I had to kill 6 hours of my time.
Stuck at a particular terminal of the JFK airport at New York with nothing much to do, my mind wandered. As I thought about the past few days, I found myself calling out aloud – I’ve literally lived out of a suitcase the whole of September!
Tired and jet lagged, my colleague who was napping while sitting next to me, just opened her eyes, smiled, leaned back a little more, closed her eyes and went back to sleep. Arghh! How can people sleep so easily! I need a bed and just can’t fall asleep so randomly however tired I may be.
With no sleep, my mind took off and I found myself mulling over the same thought, drifting towards all the time I spent in airports and layovers this month. A quick calculation and it’s about 70 hours in all. That’s nearly 3 days!
- 50 hrs on airplane
- 20 hrs in airport on transit
And, that’s leaving out all the ground travel that I did in taxis and cars.
I had left home on September 2nd and took a flight to Srinagar via Delhi. After spending 8 days amidst the fascinating oligotrophic alpine lakes in the higher reaches of Kashmir Himalayas, I flew to Guwahati, once again via Delhi. Each time I spent 2 hours in layover at Delhi airport.
From Guwahati, I proceeded towards my hometown, Shillong, which was a 2.5 hour taxi ride. After spending a little more than a week at Shillong, I was on my way back to Guwahati. This time, I stayed back at Guwahati for a day to meet relatives and friends. Then, I took a flight to Bangalore.
After being at home for 2 days, I once again found myself at the airport. This time it was an official trip and I was on my way to Raleigh in North Carolina, via Dubai and New York. After spending a week in Raleigh, I was on my way back to Bangalore through the same route.
I got back home this morning, the last day of September, 2018.
Phew! That does seem like a lot.
Not that I am complaining. However, as much as I love traveling, sitting in an airplane for hours is not something I quite enjoy. This is especially true for domestic flights where there is nothing much to do. International flights are slightly better with all the change of scenes happening all around – food being served, people walking around, the movie screen playing and everyone watching different things, etc.
Sitting at the terminal, I thought about the evil reputation of layovers – endless waits staring at the clock.
However, that’s not true for me. Layovers don’t bore me at all, though that largely depends on the terminal I am confined to. If it’s a busy terminal, time just slips by with the buzz all around – people shopping, eating, rushing, walking, and so on. The energy of the place gets me through the long hours and I can spend a lot of time simply watching people. For example, Changi Airport at Singapore, where there’s so much to do and see.
Now, this reminds me of the 10 hour layover that I had at Atlanta once, when time was literally crawling and I could do nothing to engage myself. Books, food, wifi, people everything failed! Absolutely no fun that was!
How do you view layovers? What do you do?
[Note: A very jet lagged post.]