Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Japan: Day 4
500 year old bonsai
I'm waiting in Atlanta for my last flight of this trip -- my flight home. Well, to Little Rock, which is a half hour in the car away from home. These travel days seem to stretch on endlessly through stage after stage. Bus to the airport. Wait for the plane. Fly backwards in time across the international date line, from Friday afternoon into early Friday morning and back again, twelve hours in all, food and sleep arriving at arbitrary intervals. Land. Go through the multiple levels of immigration and customs, ending with security screening again as you go back into the airport. Wait for your next flight. Then there's the flying, the landing, the walking, the paying, the driving -- all before I can finally get home.
Tea at Happo-En
I'm looking forward to being home for so many reasons. Seeing my family, of course. Sleeping in my own bed. But also getting my pictures off my camera so I can put together epic blog posts about my trip, and giving the gifts I picked out for Noel and the kids. I'm lucky to have two days to decompress and reconnect with the central time zone before heading back to work on Monday. Then it will be time to hit the ground running on preparations for my next conference, for which I have a half-written presentation and a completely unplanned workshop.
View from teahouse
What I've got in my rear-view mirror, though, is the trip of a lifetime. I know how lucky I am to have been to four international conferences in the last decade, not to mention yearly national and regional meetings all over the country. With travel costs rising and department budgets shrinking, none of that can be taken for granted into the future. It's up to me to make sure the investment pays dividends for the program, and to squeeze every drop of value from the places I go and the people I meet.