are airports actually places?

Barcelona Travel Blog

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I feel like I fudged a little on my TravBuddy travel map -- the one on my MySpace profile. You see, I have set foot in Iceland and Sweden, but only to change planes. Ditto for New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Texas (man, my knowledge of my own country is pathetic!!! what's up with that?). So I don't really feel like I've been to these places. After all, an airport isn't really a destination. Nobody ever goes to an airport to go there, but to depart from there -- well, that's not true if you work at an airport, but you see what I mean. To most people airports are no more a destination than is a traffic signal or a toll both. You go through them, not to them.

That's what I mean when I say that an airport isn't actually a place, at least not in the normal sense of the term. It's just a node in a transit network, and has no real existence separate from that network. If you grounded all planes to or from Barcelona, the city itself would still survive. The airport wouldn't. An airport is a zen-like non-place. The airport's essence derives from its constant state of flux. Airports only exist precisely because people don't really go to them.

Thinking about this is making my head hurt. I have been to Iceland, and yet at the same time ... I haven't.

Nzelvis says:
Boo hiss...airports don't count!
Posted on: Jan 09, 2008
benjaminorbach says:
Hmm, an important question. I don't count transiting airports unless you leave the terminal and do something in the city, even if that is just eating a hot dog downtown. For states, I count it if you've driven the length of the state in any direction and had a meal there. For some reason, driving across a state seems like a more legit experience than flying over it.
Posted on: Dec 01, 2007
Ann_Hells says:
Interesting that you are not officially in a country until you pass customs. You know, how people shop at airports in the US because you don't have to pay tax.
But some airports make you go through customs just to get to a connecting flight...
Posted on: Nov 28, 2007
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