Friday, June 18, 2010

Wanna-be bohemian

Henna & a 30cent boat ride in Dubai (photos from last time I got stranded here)

I love the fantasy of bouncing around the globe on a shoestring budget. There’s a certain thrill and pride that comes with packing light, being frugal and working without a net—to never be certain what town (or country) you’ll be in tomorrow, how you’ll get there or where you’ll sleep once you do. This sort of lifestyle is very glamorous in the movies. In reality, it can be not fun at all. You spend a lot of time tired, hungry and stuck in places/situations that weren’t on the agenda.

It takes a certain personality for this sort of thing. In all honesty, I don’t seem to have it, but seeing that it is implicitly part of the Friendly Planet job requirement, I’m working on it. In fact, I am beginning to wonder if it is the kind of trait that is developed over time (like from Bishop’s Schnase’s new book Five Practices of Fruitful Living).

So here is my step process:

Step #1: Let go of any delusion that you can control the itinerary.
Step #2: Get over your money issues. As some famous guy wrote and my dad always repeats, “If you can reduce your problem to a price tag, you don’t have a problem; you have an expense.” Pay it and move on.
Step #3: If you can’t be where you want to be, want to be where you are. Make every situation an opportunity to learn and/or contribute to this world. (i.e. Channel your inner Pollyanna.)

I’m not sure what the next steps will be, but I’ve still got a ways to go on mastering the first three.

As my Facebook friends know, I’ve been having a lot of airline ‘adventures’ lately. As I write this, I’m stuck (again) in Dubai. Been in this airport 32 hours straight and will be here at least another 24 more. Luckily, it has free wireless, water fountains, quiet rooms, and even showers.

I’ve been trying to focus on what I can learn from this, and there is a lot that can be learned from spending time in a major international hub. The de facto world fashion show alone is intriguing. When I’m having an extroverted moment (I’m an introvert at heart), I ask strangers what they can teach me. Yes, I walk right up to them and ask. Generally they are amused and have given me some interesting answers. I often learn more about their home country or how hard it is to live in Dubai when you are a [insert any low-paying job at airport]. I sometimes even get restaurant freebies just for being someone who noticed that they exist.

So here I am after 5 full days of airport hopping sitting on the floor with an aching back and stale bag of clothes. Not exactly glamour by my definition, but I’m sure 007 and Indiana Jones often had the same problem—except they could skip to the next scene.

Indiana Taylor

World's tallest building (couldn't fit it all in the photo)
locals on commuter ferry in Dubai

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