I’ve got antsy feet. I’ve generally considered myself the kind of guy who needs a fair bit of home time to relax and rejuvenate. But lately… not so much. In fact, I think I’ve got an addiction to travel. I can admit it. I can quit whenever I want, I swear! “Hi, I’m Mark, and I have four frequent flyer cards, three frequent hotel stayer cards, several rental car program cards, and a passport with full pages.”
For years, the idea of taking a “normal job” where I sit in the office 40 hours a week with no thought of business travel has kept me from exploring too far beyond the style of work that I currently have. Lately my need for travel has strengthened and my personal concerns about how much “home time” I’m getting have shifted. What leaves me torn though is a desire to bond with the city that I live in. I want to drink in and embrace where I live: to learn the hideaways and haunts and moody late-night joints, and the weird stories of the city’s past so I can tell my friends and get THEM to love my city, too.
As a lover of live music and theatre and political dialogues and marches and street fairs I find that booking myself into events two months in advance frequently leads to frustration, since I don’t know whether I’ll be in the city that night or not. However this is sometimes pleasantly counterbalanced by stumbling upon an amazing event when I’m in another location, like the Trilogy party on New Years Eve in Dubai, or the Survival Research Labs event last night in Los Angeles (apologies to those of you who I missed while I was there!)
And then there’s my loft, an interesting space which has yet to blossom into its potential. Really, it’s more of a parking place for my things as opposed to a space that I’ve designed for living. Why take time to make it comfortable when I can spend money visiting friends in Vancouver, or Chapel Hill, or Paris, instead? When I’m home I’m usually in this position here, butt in chair, exploring things on the Internet, communicating with friends, learning and planning or maybe playing some games.
These are things all rolling around in my head since the big trip. I enjoy that life has ups and downs and periods of intense pressure followed by periods of relaxation – or even periods of intense pressure followed by even more intense pressure than I thought I could handle, which cause me to expand my capacity and accomplish things I didn’t think I could. If life was constant, normal, 40 hours/week, come home to the wife and kids and dog at 5pm, I think I’d go out of my mind with boredom. I think.
Right now I’m in one of those tightened up periods of pressure as we bear down on our developers conference this week. After the conf I’ll hop a plane with some engineers, to LA for a day and then Vancouver for a day, with a little time at the end to see an old friend and enjoy that city again.
But when I get back, I’ll feel… unsettled.
One of the pleasant side effects of frequent travel is that I’m able to learn to love many places, and meet many wonderful people. I feel blessed to be able to enjoy this. Yet at the same time I find myself having to re-define what my definition of home is: is it my loft? neighborhood? city? state? the west coast? the country? the globe? if I treated each of these as my home, and took responsibility for making them better, how might I live my life differently?
Things to think about on a sunny San Francisco day over a coffee and a keyboard.
EDIT: Don’t miss this article on “Why Everybody is Going to Cambodia” from the New York Times. Registration required, I think.