“When your only friends are hotel rooms; hands are distant lullabies.”
I’ve been on the road the past two months. Instead of the freedom of traveling for fun, I have been traveling for business. People often say to me, “It must be so cool to travel so much for work!” Most of the time, it is cool. Life on the road is very different than I imagined it would be. You think of the movies, these powerful businessmen in fantastic suits sipping on martinis and having meetings until late in the evening. And though that is often true, though I don’t have many fantastic suits- there is also this pervasive sense of detachment on the road.
I recall in times past, of nomadic tribes who would pack up their teepees or yurts or tents and find their way to greener pastures. Now we pack a carry-on, make sure all of our liquids are in 3 ounce containers and set out to a new city.
Did you know all the Hyatt Place hotel rooms in the nation look the same? I’ve woken up not sure where I am. I make friends with the bartenders, become friendly with the night managers. They become my social life for a week. Or two. Or eight, as the case may be. We connect through electronic devices to the people we miss and who miss us. I feel torn between the luxury of hotel life and the comfort of having my own things. I’ve almost forgotten how to cook.
I’ve been counting off the days that I can go on vacation to somewhere new and exciting. I’ve realized that traveling all over the nation for work has set me up to needing a bigger vacation for relaxation. In order to relax: REALLY relax? I need to go far away.
Somewhere where I can’t answer my cellphone. Where I probably can’t look at email. Where I’m not compelled to stop at a store. In order to go on vacation, I need to go AWAY.
So enter my baby sister. My sister is one of those people. The kind who travel everywhere, do everything, and never seem to run out of ideas for new things to do. She also is exceptionally frugal, so she can do all of this on a shoestring budget. She’s barely 25 and she’s been to more than 30 countries. So she calls me up. “Melissa,” she says insistently. “Come on vacation with me.”
She’s recently sold her soul to a university. She’ll graduate with her PhD in clinical psychology. So I got to thinking… I hadn’t really experienced traveling the way she does. We’d never really traveled internationally together. The last time I was out of the country was in 2007 and it was only to Mexico. So. I thought about it for a while and then decided to make it happen. It’s just money. I’ll make more. And its going to be the vacation of a lifetime. I agreed to go before I really realized where specifically I would be meeting her. Other than “Asia.” Which isn’t a very small continent.
But this is how I came to be traveling to Vietnam in two weeks.
Its funny, when I tell people where I’m going on vacation. The incredulous look they give me. People expect “Florida” they expect “Bermuda.” But Vietnam? The look of surprise and disbelief makes me laugh.
I’m really excited. I haven’t been to Asia since 1997 and I’ve never been anywhere near as exotic as Southeast Asia. I’ve been watching travel shows and experimenting with new and interesting cuisine to attempt to prepare for this journey.
So. Expect interesting stories and photos, since I intend to post a lot.