Weary traveler and poor decision making

2019-11-05 @Travel

Avoid rash decisions 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. You are liable to falsely assess the cirsumstance. Let a day pass (or better yet two, if you can afford the diligence) and possibly arrive at an astonishingly opposite conclusion.

With each exhausting travel journey, I must remind myself to uphold this maxim. Time and time again it has saved me from shipwreck.

Even my recent arrival at Rio de Janeiro nearly caused me to forsake everything that first restless afternoon. After a sleepless red-eye flight followed by yet another segment, I was still determined to reach my home for the next two months in my urbanistically determined 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 another metro connection. I had each of these steps and directions fairly well memorized.

Having descended the metro and scaled the increasingly upwards slope for fifteen minutes to arrive at my favela, the contents of my bestial brain were as good as mush. Surely I could have taken additional transport uphill? But no, that would violate the protocol. And it would ultimately make little difference.

The landlord was away on travel. But he’d previously communicated the codes to the gate and the key lockbox. I still managed to recall these from memory. Is it hardly surprising how much you can store in memory by simple virtue of abstaining from assistive devices? Even in my plastered state.

The overloaded layers of clothing upon me and the sole, overstuffed backpack, I entered dripping cataracts of sweat. Heat was ablaze, windows shut, ventilation off. A battalion of ants crawled across the floor.

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

But we are initiated. Though I must have discarded my initiation paperwork. And funny ideas stalked for hours. Should I shorten my reservation? How awfully sluggish is the WiFi connection… What of this incessant outside noise? Should I complain about lack of cleaning supplies? (I politely inquired about them by email, but received no reply. And rightfully so.)

With each recurring onset of such thoughts, I remind myself of the maxim. 24 hours, 24 hours… And would you know it, 24 hours later, I no longer felt the pebbles in my shoe. I fell in love with the surroundings. Inside and around.

I can recommend one productive means to scrap the drops of remaining energy after a night of exhausting travel. It’s not sleep. At least, I can’t sleep until nighttime. Too attuned with the biological sleep cycle. It’s not food either.

Rather, go to the gym. Run. Or head on a random neighborhood walk and exercise outdoors. I’ve done this repeatedly: not only on this occasion, but after all-night flights and bus journeys. The exercise will still fortify your body and strengthen mental endurance in particular, enabling a sense of clarity.

Questions, comments? Connect.