Daraius’ Diary: Love in an Airport

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Daraius:  We’ve got a great team at Million Mile Secrets helping with posts.  But I miss writing as much as I did in the old days!  So here I am writing about stuff that I really care about (and which isn’t all miles-and-points related). 

“Airports see more sincere kisses than wedding halls. The walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of churches.” – Unknown

I have a confession.

I don’t really remember many of the movies I’ve watched.  But I remember, very clearly, the opening scene from Love Actually, which was shot at London’s Heathrow airport using real-life folks.

I cried when I first watched it.  And still do, when I re-watch it.

That ~1 minute introduction is 1 of the most warm, upbeat, and moving piece of film which I’ve watched.  And it’s even set in an airport! 🙂

Here’s a transcription of the opening sequence, for those of y’all who don’t want to watch the movie clip (though I’d love it if you did).

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport.  General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that.

It seems to me that love is everywhere.  Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.

When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love.

If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

Why I Love Airports

I like airports for all the usual reasons – the sense of astonishment that flying in a pressurized metal container is even possible, the feeling of excitement when I get on a plane, and the anticipation of arriving at my destination and exploring new cultures and food (even if it is just a routine trip to Chicago!)

Airports energize and relax me. 🙂

Daraius' Diary Love In An Airport

Everyone Has a Love Story

But – just like the narrator in the movie clip – airports, more than anything else, encourage and reassure me that all is well with the world and that “love [NOT hate] is all around” if you look for it!

In this age of increasing intolerance to diversity of opinions, and lack of compassion and empathy, it is very easy to tune into the “news” and believe that the world is full of hatred and misery.  And that people – either in our town or strangers far, far away –  are out to get us.

Now I’m not saying I’m perfect.  Because I’ve, sometimes, let my fear, anger, and suspicion get the better of me with my family, friends and strangers.

But all it takes is a visit to any airport in the world to see that this is just.  Not.  True.

6 Kinds of Love in Airports

The scene opens with a long shot of folks hugging outside the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport.  And I’ve seen similar scenes at EVERY airport I’ve been.

The ancient Greeks had a much more nuanced definition of love and identified 6 different types of love.

I’ve seen all these in airports!

1.   Ludus (Playful Love): Kids playing in the terminal oblivious to their stressed-out parent.  And strangers bantering and flirting in the bar.

2.   Philia (Friendship): 3 guys enthusiastic chatting about their upcoming fishing trip.  And the group of college students loudly and excitedly sharing their study abroad experiences.

3.   Eros (Romantic Love): Lovers giving each other just one “last” kiss, before looking wistfully at each other…and then running together for 1 more kiss or hug.

4.   Pragma (Longstanding Love): The elderly couple walking hand-in-hand through the airport.

5.   Agape (Love for Everyone): The businessman who gives a hand to the single mom with 2 babies and 3 bags.

6.   Philautia (Self-Love & Acceptance): In the crowd of folks waiting for the flight, the regular-looking person you notice for their unmistakable inner-peace and calm and beatific smile.

I’ve seen lots more expressions of love in airports.

Daraius' Diary Love In An Airport

The Feeling of “Being Home” Often Begins at the Airport

Mothers & fathers with big smiles waiting for their kids to emerge.  Family members of folks in the military waiting expectantly with balloons, and cookies, and flowers.

All of which make me smile and feel blissful and appreciative to be alive!

Growing up in India, it was common to pile into the car and go with my family just to pick-up or drop-off someone going to the airport.  The large crowds outside Indian airports are mostly family members eagerly awaiting (or sending off) their loved ones!  Yes, really.

And, outside the airport, folks would Hug.  And Kiss.  And Cry.  And Smile.  And Laugh.  And Wave.  And garland their loved ones with colorful flowers.

Bottom Line

That’s why the opening scene from Love Actually is my favorite travel themed film clip.

