The Airport


I read Alain de Botton’s “A Week at the Airport” in one sitting a few years back. People come, people go. A space that seems to put time on hold, for it is a place, where we are neither here nor there but in between destinations.

Especially when in transit.

Psychologists have commented on the airport being a transitional space, which, as originally stated by Winnicott in the 70s in his research, is the process through which children move from a dependent self to understanding their autonomous selves.Usually, there is a transitional object involved – explaining why babies and toddlers feel “safe” with a specific toy or blanket, for it provides them something constant and predictability as they move within that transitional space towards experimenting with their autonomous selves and experiences.

These spaces are where creativity is in its fullest, where play and imagination takeover.

These blankets, toys, dingles dangles, are transitional objects that support the children through the play.

Research has shown that, as adults, if we could bring ourselves into this transitional space, we rediscover creativity and imagination we once had. Artists, creative people, are able to do so.

We all have transitional objects. It might no longer be that teddy from when we were 3 years old, but maybe a cup we always drink with, or a special pair of socks we wear for every important presentation.

We hold on to things even though we are not aware. Yet, we do not allow ourselves to play, for fear of feeling “childish.”

We forget to play. But we all need to play. Play allows us creativity, allows us hope, allows us freedom from ourselves.

I believe in play.

I indulge in transition. Maybe this is why I enjoy airports, for it brings me inspiration and my writing flows. I make up stories of where people are going. I relish the melancholy it brings as I hang in the space that is neither here or there,

And at airports, I am particularly confident of realizing my aspirations.

The airport is a transitional object for me. So are my bears. What are yours?

the airport

about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.