HERE'S WHAT MAKES "VACATION" UNEQUAL TO "TRAVEL"
I know you don’t mean to insult me when you call it a ‘vacation’. But to me, ‘vacation’ and ‘travel’ are two completely different things. Let’s deep dive in to see how I define those two terms.
THIS IS A VACATION
It is an escape from reality – relaxation, scheduled time to recharge. A vacation has hotels booked, tours planned, beaches chosen.
THIS IS NOT A VACATION.
I am not escaping from reality – I’m finding it. My soul, at rest in the world of money and responsibilities, stretches and swells here. It fits my body perfectly instead of wearing my skin like a hand-me-down coat: not uncomfortable, but ill-fitting and not my style.
My plans are but a vague outline, often changing on a whim as passerby says, “We’re going here, want to come?”
I once stay in a 12-bunk dorm, foregoing privacy and praying that the locks hold on the cabinet where I’ve stashed my passport. All these insecurities that pops up in my head. Each time I had to calm myself down and learn to trust the road ahead, wherever it may lead.
I wear blisters on my feet with pride as my legs ache from getting lost all day in an unfamiliar city. I sneak into quiet streets to consult my map and compass as to not draw attention to my “non-local” status, and curse my body’s need for sleep.
I listen to the cadence of a new language swirl around me and stare at signs, struggling to decipher their meanings. I cringe in shame when a hostel worker or airline employee glances at my Thai passport and immediately switches to English for my benefit.
YOU THINK THIS IS A VACATION?
NO, THIS IS TRAVEL.
For now, I become he who feels more intensely, sees in brighter colors and smells the universe each morning. I belong exactly where I am.
I am he who is confident, eager, fearless, strong and fierce. I am he who is curious, radiant, defiant, wild, laughing, and free. I am he who holds his own arms open to the world and says, “Here I am! Give me the best you have!”
My soul is wide awake, and every moment is precious gift.
And then I return.
Back to the world of routine. Of bills and schedules and meetings and doing my own laundry and forcing myself to go to gym at least twice a week.
Back to the role of being a son who has a self-commitment to always put his family first.
Back to the role of supervising and leading the team toward the launch of our new products.
Back to the role of getting approval from the supervisor. With a lot of questions she asked and a lot of the reasons-to-believe I answered, yet still received the doubt in her eyes.
Back to the role of curing and mentoring myself. To take sometimes off to remind myself that how other people judges my work will not define me. They have every right not to like it but it will not de-value myself as a person in anyway.
Back to the same old sofa in my best friend’s living room, listening to the same old story of how he is so not over his ex. As I told him to
have that leap of faith, and believe that they both will drift back together if it’s meant to be.
In the traditional world, a groove becomes a rut, and soon I look up from the bottom, fear and trepidation building.
“I can’t leave this,” I tell myself. “I’m too afraid. This isn’t fun, but it’s comfortable. This isn’t right, but at least I know where I’m sleeping and how to get around. I’m afraid to go again. I should stay where it’s safe”