A couple of years ago I was killing time at Borders Books prior to a meeting. As always, I went directly to the travel section. I scanned the latest guide books for my obsession de jour, and then moved on to the travel memoirs. Mixed in with the latest Frances Mayes and Bill Bryson books, I spotted, My Favorite Place on Earth: Celebrated People Share Their Travel Discoveries.
National Geographic writer, Jerry Camarillo Dunn, compiled 74 essays by actors, athletes, musicians, business moguls, and even His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, describing their favorite places on Earth, with the exception of Buzz Aldrin and Sally Ride. They, of course, chose Tranquility Base on The Moon and Earth’s Orbit respectively.
I flipped through the book, stopping at the people and places I found intriguing. Paris and London were popular choices, along with Jerusalem, San Francisco, and New York City. Some were quite specific (“My Parents’ Victory Garden, Chatham, New Jersey”). While others were quite vague (“The Middle of the Atlantic Ocean”).
I was instantly sucked in. I wanted to skip my meeting and curl up in a corner of the book store and read. I wanted to know why the Caribbean is so special to Morgan Freeman, and why Jean Houston loves America by train. I promptly took the book to the register and plopped down my credit card.
On the way to the meeting, my mind was drawn again to the book. What is my favorite place on Earth? How would I respond given that same question? Cities, countries, islands, oceans, rivers, and parks all raced through my mind. How does one pick their favorite place when all are special in one way or another? I would imagine it’s like picking a favorite child. I racked my brain for the answer. As I slid into the parking lot, it hit me.
My favorite place on Earth is George Bush Intercontinental Airport’s Terminal E.
It’s strange sounding, I know. E is Continental’s international terminal, and so many of my journeys begin here. Once I step foot into Terminal E I begin to feel that nervous, excited anticipation that comes with travel. I am a kid again. I have no idea what lies ahead, but that’s just part of the fun. Terminal E is my last chance to eat Tex-Mex and buy a sugar free Red Bull. Its hubbub of activity only adds to my excitement. I watch other travelers. I wonder what their story is. I get drunk on Terminal E’s action.
Terminal E also welcomes me home. Its concrete arms envelop me as if to say, “Texas has missed you.” And I have missed Texas. I am greeted by a fajita taco, a sugar free Red Bull, and a ton of souvenirs shaped like the Lone Star State. My arrival to Terminal E reminds me that I’m just a long walk to baggage claim, a short shuttle to my car, and a 30 minute drive to home.
The world is at my fingertips when I’m at IAH Terminal E, and thus, it is my favorite place on Earth.
What’s your favorite place on Earth?