Shuttling Through September

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.]

 

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

23 thoughts on “Shuttling Through September”

  1. I’ve done my fair share of traveling, as a kid and adult, and still continue to do so. (Perhaps the hours have reduced though, and are not on par with your amount of traveling!) I always enjoyed the layovers at Changi – it’s hands down one of the best airports, in my humble and biased opinion. 🙂 I don’t enjoy layovers at airports that are just busy but stripped of any notion of human-ness (meaning it’s all concrete and rushing people and not a whole lot more) but as long as I have my phone and book with me, I’m pretty much set, wherever I am. I also agree with you – international flights are longer but provide way more comfort and entertainment than domestic flights!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Sindhuja, first of all thanks for reading and leaving behind your thoughts. I understand what you mean when you say stripped off the human-ness. And, indeed Changi is a good place to be during layovers. Though at one time I had arrived in the wee hours of 2.30 / 3.00 AM and was dead tired and the airport wore a barren look. There weren’t a lot of people around and I remember spending those couple of hours till the next flight was tough.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I should have done that but this was a few years earlier when I used to travel very differently and so didn’t occur to me 😀
      Subsequently, i did visit Atlanta again when I went to the aquarium as well as the world of coca cola.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In general I like it to wait on airports (done everywhere in the world on business trips in the past). Watching the diverse people going here and there normally not boring. However in summer 2014 we had to wait 54 hours on Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, when coming back from vacation at Wales. We finally took the train due to complete chaos there. Now whenever possible only direct flights!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 54 hours!! Oh Lord! It’s 2.5 days. That’s beyond all imagination. Must have driven you crazy. The direct flights now is totally understandable.
      I can’t imagine how you might have spent all the hours there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just waiting in queues and later in a lobby with questions and stupid answers by the airline KLM. At least two night-stays in nearby hotels arranged by the airline and the trainticket back home of course. Demanded for compensation as per European laws and after receipt bought an
        Inuit artwork for it via WWW at Toronto Inuit Museum, this stonecut reminds me to it as a positive result. Modern times live!

        Like

  3. I love travelling but certainly, layovers are not my cup of tea! A few years ago, I was okay with layovers but now it’s a different thing. I find it hard to read a book or surf the internet, all that’s left for me to do is watch people. Now that’s not interesting at domestic airports. It is a different thing when you are in an international airport.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Layovers in domestic flights are terribly painful. I feel the same way and try to avoid as much as I can. Two years back I had a layover of 5 hours at Delhi and I was completely drained. However, a couple of times I purposely selected flights with layovers of 24 hours or more as they were easy on the pocket and gave me some time to catch up with friends/relatives staying there.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Layovers can sure be boring (depending on the airport, of course) but I think, if it’s for the purpose of not taking a chance about missing the next flight or saving substantially on plane fare, layovers can be tolerated (as per my experiences). But then also, they should be avoided unless for a place like Hong Kong, where, as far as I know, you are allowed a short visit of the city.

    Liked by 1 person

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