You guys, I have a new theory: the ratio of happiness gained per dollar spent? (The mo’ money, no problems quotient, as it were.) It is far and away highest in the airport.
You laugh*, but it’s totally true. Take, for example, my trip through Dakar via Paris. Because I was scared that my debit card wouldn’t be approved in a foreign country/I wanted to save money, I refused to buy wireless coverage, real honest-to-god restaurant food, or booze. I wound up sweaty, exhausted, and near tears in the airport bathroom, ready to keel over from exhaustion.
But then! Then! I decided to screw it and buy a sandwich and some of those Kinder cookies that you can’t ever find in the US. I sat down and I had my little brinner (it was 4 am by my internal clock and the middle of the afternoon by Paris’s), and I can tell you that never in my life has ten dollars worth of anything made me so happy.
Plus, after I had collected myself, I discovered that–unlike in my own, mean airport–European luggage carts are free. I popped my eighty-pound backpack onto one of those suckers, changed my clothes (which it had not occured to me that I could do, despite carrying everything I owned with me), spent another five bucks on a magazine, and nearly cried with relief.**
Now that I’m in my third European airport of the last month, I’ve got this under control. I got a luggage cart first this time. And, since I have the luxury of it, I’ve decided to not waffle about buying happy-making airport fun times items.
I’ve probably dropped more than I needed to on makeup, wifi, and a Spanish omelette on some bread (yum!), but you would not believe how much better I feel with these things. If nothing else, they are doing an excellent job of forcing me to focus on how nice Spain was (Barcelona: go there, it’s wonderful, everyone speaks all of the languages) rather than my perhaps-negative ambiguous feelings about returning to Dakar.
* I hope. I thirst for external approval.
** I’m kind of an emotional traveler.