“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.” Anthony Bourdain
Travelling for work has been intensively part of my life for the last two years. It happened suddenly, almost unexpectedly, although it was part of what I always thought my career would be. My take away list, my Travel Moleskine, my color combinations for smart attire, the black backpack for my laptop, my in-flight indulge moment, sometimes my music, almost always the persistent thought about what I leave at home...
There was this other quote I had read in a flight magazine "the road to yourself crosses the other end of the world" that constantly accompanies me. Travelling is a purpose but somehow without being the purpose. It is a mean for both disseminating work and beliefs, a mean for learning more and then a mean for transforming myself in what I am supposed to ultimately become. Probably at our adult age there is little excuse for being something you do not really like or want to be. I have little compassion for people with fierce intellect that failed to model their own being according to their values unless some truly tragical history emerges from their past. I do believe you cannot blame your childhood missed shots for everything even if we probably keep huge pieces of the puzzle within ourselves, sometimes even unconsciously.
“I wanted adventures. I wanted to go up the Nung river to the heart of darkness in Cambodia. I wanted to ride out into a desert on camelback, sand and dunes in every direction, eat whole roasted lamb with my fingers. I wanted to kick snow off my boots in a Mafiya nightclub in Russia. I wanted to play with automatic weapons in Phnom Penh, recapture the past in a small oyster village in France, step into a seedy neon-lit pulqueria in rural Mexico. I wanted to run roadblocks in the middle of the night, blowing past angry militia with a handful of hurled Marlboro packs, experience fear, excitement, wonder. I wanted kicks – the kind of melodramatic thrills and chills I’d yearned for since childhood, the kind of adventure I’d found as a little boy in the pages of my Tintin comic books. I wanted to see the world – and I wanted the world to be just like the movies” Anthony Bourdain
Travelling is also the adventurous counterpart of our settled and predictable lives. Although there is little routine in surgery itself, it requires a controlled environment with rigor and norms. We all go to work and follow our little habits (rounds, mails, scientific research, clinical case analysis, consultations, OR, multidisciplinary staffs) with all their shortcomings in terms of time and workload. Travelling is escaping the tidy persona you need to maintain everyday and discovering who you are outside of the LED lighting of your OR lamp. What makes your heart kick even for an instant other than your loved ones? I'd say this is a ticket we just have to take or we might be missing the best of our own selves.