Thoughts from Terminal A, Buenos Aires to Ushuaia


“Pasillo, medio, o ventana?” The man working at the Aerolineas Argentinas check-in desk asks me as I place my big blue suitcase on the scale.

I give him a look that says, “Are you kidding me?” He chuckles.

“Lo siento,” he replies through a knowing smile. “Pasillo o ventana?”

And there it is. I’m convinced that there’s two types of people in this world: the window-seat people and the aisle-seat people.

I’m going to completely leave the middle-seaters out of this conversation. People who sit in the middle seat either waited until the last minute to reserve their spot or they’re psychopaths. One or the other.

The window seat offers the obvious benefit of catching some unique landscape views (ones you’d probably never get to see otherwise). Also, you can gaze out over the wing of the plane and pretend you’re in a Matchbox Twenty music video (win.). But the trade-off is, of course, having to awkwardly ask the other two people to move out of the way everytime you need to pee (especially uncomfortable if they’re asleep and you have to coax them out of their slumber). That, or you can attempt the grab-the-headrest-of-the-seat-in-front-of-you-and-straddle. Spoiler alert: that never turns out well. Don’t do it.

The aisle seat comes with that golden freedom, which according to some, is worth far more than any view.

I can’t help but mull this age-old paradox over in my head as I sit, waiting at my third airport terminal in the past two days. This one happens to be Terminal A at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m about to embark on the last leg of my long journey from Boston to Ushuaia where my ship to Antarctica will leave from. It’s been an endless 48 hours of flights, layovers, interrupted naps, airport speed-walking, and horrendous traffic, and I’m ready to finally land.

And what a place to land. Ushuaia, the “edge of the world.” The southern-most city on the planet. The heart of Tierra del Fuego.

It’s moments like these, the in-betweens, the spaces where I feel suspended in time, that it really hits me the kind of life I’m living. Maybe it’s because these moments are truly little pieces of my life that are caught between the past and the future. Between nostalgia and anticipation. Between the last chapter and the next. Here I am, tracing along the edge of a page that’s about to be turned.

I feel so endlessly grateful.

PS. Team window-seat. Always.


Published by emilyboelee

Emily Boe Lee is a documentary and travel photographer specializing in visual storytelling.

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