Optimistic vs. Pessimistic Views of Traveling

In the past few months, I have traveled to more new places than in the rest of my life’s travels combined. As I keep alluding to in many of these blog posts, I am learning a ton.

One thing I have recently been thinking about is how I view traveling as a whole – the physical act of moving (having to transport) between destinations. I think this is a fairly fascinating space, with tons of complexities, intermediary parties and points of friction.

I am becoming very very familiar (here in Hong Kong) with the routine of taking cab / metro to the airport 2 hours before my flight, waiting in lines, going through security, waiting to board, etc. etc. Landing in a foreign country, going to the ATM and finding a way to my hostel/hotel.

I have probably done this 12 times in the past few months alone.

I am sure you can empathize with it. To be honest, the worst part about all this travel is having to do this ^. No one likes waiting in lines. No one likes having to show up to the airport hours and hours early.

If I could summarize the airport in one statement, it would be this: hurry up and wait.

You rush to pack. You rush from your house. You rush to the line. You rush to security. You rush to your gate.

And you wait. You sit in the plane. And you wait.

Peter Thiel has an interesting quote: “if you have never missed your flight, you have likely spent too much time in airports.”

Clearly, there is friction. Do I know the solution? No. But surely there must be a better way, if we were starting from scratch, to reconsider travel.

Importantly, I also think about travel as the trips to the airport. The shuttles. The trains. Everything is included.

What I just wrote was the very pessimistic view of travel.

I want to counterbalance that with the very optimistic view of travel in saying that we are living in the most freely accessible and affordable global environment in the history of the world. I am incredibly and lucky and fortunate to not only be born during this time, but also to be able to indulge in the luxury that is global travel.

I have been to so many countries, thousands and thousands of miles away from where I was born.

That is amazing.

Look back even 100 years ago and people would not believe that a citizen, from my family status, would be able to have seen what I have seen.

Look back 1000 years ago…those humans would call us crazy!!

Yet, we still find ways to complain. We still find ways to get annoyed by friction.

2 hour wait? To travel 5000 miles around the world. Columbus would take that in a heartbeat.