You’ve got to keep moving

Early this year I experimented with going through multiple countries over a 22 day stretch. It was exhausting so much so that I began questioning the real motive behind my world domination (visit a 100 countries in the world before I turn 50…) strategy. 

Honestly, I couldn’t answer it back then. And I still can’t. It’s just something I like to do. Having a goal just added a bit more context to my “why” behind travel. But if I were to explore deep, I still wouldn’t find a convincing answer. Perhaps, it’s just the way it is. I like to travel because it forces me to take a break from my usual routine, which is hectic by design. Yet, I end up working almost 90% of the time. The worst part is that I love to do it. Hardcore travelers and life-balance activists would frown upon that but I really don’t give a damn. 

Like most things. Traveling can boil down to a science or an art. For me, it’s neither. It’s just something I do to break off of the monotony. Does it give me real pleasure to lock myself in a hotel room and work for 12 hours straight? No. But I sure am focused as hell and get a heck of a lot done in those 12 hours compared to the regular hours of the daily grind. That energizes me!

Sorry, I digressed, but going back to the drawing board I decided to do shorter trips lasting 9 to 10 days that start on a Friday and end on the following week’s Saturday or Sunday. That will force me to not opt for more than one or two countries at a time. It made a lot of sense. 

So, I booked a ticket to Bangkok, Thailand. Had a great weekend as planned. The workweek was productive as expected with eventful evenings, thanks to the sumptuous dinners. But that’s about it! I didn’t do anything else. Did I want to? I don’t know. What I do know is that by Wednesday I was getting bored. It felt like a routine. 

Perhaps I should have taken off of work and explored more. But that wasn’t a viable option given the workload. Also, I’ve tried it before. It gets boring after a couple of days anyway. Work keeps me engaged for good and helps me get a lot done. The next best plan could’ve been to visit another country, that would’ve taken care of the boredom bit. 

Of course, I didn’t do it. I should have planned better. Something that I regret. But these experiences count and help you get better at what you’re doing. This episode also forced me to reflect on an alternative plan, which would be to visit just one country for 4-5 days to attend a workshop or seminar (which are typically 2-3 days long). It would force me to take a break from my work completely while learning new skills and getting to see the city. Yes, it’s much more expensive. But I believe, it’ll be worth it. 

Another option is to seek Jiu-Jutsu open competitions in countries that you want to visit. This one will be less expensive if you can check your ego outside the mat and humbly tap out to a much more skilled opponent. And I’m more than keen to do that. (Wink. Wink. No, for real!) The BJJ community is a friendly bunch and I believe this would be a much more rewarding experience. 

See, how else are you going to get rad ideas? Just keep moving and not get stuck at one place like I did, which is move to another country and live there for a week. Someone wise said it the best, “fish and guests rot after 3 days.” I would stretch that to 4 days because you’re staying at a hotel. But the principle is quite profound for travelers. Just keep moving. 

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