Endless Story #1 Everything Starts From the Airport

Aug 6, 2021

Airport, terminal and train station will be the starting line before we travel. Maybe they are just stopover places and we don’t take photos of them. For example, KLIA Kuala Lumpur International Airport, I’ve been there many times as a stopover before continuing to other destination countries (I am Air Asia cheap flight hunter). There is no special feeling for this place other than as a stopover.

11 hours of transit in KLIA before continuing the flight to Amsterdam (2016)

I change my mind after watching Traveler episode 1. There is not much storyline in the first 10 minutes except Jun Yeol arrived at HAV Jose Marti Airport, Havana at midnight. He is alone because Jee Hoon will catch up on the fifth day. The first thing he do is put his backpack then go to the money changer. 

Traveler Episode 1 - Jun Yeol arrived at HAV Jose Marti Airport

I suddenly remember a moment I arrived at the airport in the foreign country. One year ago on my trip to India, I brought only cash Indonesian Rupiah and credit cards. I didn't bring Indian Rupee because I didn't make any plan before going. When I transited at KLIA, we went straight to the money changer to buy Indian Rupee. Unfortunately we had to buy Malaysian Ringgit first. Then we went to ATM to withdraw cash. It's hectic. We were in hurry because we did not have spare time before continuing the flight. 

While watching the first episode, sometime I giggled and paused the movie. I remember some little things that happened in my previous trips.

After more than one year I stay at home and not travel (other than to my hometown), I really missed the smell of the airport. The chill of KEF Keflavik Airport in Iceland made me awake for the whole night waiting for the next flight. The heat of DMK Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok made me dripped sweat when eating a cup of noodles. The small size of LBJ Labuan Bajo Airport in Flores that felt like a rented house when I visited in 2012. 

Looking for a space to sleep in Narita International Airport.
The area in the 3rd floor is designed like Kyoto's Gion area.

There is one more thing to remember about airport beside as a stopover. It is literally bed for the night. Sometimes I sleep in the airport on the first or the last night of my trip to skim a few bucks off my travel expenses. I used to think a real backpacker at least sleeps in the airport once. But now airport sleeping is no longer just for the cheap young backpacker. Nowadays, you'll find comfortable and clean airports like SIN Singapore Changi Airport or ICN Seoul Incheon Airport. Why you have to spend money on a night in the airport hotel when an inflatable raft on the airport floor is free?

Traveler Episode 3 - Je Hoon got scammed by the taxi driver from the airport

Is there any bad experience in airport? The answer is yes, but once in a while. I almost got scammed in DEL Indira Gandhi Airport by the Airtel officer when buying a sim card. When you first arrived at the airport you've never been to, there are an unfamiliar and strange feeling of the place. Sometime your mind goes blank and unfocused because of the jet lag or weariness of the long haul flight. It's important to keep your mind focused to avoid scamming and miscommunication. 

Traveler Episode 1 - Jun Yeol arrived at the lodging

The most long journey I take in using public transportation is taking bus from Jember to Jakarta. It's 36 hours long. We could not take a direct bus because of peak season and had to transit to Surabaya and Cirebon to change the bus. The second is 25 hours long from Jakarta to Amsterdam. The flight itself only 16 hours but we had to wait 9 hours in the airport transfer. This long tiring journey drains our energy. The first thing you want to do when arrived at the lodging after long trip is to lay down on the bed. The excitement of the trip to your dream country will simmered down for a bit. You need some rest before enjoying and exploring the city in the next day. 

I never take a photo when arrived at the lodge in midnight. It's because I don't have any energy left after long trip. But I take the photo above when arrived in Manali after 14 hours long trip with bus. We arrived at noon so I got the chance to use my camera while laying down on the bed and taking photo of Bre sipping the chai tea on the balcony.

I think when we set off to the destination before beginning our journey is one of the charm of the travel itself. There are things that may become forgettable, but I believe you have some moments that will remain in your heart. You missed the flight, or got scammed, or forgot your passport at home, etc. For me for example, I just remember there is a place in the corner of the departure hall in KLIA Airport that I always visit every time I transit there. Everything will become a good or bad memory. And the place —the airport, is the first place you will remember before starting your journey!  

1 comment

  1. ah! yeaaa I never thought about it too. I usually too tired or too confused every time I'm in airport/terminal/station. Next time I travel, I'm gonna pay more attention to details. Nice writings Ken!