Sunday, January 30, 2005

A Day Away From Home

How good is it to break away from routine? To be free from the daily responsibilities of the home; to sleep in a bed that’s not your own? Don’t get me wrong… I love my bed with its clean sheets and fluffy pink duvet but no one seems to understand my love of traveling: be it near or far.

Twenty four hours in Lisbon is like a mini holiday even when it’s purpose is work, the schedule is tight and the plane trips besides being delayed are also turbulent. Your watch becomes your constant reminder of responsibilities, your cellular phone your reminder of the delayed work back home and your body screams from physical exhaustion. With all this stress, most people count the minutes before they reach home again.

I love arriving at the airport, the first thing I do is call a friend to let them know I’ve arrived okay. Although the human traffic is always dense, I enjoy watching the various expressions on strange faces whilst I wait for my luggage. I revel in the opening of the passenger doors, when people come out to meet those who anxiously await them. Expectant eyes always leave a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart, reminding me of the times when I too awaited someone special to walk through the same doors.

Getting into a cab, I catch up on all the latest news and woes from the driver. Although the drivers are never the same, I find it enchanting how all of them seem to want to get to know you and tell you about the place they call home. They warn you about the places you should avoid and tell you about the places you should see, making the trip to your destination seem shortly pleasant.

What I love about the impersonality of hotels is how they relieve you of daily stress. Taking a hot shower, pushing back the crisp sheets and laying down to a good book feels divine when you don’t have to worry about cleaning the tub, putting the towel out to dry or that basket of ironing that you still have to do. Household chores don’t play on your guilt because you can do nothing about them at this distance, so you invest all your concentration on that book you’ve been meaning to catch up on for ages.

Walking around in streets you’ve never been on is like an adventure. Whilst most locals walk distractedly indulged in their thoughts, you get to look around you and see the things you don’t see everyday. Like that old building that could’ve belonged to a Lord or Barron a couple of hundred years ago, or that amazing graffiti that could’ve only been dreamed up by an incredibly talented artist. In every corner a new discovery and you find yourself grateful that you don’t have to see that familiar tree or wall that you walk past everyday.

I love to get lost. When no one is looking for me, I can search for the things that I love the most. Bookstores, CD Shops and Toy Stores are mine for the prowling. No one to rush me, no one waiting for me, I take the opportunity to do the things I never have time for and try to make a new friend. Even though I may never see them again, I make a point of obtaining a smile to make my mission accomplished for the day.

By the time I’m on my way home, I’m usually burdened by two desires. One is to stay and discover more, the other is to go back home where my bed, my friends and the people who love me await my return. I never know when it is that I’ll return, but I know that I always do with the utmost of enthusiasm.

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