During a recent trip to an airport steeped in chaos in Rome, I was reminded of the unexpected sense of peace I felt at the Long Beach Airport in California almost a year ago. We were officially starting our trip after a magical week in Disneyland with my parents. It was an emotional parting and we were feeling nervous and uncertain about so many things.
The expected is the never ending roundabout that supposedly leads to the rental car desk, where the shuttle will apparently arrive at the right wing, and hopefully the lines at security won’t mean a missed flight and time to eat some bad food.
As we pulled up to the Long Beach airport it looked like a retro building out of the Jetsons that we just wanted to get closer too. Lucky for us, rental car return was right in front of the door! We checked in easily as the chaos at LAX was a distant hum away.
The TSA woman at the security gate gave the kids stickers and chatted with them about their favorite Disneyland rides. As we wandered through open air cafes and walls of glass filled with artistic rock gardens to our gate, it registered that we were really leaving. We felt like we could breath and contemplate all that had come before and all that was just beyond the horizon.
As we sat listening to horns blasting on a simmering day, weaving through the suggested traffic lanes outside of Rome, looking for a specific airport exit that eluded us numerous times, I remembered Long Beach and smiled.
As we watched the sunset over the California palms, drinking chocolate milkshakes straight out of the 1950’s so many months and airports ago, we knew it was the perfect place to start our journey and it will be a wonderful place to head back through someday.
I never expected that kind of tranquility in an airport and it came at the perfect time in our journey. It makes me wonder how many other pleasant surprises await in unexpected places . . .