It’s been almost two years since I’ve been on an international flight. I took three flights to get to Bhutan. The feeling was surreal to travel again finally. For many of us, we feel wanderlust after being cooped up in our homes.
“Wanderlust” is lust (or “desire”) for wandering. The word comes from German, in which wandern means “to wander,” and lust means “desire.”
From checking in to walking through immigration, I remembered the freedom we all had to move so freely from continent to continent and to wander public places like parks, museums, stadiums, and such.
To finally hold a boarding pass in my hands was a moment that made me think: this is a new reality. There will be fear, anxiety, and so many uneasy emotions. Despite that, here are three thoughts that comforted me.
- Never take your freedom for granted.
Freedom has many forms. It’s up to you to make that decision to want to be free. Freedom can mean being able to travel again. Freedom can mean being able to choose what you eat. Freedom can be in your finances. One thing is for sure, be grateful for the space you have. Fight for freedom when it’s necessary. Once you experience it, try not to act entitled.
- Genuine kindness or (rudeness) can come out in new environments.
New situations can show you the best or worst out of people. Choose the “best” at all times. Remove the substances that make you worse: for example, excessive alcohol. There are so many dots in the airport and even in the evening sky. The dots remind me that we are all connected and flowing along with each other. Rudeness is a lack of patience and awareness. Be kind.
- Conversations are just as essential as breathing.
I’ve missed meeting strangers, having conversations randomly without the need to distance myself socially. As we need oxygen to live, we need conversations to think and work our brains. I hope one day it will be safe to converse again.
Arriving at Bhutan’s Paro International Airport, the relief is like no other. Sure, it has a label of one of the “world’s most dangerous airports.” But seeing the clouds make way for the greenest mountains you’ll see, there is no place safer to be. No moment will be as pure.
These are a series of reflective essays for the next three months while I’m in Bhutan. What was your first airport experience like?