Tuesday, September 27, 2011

airport limbo

LAX, my least favorite air hub in the United States.

Airports are interesting spaces. They are like limbo. You are neither here nor there. You’re not traveling exactly. You’re waiting. That’s what people do in airports: wait.

In the departure terminal, we wait for movement. We wait for flights. We wait to get going on our business trips or holidays, reunions or great escapes. There is this undercurrent of restlessness that comes before the start of any journey.

At the arrivals, we wait for our baggage, for our rides, for our loved ones. People wait with love and anticipation, with fear and anxiety. There is always an element of excitement there.

Airports can be purgatory for travelers too. Luckily, that’s not exactly how I’m vibing it today. It may be bittersweet being at the airport again, but its not as bad as a waiting room for hell.

I can’t help but look back at the variety of different airport experiences I’ve had this year. Probably the most I’ve traveled within the span of year ever. And since early June, LAX is my 12th airport. In New York alone, I’ve flown into or out of the three airports that service the area. And before this time, there was India and Singapore in January, Palawan in March, Madrid in April.

This is beyond unusual for me. I am neither independently wealthy nor is traveling a part of my job. I feel my blessings. I can only say that when I decided to acknowledge that I wanted to be a part of the world, that going on a journey was a part of my heart’s desire, the opportunities to do so started to unfold for me, some appearing like manna from heaven and others I myself manifested.

I’ve had a lot of intense moments of introspection during my time in these airports/indeterminate states. It’s a fitting activity in limbo, gauging where you are in your head and heart spaces as you straddle two worlds.

When I left India in January after two and a half months of intense yoga study, I felt full and energized, ready for the madness of returning home, by then I think I knew that I would be shaking up my old life, though, in ways that I could have barely imagined. I felt poetry and bliss in Madrid, the possibility of a bright and shiny new love in Telluride, awkwardness in Seattle, and emptiness in Oakland.

And now in LAX, I feel limbo itself. I am between two chapters, or perhaps between a series of books—where does the heroine go before the author pens the sequel? No man’s land? She exists in space but has no form. No story to cling to.

I feel very much between things. I’m at the end of this trip with one week to go before returning to Asia and three weeks before India for 5 months—my next big adventure. This trip itself is a break from that static island life in the Philippines, a time of transition to a different way of living, of loving, of being.

I feel the recent weight of great sadness and loss and the light potential of the unknowable future. I feel the differences between life in America and in the Asia. I feel the pull of my loved ones here in the US as well as those in the Philippines.

I can’t say this is a new sensation. I’ve always felt torn between the East and West, duty and desire, what I love and what I think I should do. Then again, aren’t we all in some way or the other confused by this world full of opposing forces?!

This time, however, I can feel its intensity as if it were both a vacuum as well as this concentrated sense of the entire universe, everything and nothing. And in this dividing line, this crossroad, I am shifting. On the other side I will be as always me and at once will never be the same again.


  1. We are all in-betweeners. Have a safe journey. Lots of love. Always

  2. I love your writing. Opposing forces create balance. Take care