Homeward: Notes from TG 910, Bangkok-London

Greetings from the skies over Helsinki, on-board a well-aged Thai Airways 747 that has two hours remaining in its eleven-hour flight. Last night was Singapore, then a quick hop to Bangkok, and then this uneventful long-haul as I’m nearing London’s Heathrow airport.

I’ve felt strange for much of the trip. It’s been a lot of fun, no doubt, and I’m really glad I went. A trip like this, with four major cities in a week, all separated by 8-13 hours of flying time to each city, reinforces the benefits and challenges of the peripatetic nature of my life. There’s always something coming and going. There’s always a project wrapping and another one (or five) to tackle next.

What's the goal of life? Maybe it’s this: to live the life we’ve been given, to be kind to others, to do things that make us happy, and to give back (or whatever it’s called) as much as possible.

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Traveler 1, Jet Lag 0 (For Once)


You, traveler, know very well what jet lag is like. For a period of several years, you were essentially jet-lagged two weeks every month. “Jet lag is my favorite drug,” you said, repeating the great line by Jacques Cousteau.

But you knew then, just as all travelers come to know, that real jet lag is a bitch. Contrary to the suggestions of well-meaning people who took a trip once and thus claim to know all about the world, jet lag is unpredictable. When it arrives, there’s no magic bullet to stop it from claiming your days and nights for as long as it wants.

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Despite hearing the question almost everywhere I go, I always shy away from picking a favorite country. Coming back to South Africa, however, I remember how much I love this one. I don’t have a single favorite country, but the Rainbow Nation is definitely one of the best.

Staying in Cape Town for three weeks back in 2005, I did all of the usual Capetonian activities. I climbed Table Mountain, I made the journey to Robbin Island, I headed out to Stellenbosch for wine tasting. All highly recommended, and if you’re making a life list of things to do before you die, spending a couple of weeks in the Republic of South Africa is probably as good as anything else you could put down.

Today I’m in Johannesburg, a city I’ve never really been to before. I’ve spent four months in East London, three weeks in Cape Town, three days in Pretoria, and countless transits through JNB airport – but until now I’d never been to Jo’burg, or Josie as It’s known here.

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