Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Put a Smile On Your Face & Hug Someone

Most of the airports I find myself in, there isn't anyone there to meet me besides a shuttle, rental car or a solo drive home. If you or I are lucky, though, this isn't always the case. Sometimes there's a face there waiting to greet you beyond the arrivals gate.

I've seen so many of these faces lately. Some are wreathed in smiles, others anxiously pace, some cradle bouquets of flowers; and then there are the others who simply stand patiently at the gate--expectant, waiting and with the knowing look of someone who has something to look forward to.

I don't know about you, but it's these simple moments of greeting and reunion that define the spirit of travel.

It never fails to make me smile upon seeing the variety of expressions and stances at each arrival gate. There are those who run to embrace each other, those who stand and stare, locked within each other's stares and even those who hug like it may be their last.

How could a mundane thing like a greeting hold such impact? Or is it really mundane at all? I think too often, we take for granted what those greetings mean and how quickly they could be taken away. Who is to say what the future holds after all? No matter where you may be traveling, there is something special about stepping off that elevator, escalator or tram and seeing a familiar face awaiting you. That first embrace brings feelings to the surface that are as varied as people themselves. It's as if all the missing pieces you hadn't realized were missing, suddenly click into place. Perhaps it's not a greeting you expected, perhaps it's more than you expected--either way, there is something there to be appreciated.

Just like when you travel to a new destination, or perhaps even a familiar one, seeing that face or feeling an embrace can evoke the same feelings that are inherent to travel: expectation, excitement, awareness, untamed curiosity. Who is that person or group of people? What do they mean to you? Is it like coming home or heading somewhere new? For every person, there is a different story. And just like every story, there are different moments that we memorize.

I came across the video below while I was thinking about this post. It's far from perfectly edited or filmed, but I think that's what makes it so perfect.  The people are real, as are the moments of reunion and goodbyes. The next time you find yourself in an airport, take a moment to really look around you. These are the faces you will see. And no matter if you're on your own, there will come a time when there WILL be a face awaiting your arrival. How you choose to embrace it is up to you :)