Transit time

For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed transit.  On some level, I think I enjoy it even more than arrival.  There is something appealing about this interim state when you have left one place but not yet arrived at the next.   There may be things to do and you may even choose to do them, but on a basic level, you are free to poke around.

Today, I am in transit from Osaka to Tokyo on the Chuo Expressway.  I have traveled back and forth between these two destinations many times, but today I must say that I am enjoying it more than usual.

I am riding on a day bus. From the time I get on the bus until I get off, roughly 9 hours will pass.  I have done this trip more rapidly – an hour by plane, three by bullet train.  I’ve driven it during the day and night in 5-7 hours. I have also subjected myself to 7ish hours of broken sleep on the night bus.

On this day, though, I am committing myself to 9 hours of wasted daytime.   Nine hours in a moderately comfortable seat, peering out the window, reading, thinking about nothing, thinking about something, napping and thinking about napping. To top it off, my mobile phone just ran out of juice, so even if someone wants to interrupt my journey, they can’t.  Transit is a great excuse for a decadent withdrawal from connectivity.

On this trip, I’ve noticed that the mountains, valleys and rivers that surround the Chuo Expressway are breathtakingly beautiful.  I only vaguely noticed this when I used to rush along this route in the middle of the night, doing my best not to fall off a precipice.  I’ve finished an intriguing book on the role of play in life and work, started another book exploring how consciousness exerts physical force on neural networks, and I’ve recorded a few sentences on an alternative way to help support change leaders in organizations.  You can’t read or work on the night bus because the light disturbs all the normal people who are trying to sleep. I changed the picture on my desktop so everyone could remark on how cute my kids are.  Then, I reviewed some digital video of a tennis match, noting how graceful and fluid my 13 year-old’s forehand is when he gets it just right.

And now I am recording this blog entry encouraging those who could use an excuse for some private time to plan a trip and indulge in a little extra transit time.

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