I don’t travel much from work. But this year, I’ve been away from home far more times than ever before.
Till early this year, when I went to Prague, I restricted my travel to a single day; left very early in the morning and was back by 10 PM or worst case, by midnight. Maya seemed to becoming less dependent on me and so early this year, I gave in when when work called from Prague. After that, I traveled once more to Seattle and then went for three days and two nights to Quebec City.
Once upon a time, I thought it glamorous to travel to foreign lands. Traveling on work seemed the best kind. Everything was paid for and you got to see new places. A friend of mine took up a marketing job and kept up a grueling traveling schedule, visiting some part of Europe or the other. One day he was in Oslo, the next time he was in Paris, and a different time in Stockholm. I envied him.
When I started to travel, it was mostly to attend IETF conferences, held three times a year. The conferences are held outside the US, at least once a year (but already twice this year, Prague and Quebec City) and I loved it. The conferences didn’t keep me indoors all day and I made time to go see the places. In Washington, I did a night sightseeing tour of the city because that was the only time I could find and I didn’t have a car. In Australia, I stayed the weekend and visited Kangaroo Island. And on and on.
But soon, I began to tire. The airports, the long lines at the security checkpoint, the delayed flights, the missed connections, the airport food, the jet lag all began to affect me and travel started to lose its charm. And this was with traveling three times a year at best. I began to put off traveling as much as I could. Once Maya was born, I felt even less motivated to travel.
Reading an excerpt from a John McPhee book called Uncommon Carriers, I came across a quote by a towboat captain that is poignant and devastatingly precise. A towboat captain says to John McPhee, “There are two places in the world – home and everywhere else, and everywhere else is the same”.
As I sat in the airport lounge, early Wednesday morning, for my 5.40 flight to Seattle, that thought kept replaying in my head. Everywhere else is the same.
Image credit: akosikenet @ Flickr.
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