I am finally home from this last trip, and getting myself acclimated to normal life. A few friends have commented to me that they cannot imagine what’s it like to travel like I do, so I thought I would try to give you a glimpse.
Imagine falling asleep knowing that you will dream for two weeks. Once in that dream, you find yourself in new, exotic locations where you’ve never been before. You meet characters with whom you spend every moment interacting. Like in a dream, things happen that don’t make complete sense. You leave your bed unmade, and come back and it’s made. You’re eat at restaurants for every meal, even though such activities are economically unfeasible. You wear expensive suits and drive expensive cars, tip porters for carrying your bags and bartenders for mixing your drinks.
Your “real life” friends no longer exist, but are replaced with new and interesting friends. These friends are from exotic places like Washington and Tokyo and London and Cambridge. They have strange accents and interesting stories. You talk with them about computers and lobster and saunas and Scotch. Like Alice in Wonderland, you find jenever labeled “drink me” that makes you twenty feet tall and pâté labeled “eat me” that shrinks you to nothing. You share your discoveries with your new friends, and their excitement fuels and motivates you to discover even more.
All the friends in your dream are dreaming as well, of course. They claim to have their own waking worlds with families and mortgages and water bills, but those worlds are so far away. Occasionally during the dream, we remember the people from the waking world, but most of the time, we enjoying the dream together, waiting for that next experience around the corner.
But, with each day in our dream, we know that will soon wake up. We look forward to the waking with a very real conflict. We miss the waking world, with the real people we love and cherish, and we know that each moment dreaming is a moment away from them. Yet, our friends in our dream world have become just as real, and we know that when we wake up, everything will be gone except for the memories. No friends, no food, no fast cars.
So, on the last night before the flight takes us back to the world of reality, we desperately look for ways to hold on to the dreams. We promise we’ll find ways to keep in touch, and we make those promises honestly. However, all dreams fade quickly upon awakening, and we quickly forget the promises we made.
This is probably for the best.