It is now 24h16 here in SA and as I write this, I am sitting in the international departures section of Jhb international (or OR Tambo, or whatever the naming flavour of the month is). It being so late and this being South Africa, there are no flights coming in or out, and the place has been largely reduced to one massive, airconditioned warehouse. Except that with the white marbly floors in the newly renovated part, and the orange bubble chairs all around me in the deserted cafe I am sitting in, it really resembles the scenery of a Bjork music video. Or at least what I imagine they would use for one. I would wail around in a tone deaf fashion and cover myself in bells to complete the metaphor, but worry that I might attract the attentions of the airport police, the depth of whose musical knowledge may cause them to misinterpret the situation.
A considerably drunk but well meaning gentleman approached my Bjork-filmset-esque hidey hole and pointed out that I was sitting alone near the front door and that I may be in some peril of having my laptop stolen by some drive by airport thieves. There are drive by airport thieves?
After much gesticulating and inability to communicate, I eventually realised that he was suggesting I move to the flight/airplane watching deck in the domestic terminal and continue my activities from there. And so I have. His original intention was that there would be more people in domestic, and so I need worry less about safety from car-based drive by airport thieves. Having moved to domestic, and finding it just as deserted as international, though further removed from the threat of drive by airport theft, this blog missive may continue.
So the reason I am at the airport at 1am on a Sunday night (the oddness of which probably outweights the last 15 minutes)? Simple restlessness. I was overcome earlier tonight by an acute feeling of ther being lots of amazing adventures in the world in which I was most definitely not participating. Having my mother forward me an image of my brother after snowboarding in northern Japan and another friend starting a chat session from New Zealand did nothing to help reduce the desire to be travelling and doing interesting things.
It’s not necessarily a restlessness in the sense that I wish I was back in Laos (I do), or travelling on my way to somewhere like the mekhong delta or unpronouncable districts in Cambodia (I do, I do), but more a deep desire to not be doing what I normally do. It irks me intensely not that I work a lot, or that I am grounded in SA until the next holiday period, but more that I should be stuck in the same rut day on day, tracing the same paths through my surroundings and looking at things the same way over and over again until you stop seeing them altogether. It was a feeling that I really wanted to just get outside of my normal 9 to 5 state of being, even if for just a short while. Just to be able to do something different, and reaffirm that I can do it whenever I so choose.
And so I am now here at the airport, getting work done ahead of Monday morning’s onslaught of emails and watching planes land and take off from exotic destinations, carrying people who are fortunate enough to be seeing South African with the eyes of travellers, and people returning from having opened their eyes to other, foreign places. And by and large, I feel much better for being here. I am not going to get to go anywhere tonight, but the reminder looms large in front of me, that adventure is simply a ticket away, and that living a life less ordinary and more adventurous is only a decision in your head away.