This is my first post outside the US as I head out on my three my three months of travels. My current location for the next three hours is the Hong Kong airport, as my layover ended up not being long enough to go into the city. The marvels of the HKIA include a 3D IMAX theater showing Resident Evil, an eerily abandoned video arcade, and various indistinguishable noodle shops. After an hour surveying the land, I have decided that happiness lay in a pint of draft beer and a new blog post.
After being officially on the road for less than 24 hours, my first observation is that most of my friends would have had a go at the deserted arcade with me. There were some intriguing games involving what appeared to be reconfigured spinning bikes, and others involving punching bags with faces painted on them. Which is a long way of saying that I miss my friends, and that I am grateful for them. I feel happy traveling, knowing that I have friends return to who will brave creepy arcades with me.
The flip side of being by myself in unfamiliar territory is how much head space I have to take in new sights and sounds. I find myself fascinated by small details. The bathroom attendant who uses tongs to take garbage out of the waste bin. Who decided on that system? The flashy metallic tile on the restaurant wall. Where did it come from? The super high, ultra-feminine voice of the Chinese stewardess. How did she learn to talk that way?
Solitude and unfamiliarity also make me much more aware of the decisions I make. Every person I interact with is a potential story, friend, revelation. I am aware of the butterfly effect. Each choice not only affects the immediate decision before me, but also the future possibilities. If I decide to go down this path instead of that one, it could lead to a totally different outcome. I am crafting my experience.
While this is always true, somehow this sensibility gets lost during my normal routine. When I have no particular destination or goal, I am much more interested in the flexibility of my experience. I love falling into this state of being, experimenting with life to see where it takes me. This is what freedom feels like to me.
Departure time is approaching. Next stop Kathmandu.