Sleeping in airports — part two

Written by on November 22, 2010 in Blog, Europe, Germany - 6 Comments

I knew spending the night at Frankfurt’s airport was likely my only option. I couldn’t be bothered with the logistics of getting into town, finding a hostel or hotel, getting back to the airport … it just was not something I had any desire to put myself through.

I was so close to being home.

I wandered through the terminal, eyeing possible places to sleep. In the middle of the terminal was a large area of leather lounge chairs, each one filled with the body of a sleeping or near-sleeping soon-to-be passenger.

I hit the Samsung stand (thank you sleepinginairports.com for the advice) to check my e-mail. For free. Then, I took myself to dinner.

For two hours, I sat in the restaurant, eating slowly, drinking slowly, wishing for 10 a.m. and to be sitting on my flight back to America. Not because I had any desire to go back to America — I didn’t — but because all I wanted was to see my mom and dad.

A wave of exhaustion hit me.

I would pay good money to sleep in a posh hotel bed.

Across the terminal was an airport hotel, and I grabbed my belongings and walked over there to see if there were any rooms.

Entierly sold-out. Damn.

I walked back to the terminal and began to do my own interpretation of Goldilocks.

First, I parked myself in a lounge chair. I grabbed my black scarf and draped it over my eyes to block out the bright florescent lights.

Nope.Too public.

Then, I went and laid down on the cold tile floor.

Nope. Too loud.

Then, I wandered down the terminal to a hall in the shopping area with a few metal benches.

There was only one free bench. The others were occupied with people who were sleeping already.

I had ditched most of my belongings in Trogir, so the towel I had used the first time in Belgium’s airport was no longer in my bag.

Hmmm.

I grabbed my sundress I had purchased in Bulgaria and threw it over me, resting my head of my not-so-comfortable messenger bag.

It was hard to sleep there. It was painful. It was cold. But, it was where I decided to pass out.

My mind took me home … filling me with images of happy and sad and fear.
Happy to be home. Sad for my loss. Fear of being back in America.

The next morning, I was up at 5 a.m. Starbucks had just opened. I grabbed a coffee and a snack and sat there for an hour, just staring into space.

Still feeling numb. Still feeling sad. Still feeling like a zombie.

Then, I went to go get breakfast a few hours later.

Airports in Europe aren’t like airports in America. Typically, the departure screens don’t tell you what gate your flight leaves from until two hours before. I lucked out. And, three hours before my flight was leaving, the gate appeared on the screen.

Overjoyed, I quickly cleared passport control and took over a cushioned bench and passed  out for an hour.

When they made the announcement it was time to board the flight back to America, it hit me.

D, your trip is over. You are going home.

About the Author

Diana Edelman is a travel writer and expat currently residing in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She is a former career breaker and long term solo traveler. Today, she helps promote responsible elephant tourism and is the co-founder of #RTTC, a weekly chat on Twitter focusing on responsible tourism. When she isn’t writing, Diana handles the PR and social media for Save Elephant Foundation, which runs the popular Elephant Nature Park. Her writing as appeared in About.com, Thought Catalog, The Huffington Post, Matador Network, Travel + Escape, Luna Luna, Vegas Seven, World Nomads, Viator, CheapOair, OneTravel and more.

6 Comments on " Sleeping in airports — part two "

  1. ayngelina November 22, 2010 at 4:41 pm · Reply

    I have slept on the cold floor before, it’s very loud but I put my earphones in, cover my eyes and hope no one molests me.

    • The Adventures of D November 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm · Reply

      Ha! Me too!!! I’m a light sleeper when I am around other people though, so hoping I wouldn’t get molested.

  2. Abby November 23, 2010 at 8:01 am · Reply

    OH, D, this is so bittersweet! This was really beautiful. I know how much you needed to get home but how you weren’t ready for your trip to be over. Sleeping in airports is the worst, at least I think so. Mostly, because it’s so cold. Some people like to sleep where everyone can see them, so they feel like they can’t get robbed. I’m like you. “Too public” means I’ll never pass out. Well, I’m glad to have you back — welcome home!

    • The Adventures of D November 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Abby. :) If I never have to sleep in an airport again, I will be just fine with that. However, I have a feeling my adventures (and airport sleeping) are not yet complete. I’m so glad to be back … it took awhile, but very happy with the direction life is taking me.

  3. Andi November 23, 2010 at 9:17 am · Reply

    I can’t imagine sleeping at an airport after what you’d been through, poor baby!!!

    • The Adventures of D November 23, 2010 at 1:19 pm · Reply

      it sucked!!! but, the light at the end of the tunnel was knowing mom and dad would be at the other end of the flight. :)

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