I much prefer the message of love, joy, and togetherness in Love Actually to the bitter, emptiness of George Clooney’s elite status card-dropping character in Up in the Air (a movie which many frequent flyers adore).

So look around the next time you’re at an airport.  You just may be surprised at what you really see!

They say love is blind.  But I say, too often we’re blind to love.  So look closely the next time you’re at an airport.  Open your eyes and heart to see all kinds of love…love anxiously waiting, love sadly departing, love safely arriving back home….love is all around.

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9 responses to “Daraius’ Diary: Love in an Airport

  1. My all time favorite movie, which we watch several times a year. This was a great way to start the day and to remember that “love actually is all around.” Nice, very nice.

  2. What a lovely post and what a lovely reminder of the beauty that is within our reach in each moment. I remember, decades ago, being seen off at the airport by my Mum, as I was embarking for a solo trip to visit family in the UK and backpack around Europe. I was so excited, and so touched by seeing other families saying goodbyes and hellos. As I waved goodbye I welled up with tears and was surprised by my reaction – they were tears of pure joy and connection. And now, even if I am alone at the airport I relish being caught up in the love that can surround that space. Thank you Daraius for such a thoughtful piece.

  3. Yes, great post. What a great movie and great opening clip.

    FWIW, the movie opening montage that gets me the most choked up is from the animated movie “Up”. Another movie that’s much about travel.

  4. DD — It’s great that your back at regular diary entries! Another post that catches unexpected ‘good’ in scenes of common activity and in common places that we all take for granted — insightful!! And with your trademark depth of focus — taking us back to ‘philia’ and ‘agape’ and the wise words of Aristotle! Keep up the good work! 🙂 It pushes the older and cynical among us to look anew at the commonplace perhaps to discover the odd ray of hope in landscapes that are too often bereft of happiness…

  5. Best post in a long time (and I say that as someone who loves your site and all the posts). <3

    Reminds me of Ani DiFranco's song “The Arrivals Gate”:

    Gonna go out to the arrivals gate at the airport
    And sit there all day
    Watch people reuniting, public affection so exciting
    It even makes airports okay

    Watching children run with their arms outstretched
    Just to throw those arms around their grandpa's necks
    Watching lovers plant kisses
    Old men to their misses at the arrivals gate

    Watching a mother with a mother's smile
    Don't tell me to move, I just wanna sit here for a while
    I have determined, it's a sure cure for cancer
    Watching excitement turn family dogs into dancers
    At the arrivals gate, at the arrivals gate
    At the arrivals gate, at the arrivals gate

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2TqDpVjg3Y

  6. What a terrific post. This is why I come to this site every day. I can find great credit card deals all over the web (including here), but this post really lets your readers in and lets us know you, Darius. You and Emily are clearly big-hearted people, and this type of writing really shows it. Keep these types of articles coming!!!

  7. Great post Daraius. I’d like to add a seventh kind of love found at airport but not sure what to call it, maybe Craig!? It’s where a Senator of the United States utilizes the men’s bathroom stall and taps his foot in an attempt to engage the occupant of the adjacent stall in an act of sex, is then outed for his actions, but he denies it and mocked the sexual activity.

    • @Paul Rich @Jill @Omar Tiwana @Jim – I loved your kind words and love sharing my experiences. I’m excited to write more of these posts.

      @Travel Credit Cards Fan – I’ve never seen that movie, but will add it to my list of movies. Thanks for the recommendation!

      @Khad Young – I love those lyrics. Thanks for sharing them and posting the link to the song!

      @Steven – LOL. I forgot about “Craigius (Love to those in the next stall).” Thanks for keeping me honest.

  8. That is absolutely a fantastic way to start off a movie. The kind of introduction that keeps me engrossed till the end. I must admit the re-union of families and friends at an airport arrivals is very touching. The excitement, anticipation and elation that fills the atmosphere is perhaps one of the most intriguing ambiance i have ever experienced.