Being a visitor to your actual tourist destination is always satisfying, but the actual act of traveling from point A to point B is kind of a solitude activity. If you are going far or have layovers, it becomes this lonely, slow motion journey where you are stuck a lot in ticket check in, security checkpoints, airport shopping, bus terminals, or taxi stands. Jet lag is super annoying, especially when you can’t sleep in airports or airplanes, but luckily I can pass out pretty much anywhere, it just usually results in a stiff neck or my legs falling asleep and painfully tingling back to sensation, very slowly. Time differences make jet lag and sleeping soundly even harder, like when you travel and lose half a day or a whole night simply because you went east. But then it’s great when you fly west and time just seems to stand still. Crossing the international date line in either direction is also fun, you either lose a whole day or start the day all over again. It’s hard enough to remember what date it is, or day of the week, but sometimes I’m totally lost even what month it is since seasons are also totally different all over the world. I’ve even been known to forget what year it is… but that might be due to other reasons like slight stupidity.
Currencies and exchange rates complicate travel transition as well, but with rising popularity of credit cards, atm’s available almost anywhere, half of Europe using the euro and more and more countries using the US dollar, things seem to be getting simpler. Language is probably the hardest thing to adjust to – landing in a foreign place with weird monopoly money and different weather, plus everything is happening in a tongue you don’t understand. Luckily for me globalization is pushing English as the lingua franca, but it’s a shame when English speakers get away never learning a word of the local language since we often ignorantly expect everyone else to learn English to cater to us.
I am now in Toronto, halfway from where I was to where I’m going. With a 12 hr layover, I was considering to just bum it out in the airport since I actually enjoy airports and people watching the thousands of people shuffle between destinations. I arrived at Pearson at 7pm and it was 33 degrees Celsius outside, much warmer than the -5` I had last in Toronto, so I got outside for some not-so-fresh air, but the smoggy humid still felt great – you never get that sticky pollution in Iceland. Then I got dragged into a free shuttle service by Comfort Hotels to their hotel where they had a pool open til 11pm and free wireless, and next thing you know im sleeping in a king size bed with a view of Woodbine racetrack after a very dramatic, blood-red sunset. I guess its nice to treat yourself once in a while to a cozy hotel room to get out of the airport and break up the lonely act of traveling.