Many of the larger trips I’ve taken have had a somewhat smooth mental transition between the “Non-Trip” mode and the “Trip” mode. For example, about a week before the month long road trip I took this summer with Mark, I had already begun the process of mentally checking out, of distancing myself from work and DC and slowly entering the nomad mindset. Once we finally got around to actually leaving, it felt like the most natural thing in the world.
This time, not so much. Not being able (or wanting, for that matter) to take my work laptop meant having to finish 8 weeks of work before I hopped on the plane. Though I was certainly capable of the task (</flex>), it followed my normal work speed progression. 10 days left, 25 things to do (2.5 per day). 8 days left, 22 things to do (2.75 per day), 6 days left, 18 things to do (3 per day), and so on, all the way up to 1 day left, 6 things to do (…). Starting slow and finishing at what can only be considered a heroic pace. I managed to squeak it out in the end, but it wasn’t very pretty.
Since mine is a primarily mental job where my productivity is based on how well I can concentrate, having to increase my work speed means continually ramping up my concentration to the point where I enter a world solely populated by weird philosophical, legal and technical concepts for 12 hours a day. Reality takes a backseat to this fantasy land of patents. Normally I leave myself a couple of days for decompression, but not this time. I was running at full speed ahead through my fantasy land for so close up until my plane flight that I barely had time to mentally grab my bag as I flew out the door.
And then it was done. I was on a plane. No laptop. No responsibility. Not much of an actual, concrete plan. Three pairs of underwear. Eight weeks.
I feel dizzy.
(posted in Amsterdam)