There I was all alone in a dim, draughty airport realizing that if I was lucky I would be spending the night on a plastic bench. Gone were my visions of Starbucks’ comfy couches and wifi, gone were my dreams of restaurants with hot food and glasses of wine, gone was my hope of checking my bags. So why was I at an empty Liverpool airport at 11pm when my flight to Naples didn’t leave until 6am the next day? Because I was trying to be a savvy budget traveller.
When booking my flight from the UK to Italy, I compared millions of departure/destination combinations. I found a cheap flight that left at 6am and even though I realized there were no early morning trains, the low cost won me over. So I knew I would be spending a night alone at the airport but I thought “oh well I’ll snuggle up on a coffee shop couch, catch up on some writing, sleep for a couple hours and there’ll probably be lots of other travellers doing the same thing”. Instead I found myself in a tiny airport with a security desk that was closed until 5am and not a single open restaurant. There were no cozy seats, no hot food or drinks and, because I’d decided to take this trip without a computer, smartphone or tablet, no wifi. Which meant that my 8+ hours in the airport had no music, no movies, no blog, no email, no social media, no company.
I often think that I should be an expert traveller and that I should never make mistakes, but really I am new to this whole long-term, solo, budget–travel game. And honestly, I think that making mistakes are part of the adventure. I ended up buying a few provisions at the convenience store, finding the one and only bench without arm rests, layering up my clothing, putting on my eye blind and falling asleep with my pack as my pillow. It really wasn’t so bad and it turns out that no computer means more time to read, no social media means more time to think, no company means more self awareness and cheap flights mean more money to spending exploring Italy!
Today I say yes to spending money on sights not flights. Yes to novels not Netflix. And yes to messy adventure not predictable routine.
All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. – Ralph Waldo Emerson