The wandering traveler: Can’t wait to catch my multiple personalities in the rear-view mirror
I just booked my long overdue vacation. Towards the end of last year, I was not able to vacation as there were several large important projects to be completed for work. As such a highly committed individual I, of course, worked through my vacation. Read into that sentence what you will. At the same time of my personal vacation embargo, I have been on back-to-back road trips for work throughout the deep south/mid-west of the United States. Don’t get me wrong. I love traveling for work, I wouldn’t do it otherwise. However, I would also enjoy some cultural-adventure time of my own. As you can imagine I am a bit on the crispy end of the burnout spectrum. Yes, that is an official psychologist mimi burnout continuum.
I will be heading to Panama next month for vacation. I have always wanted to go there and I am excited to practice my Spanish. However, my first choice of Israel as a vacation spot was not possible because of a slight passport snafu. Did you know that there are many countries for which you can’t travel to with a passport that expires in 6 months? What is the point of having a current valid passport?
Anyhow, I have already started ordering my travel books on Panama as well as writing up itineraries to do while on travel. Here is the thing. When I travel for personal vacation trips, I am all for having an agenda. I like to plan out each day and learn as much about the city and country beforehand. I am a very active vacation traveler. I don’t much relish lounging on a beach. I like hiking. I like going to museums. I enjoy finding hole in the wall restaurants and trying out new cuisines and dishes (as long as they don’t have shellfish in them). I love walking the city streets for hours on end. For example, when in Tokyo, we would leave the hotel at around 9am and we would get back around 7pm after spending the whole day walking about. I actually lost seven pounds while vacationing in Japan. When I go on vacations, unlike most other people, I lose weight and come back with even firmer legs. I just like being active. You can’t stop me. I address my work burnout by essentially just burning energy in a new country.
Now, when I travel for work, I am slightly different. I am very active but I don’t worry about set rigid agendas. Many would think I have my priorities reversed. I know that. However, I like getting in a car and just buzzing about communities and snapping photos of all that is around me. If we get lost, I shrug. If we miss our flight, I shrug (somewhat-depends on why we missed the flight). When on business travel I go by the mantra of “stuff happens.” When stuff goes wrong on a business trip, I just go into solution mode and bear and grin it. It really doesn’t help anyone to get into a fight with a flight attendant or with the car rental agent. You really do catch more flies with honey than with a bitter attitude. When on a business trip, you have a set goal. You must keep calm to reach that goal. You can’t let the masses see you sweat.
There was a time when In Puerto Rico, we were to zip about the whole island meeting with about ten agencies dispersed throughout. One of them gave us an address that was akin to “33 kilometer, Timbuktu.” First off, that is not a real address. Second, as Americans we have a weird relationship with the metric system. We arrived three hours late to the meeting. We called to let them know we were on our way. We called to let them know we were lost. We called to let them know we were still lost. Meanwhile, in the car, we listened to a live radio show (when it came in) that made fun of the island culture in a self-deprecating way. The show was called “you know you are in Puerto Rico when….” We filled in the sentence with our zany misadventures. We also munched away on Frosted Flakes and soaked in the zipping atmosphere; which included driving on a curvy one-lane (but two-way) road high up in the mountains where we were often met upon by a large semi-truck. Yes, it was both harrowing and funny. None of us had a panic attack about late. None of us were anxious about the situation. It was what it was and we were going to get through via teamwork and sugar consumption. Once we finally arrived we were efficient in doing the interviews and meetings. Later on that evening we enjoyed ourselves a few cocktails.
In both my personal and business travels I am a wanderer. The wandering, however, takes on a different vibe and tone. It is as if I was two different people or at least had two distinct personalities. The joy of travel, either way, can’t be underrated. In April, I have one week where I am on a business trip followed immediately by a week where I am on personal vacation trip.
I can’t wait to catch my multiple personalities in the rear-view mirror.
Inspired by the daily prompt of: the happy wanderer
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