As someone who travels frequently I have to admit that for me there is nothing, but nothing, sweeter than being welcomed home by a loved one waiting for you at the airport/train station/bus station/port. It’s truly one of my favourite things. But this may be contentious as there are a couple of other “airport” scenes in the running…
Being taken to the airport
Don’t get me wrong, this is fantastic. Particularly when there is a car involved and it means you don’t have to fight public transport. It is lovely to know that the people who are there with you, waving goodbye, will miss you while you’re gone. But the flip-side of this equation is that there is usually a sense of sadness at parting that, for me, tarnishes the scene somewhat…
Being met at the airport at your destination
There is something to be said for arriving at your destination and not having to worry about how you’re going to navigate various language and cultural barriers to find the pillow you’ve lined up for the night. Especially after a long flight or when it’s already late in the evening. The very first time I arrived on a business trip to find one of those white paper signs with my name written across it in bold lettering… well, I thought I was in heaven. Not to mention pretty special and important! But it just doesn’t compare to the feeling of…
Being met at the airport at home
You’ve had a great trip. You’ve had a not-so-great trip. You’ve been away for a long time. You’ve been away for a few days. You’re looking forward to getting home. You wish you could have stayed away longer. When you arrive back and there is the face of a loved one waiting there for you, welcoming you, all of that melts away. You are loved and you are HOME. It doesn’t really matter if they are in a car… even fighting public transport together is much more pleasant than going it alone. The thing that matters is that they are there… they missed you and are happy to have you back.
I am particularly fortunate at the moment as I have two cities I call home. I always get this special treatment on my visits to Sydney, where my parents and brother are waiting for me at the airport with massive hugs and smiles, even though it’s a 1.5 hour trip for them to get there and there’s a perfectly good train that I could take myself home on. It’s a wonderful way to kick off a visit, and instantly reminds me of one of the things I love most about my family… that we love to do things for each other, even when it requires effort.
But being met at the airport need not be reserved for emotional reunions only. We often fall into the habit of only going out of our way to meet someone at the airport if they travel infrequently or they’ve been away for a long time. But being met after a short trip can be wonderful too, and my recent experience of commuting between Paris and London has been greatly enhanced by my boyfriend standing regularly on the platform at Gare du Nord on a Friday night, waiting for me to alight from the train to we could start our weekend together, welcoming me home.
So if you have a loved one who travels, even if it’s regularly, get out there and meet them from time to time. Every chance is that they will appreciate it, and you will feel good for having made the effort. Win/win.