The solace of travel

I’m writing this while my wife and I drive to visit some family several states away. She’s driving, so I have plenty of time to sit here and write a bit. Later on I hope to write some notes on the Linux books I’ve been using.

That’s the thing I really like about travel: the complete absense of the obligation to do anything in particular. I know that many folks think that travel is stressful, and full of inconvenience. I would agree that at times it surely can be, but it’s also full of empty time that begs to be filled, or ignored, depending on the mood.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been sitting in an airport and heard the announcement that my flight was delayed, but it’s usually been halfway welcome news. Sometimes I had work to do, other times I just had a really good book to read. Only when I was really, really bored or desperate for home did I get angry. Even so, boredom is a state of mind rather than the absense of something to do, so there’s always hope.

I think the best travel time is when you have a chance to nest a bit. An empty seat on a train holds the bag, with enough room to arrange a few necessities at hand. A tray table to supp……or a book or computer. A roving drinks cart provides the sustinence, a nearby bathroom provides the comfort to enjoy it. No complications, just the basics, and a chance to enjoy them.

Of course, at the very same time you have this work environment, you have the ultimate distraction – the window. A constant movie about a strange land, always changing, and always interesting despite the fact that 90% of the time you’re looking at things you’ve seen thousands of times before. Wow – they roll the hay into big circular bales here. They’ve outlowed that in Wisconsin. It denies the cows a square meal.

I think one of the really delightful challenges of travel is figuring out what to take, and how to take it, to enjoy this time fully. Getting things just right, so that whatever pops into your head, you have just what you need to do it. Balancing the yin & yan of taking things just in case versus taking only what will absolutely be used. Then the fine tuning, and deliberation of equal but different choices. Do I bring the Moleskine journal, or just use Daynotez?

I think that whole area – collection of travel stuff, and perfecting & enjyoying it’s use in the field – can be considered a full fledged hobby. I don’t know if someone has started a website or magazine on it, but someone should.

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