A travel tell-all with Kate Springer.
Most people dread a long airport layover, a 10-hour flight or even a bumpy one-hour ferry to Macau — but I treasure those slow moments in transit.
Wait, but who in their right mind would enjoy the chaotic Macau Terminal (which I’m sitting in right now) or a middle-of-the-night layover on the way to Europe?
That’s not what I’m talking about. That shit sucks. I’m referring to the way transit, whether you’re on a long flight or a ferry ride, essentially forces you to sit still. That assigned seat is not so much a prison as it is a rare escape from what the other time-consuming tasks that you “need” to be doing.
Those few hours where you’re literally kicked off Wi-Fi, when you can’t check your phone or log onto Facebook — they are magical. I am always amazed at how time seems to move a hell of a lot slower when I’m not rushing around.
And without a connected device, you’re free to unwind and maybe even take a moment to settle all the moving pieces in your mind. There’s finally free time to consider whatever pops into your head, catch up on some long-overdue reading or just take a rest and fall asleep if you’re lucky enough to be able to snooze sitting upright.
For better or worse, you might even have a chance to reflect on what’s been happening in your life — to put some thought into whatever you’ve been so busy avoiding. Think about it: while you’re in flight, there’s no jam-packed schedule. There’s literally no hurry at all because it’s completely out of your control.
When I moved to Hong Kong four years ago, I fit right in. I’ve always been a bit of workaholic and I do love my gadgets. My habits haven’t changed — if anything, they’ve gotten worse with the fast-paced environment and expectation of round-the-clock connectivity. I swear I’m getting “text neck” from looking down at my phone.
Of course workaholics across the world can now buy internet on longhauls and even log on during some TurboJet rides. I understand that feeling, as if the world will end if you can’t respond to an email. But is that email so crucial, that waiting ‘til you are back at a desk will spark a forest fire?
Even though I’m looking forward to logging off, as soon as I get onto a ferry to Macau, I urgently ask for the Wi-Fi password. Thankfully, it’s reserved for First Class and I happily press pause for the remainder of my bumpy boat ride.