Saturday 17 March 2012

Woo woo

Jet lag coming up. Changing time-zones, heading east against the sun, a long time in the pleasant but dislocating (literally) out-of-time capsule of the aeroplane cabin... it's the price to be paid for long-distance travel (in other words, virtually all travel from New Zealand). Not complaining, really, but it makes that zoned-out feeling of unreality on arrival in a foreign country just that much more intense.

You know how repeating some perfectly innocuous word over and over makes it eventually sound peculiar? And look odd, too, written down? That's similar to the phenomenon of depersonalisation, when you look at yourself in the mirror and wonder who that person is, even though you know it's you. All you can see is a stranger. It happens often when people are very tired. It's a kind of jamais vu - you think you've never seen that face before. Really messes with your head, but it's also kind of fun, to see yourself as, presumably, everybody else does - as long as it's only temporary, of course.

Travel has an effect a bit like that. You go to strange places and spend all your time looking around you, noticing the buildings all the way up to the roof, staring at the people, admiring the scenery, remarking on all the things that seem so different. So far, so normal. But then you get back home again, to your familiar surroundings, and because you've got into the habit of using your eyes properly instead of just manoeuvring through your day on automatic, you look around you and see things as a stranger would: the buildings, the people, the gardens, roads, shops, landscape. It's all fresh and attractive and somehow exotic, and you feel like a tourist in your own country.

If  people could just conjure up a bit of depersonalisation, or derealisation, on demand, they could have all the stimulation and novelty of an overseas holiday with none of the expense. But as I'm a small part of the travel industry and my job is to encourage people to buy flights, tours and accommodation, you didn't read that here.


the queen said...

It all makes sensse now. Gary has jamais vu if he doesn't take his epilepsy medication. He could do without travel. He can also watch The Replacements with Keanu Reeves every time it broadcasts. IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW!

TravelSkite said...

Brains, eh? They're mysterious beasts. But I wouldn't be without mine.


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