Waiting at airports, I always like to read the departure and arrival listings, dreaming of going to Timbuktu or Kabul, or wondering where on Earth cities like Narita or Kandi might be.
As I was passing the time before my flight to Vancouver at Heathrow Airport in London, a destination appeared of which I hadn’t even known that it was served by flights.
I knew one could fly to Thule or to Svalbard, but directly to the North Pole? That piqued my curiosity. It seemed like one of these coincidences that beckon you on an adventure. And, ready for Canada, I had warm clothes with me anyway.
Thus, I decided to walk to gate B58, expecting to see a group of polar explorers or adventurers with sledges and ice picks. It was a long walk, to one of the farthest corners of a large airport, but it gave me the time to get prepared.
I would ask them if they are really going to the North Pole, what they were doing, show my interest and hope to learn that they still had a free seat. If so, I would take it as a sign that I should jump onto that plane. It would be the chance of a lifetime. I took a mental note to ask about polar bears, not about penguins, displaying that I don’t mix up the Arctic with the Antarctic.
I just couldn’t think of a good reason why they should take me with them. I can’t cook. I have never killed a bear, nor a seal, nor would I honestly want to. I built an igloo once, as a child, maybe that could come in handy.
When I reached the gate, though, all I saw were children and airport/airline staff dressed as Santas. It dawned on me that this was a fantasy flight.
But at least I had been dreaming of Arctic explorations for the 15 minutes it took me to walk to the gate. On the long and depressing walk back, I couldn’t believe that I had fallen for this. Some swindler probably could have even sold me a ticket for that flight.