelance designer")
2009: purchased a non-existent LAN flight from Lima to Cusco and thus had my hopes to see Machu Picchu dashed, but got to spend a lot of extra time in the Lima airport
2009: forgot to register for an electronic visa to Australia until I checked in for my flight

I tend to collect "oops" moments in such places. At least I can get some good people-watching in while addressing the issue.

Which is it? Exit? Or No Exit? From Sydney