As I write this, I am laying on a hammock with my laptop on my chest about 10m (30ft) from the shore of the Pacific Ocean on the island of Naviti in Fiji. While I’m enjoying the weather here much more than the freezing temperatures I left behind in Wisconsin, the purpose of this post is not to rub it in to those back home (although I desperately do want to do that too).
Prior to departing Los Angeles for Fiji last Sunday (and completely deleting January 11 from my life as I crossed the International Date line) I’d had been in the United States for the previous five month. While I had spent the majority of that time traveling, it wasn’t traveling in the same sense as I am traveling now or I had been traveling the previous 2.5 years. The only thing I had to deal with traveling in the US were gas prices and motel rooms. I didn’t have issues of language, culture or extreme distances to deal with. I was on the road, but it was fundamentally different.
Getting off the 747-400 in Nadi, Fiji I was instantly hit with the smells of traveling in the Pacific I became accustom to, primarily the smell of burning garbage (yes, that is the smell of most of the Pacific). This time I’m entering Fiji as the seasoned traveler. The annoying guy who has an anecdote from a dozen other countries and who can top your travel story with at least five of his own. I’m not the guy who was going to travel around the world, I’m now the guy who did.
The skills you develop traveling are sort of like riding a bike I suppose. One you learn them, you never really forget them. Once I hit the ground I went into travel mode; that state of mind which combines a relaxed attitude and heightened awareness of your surroundings. All the little things I learned from my previous travels (e.g.: your best bet in the Pacific for using an ATM will be the machines from ANZ) kicked in like Jason Bourne coming out of a coma.
I’m excited and glad to be back on the road again. It feels like home. The fact that is it 100F degrees warmer (about 50C) doesn’t hurt either.