There is something extremely liberating about being able to travel. Knowing that you can get away, whether it’s work-related (at someone else’s expense) or vacation-related (a well-deserved, hard-earned holiday), the change of environment and pace will allow you to gain a new perspective.
The journey begins when you book the ticket. Then you are mentally committed to going forward — you have to wind down, close shop, start the preparations for your absence, compose your auto-responder e-mail for the time you’re away, clean up, and pack.
In the 11 hours of getting onboard the plane, delight at getting two seats to myself, dosing off to the usual flight take-off, waking up to the smell of a cooked tray lunch, watching Korean movies between reading two consecutive days of the Star Advertiser (Hawaii newspaper), amid falling asleep and walking to the loo, I went through an amazing transformation.
I left behind the cough and headache of a two-week cold that accompanied a bottomless to-do list. Everyday I wrote a list of things to do for tomorrow. The next day I’d follow the list I wrote the day before so that my list would be finite. What I didn’t manage to finish that day, I’d carry over to the next day. Needless to say, my lists never ended. Neither did my cough.
Now sitting at this nice, clean, and naturally-lit Incheon Airport, I’m wondering why my cough has suddenly stopped. My headache has also stopped. Was it the 11-hour journey from Honolulu to Seoul? Or was it simply a need to have a vacation after so many weekdays and weekends of working for someone else?
Perhaps it’s simply not talking. Not rushing against a deadline. Or not having a list of things that must get done. [Or maybe it's just the antibiotics and codeine-laden cough syrup taking their effect!]
Alas! Travel is only liberating for as long as the time I’ve set aside for it. In the background, a backlog of e-mails, voice mails, and expectations is building. Enjoy being a stranger in another world while it lasts!