You know, one would think I'd be used to traveling by now--used to the constant barrage of airport traffic, lost luggage and shifting time zones--but in all honesty, the more I travel, the harder it gets. When I think about it, I can't help but fathom the fact that nothing is ever routine. Every destination is different--which requires a unique mindset for each location.
I'm currently on foreign assignment in Chiang Mai, Thailand--but unlike my previous trips, this one will take me to six countries overall, spanning a time frame of just under six weeks. It'll be Christmas by the time I get home--snow would've fallen, I'd be a year older by then, and like all things redundant, another year would've come and gone.
I'm constantly asked by friends, "how do you do it?" Honestly, there really isn't a secret, nor is there a formula on how to leave things behind, shift everything aside and just say "Bon-Voyage." I just pack my bags, pay my bills in advance, turn off all my lights and essentially--just go. It's as simple as that. It's my job--and it's just as ordinary to me as you packing your lunch every morning and making your daily commute to the office.
Every country is new to me, no matter how many times I've already been there. Seasons change, people change--and when you look at the fundamental truth of where we are in place and time, we too change--and therefore, with every new destination I'm at, it is never constant--new in every sense. So by believing in this notion, it makes it easier for me to travel, to keep an open mind and view the world through virgin eyes. It gives me an excuse to just go.
But I must admit, I do miss out on a lot of the simple things in life. And if you've been an avid reader of this blog, you'd know that I do occasionally have moments of questioning--moments when I'd desperately try to find rhyme and reason for the purpose of my addiction to travel, the lens, and ultimately, the life I live--which, after taking a brief pause to think, I'd find no real prognosis. I certainly don't do it for the money--that's for sure. I guess, you either love it or hate it, do it right--or don't do it at all.
I have friends who say they'd do anything to come with me just once--to carry my bags, load my cameras or set up my tripod. But you know--the one thing that strikes me most is when they say "just once."
Just once is easy. You'd briefly put your life on hold, pack your bags and kiss your loved ones good-bye--and a few weeks later you'd make your triumphant return, throw your bags down and pick up where you left off.
What I'm waiting to hear is: "Ron, I'm willing to travel with you for the next five years straight--to live at airport terminals, feel the jet-lag you feel, go into hostile territory, eat bugs and worms, and at the end of each day, we can still be friends."
Sorry, not accepting resumes at this time.