Weary traveler and poor decision making

2019-11-05 @Travel

Avoid conclusive decision making after exhausting travel. Avoid all manner of critique in such conditions. Wait until tomorrow. Even if tomorrow demands another 24 hours of limbo.

Otherwise, beware. One, you will not accurately assess the nature of your situation. Two, were you to let a day pass (or better yet two, if you can afford the diligence), you can arrive at astonishingly opposite conclusions.

With each exhausting travel journey, I must always remind myself to uphold this maxim. Time and time again it has saved me from poor (or unnecessary) rash decisions.

Even my recent arrival in Rio de Janeiro nearly caused me to forsake everything that first restless day. After a nearly sleepless red-eye flight (and another connection), I was still determined to reach my lodgings in my urbanistically set ways. That meant stumbling to the tram stop across the street from the airport, forever tinkering with the transport card machine and the accepted payment methods, then making some other metro connection. I had all these transfer points and directions fairly well memorized.

Having descended the metro and scaled the increasingly upwards slope for 15 minutes to arrive at my favela lodgings, the contents of my mammalian brain were as good as mush. Surely I could have taken additional transport uphill. But that’s not how I like to do things. And it would have made little difference in the end.

The landlord was away on travel. But he left me the codes to the gate and the key lockbox. I still managed to recall these from memory. (People, stop relying on your assistive devices and you’ll be surprised at how much you can easily store in your pampered memory, even in the plastered state as I found myself in.)

I entered the lodgings dripping with sweat. The overloaded layers of clothing upon me and the overstuffed sole backpack were of no help. Heat was ablaze, windows shut, ventilation off. A battalion of ants was crawling across the floor.

There weren’t any pleasant welcome cards or fruit in sight. My dear landlords, these little touches cost nothing but can make exhausting arrivals so much more pleasant for the weary traveler. Especially for the uninitiated traveler.

But we are initiated. Part of the day I still found myself plagued with funny ideas. Should I shorten my AirBnB stay? How awfully slow is the WiFi connection… What about this perpetual noise that reigns the territory? Should I complain about lack of cleaning supplies in the apartment? (I politely inquired about them by email, but received no reply. And rightfully so.)

With each recurring onset of such thoughts, I reminded myself of the maxim. 24 hours, 24 hours… And would you know it, 24 hours later, all those tiny little prickles dissolved, turned to ash, and scattered into dust. I fell in love with my surroundings. Inside and around.

I can recommend one productive way to spend the remainder of your already depleted energy after a night of exhausting travel. It’s not sleep. At least, I can’t sleep until nighttime. My body is too attuned with the biological sleep cycle. It’s not food either.

Rather, go to the gym. Or head on a random neighborhood walk and exercise outside. Run. I’ve done this a time too many: on this occasion, after an all-night flight, all-night bus trip, etc. The exercise will unlikely yield muscle growth. However, it will still fortify your body. It will strengthen your mental endurance. And it will establish a sense of clarity.

Questions, comments? Connect.