“Hey! I know you!”
A shocking greeting that came from a stranger somewhere on the Mongolian Steppe.
“Yeah. You were on my flight. I remember you because the flight attendant poured wine on your pants and spent like five minutes cleaning it up.”
Yes, indeed that happened.
Then there was another aviation-related incident when I was selected for extra screening at the gate in Seoul on my way to Alaska. The security guy checked my bag, found nothing, and then confidently commanded me to
“Remove your shorts.”
I was understandably shocked given that this request was made in the very public gate area. I simply said, “No.”
He gave me a funny look. And then said, less confidently,
“Oh! No! Shoes! Shoes! Please remove your shoes! Sorry.”
Now that I’ve been back for a couple of weeks, it’s these little vignettes that come to mind when I think about what I did last month.
I don’t remember the broad, sweeping experience as a whole “thing.” It’s not the 47,751 miles. Instead, I recall snippets. They’re like mental movies that play while I wait for a meeting or sit at a stoplight.
Travel is about so very much more than the trip itself.
It’s also about anticipating the experience and then reflecting on it for years afterwards.
A memory is as much about the moment in which it’s made as it is about the lifetime spent remembering it. This doesn’t come at the expense of enjoying every moment, of course. Rather it makes life more rich because of the broadened perspective that comes from travel.
I think travelers miss out on a lot when they don’t write down what they’ve done. Pictures are helpful, but — for me — words add context.
I’ll have a lifetime to look back at the memories I made last month and will be able to do so anytime simply by clicking over to this blog.
I say that in order to encourage you to make notes about your travels, too. These posts are triggers for me. I find so much pleasure in looking back at what I wrote years ago about some far off place and reliving experiences that have long since faded from memory. Maybe you’d find the same thing if you do more than, say, snap a few photos.
Now, let me step off of my soapbox and say thank you for traveling along with me over the last month.
Stick around for the next 149 countries. If history is any indicator, there will be plenty of adventures to share along the way…