International Bootcamp Series Intro: Have You Ever Arrived Home Rested and Relaxed?

People the world over are gearing up for their summer travel campaigns, from beach getaways to breakneck one country a day European tours. To get into travel shape I am presenting a series in May expanding on my International Bootcamp presentation at Frequent Traveler University.

First, though, I have a question. Have you ever arrived home rested and relaxed?

Modern travel is more convenient than anytime in history, yet maddeningly tiring and stressful. I hear so many people determined to make their travels an effort to return afterward refreshed so they can leap back into daily life. This produces the lay on the beach vacation. No matter how much I relax during a trip, I find it is all washed away by the time I set foot back home, thanks to time zones, airport security, flights, traffic and on and on.

I made a decision years ago that I would forgot about how exhausted I will come back from a trip. Instead I focus on having the experience during the trip that I want, be it laying on a beach or road-tripping around Eastern Europe. I found this quite liberating. I stopped thinking about the return and enjoyed the moment.

My personal travel style is to pack 48 hours into 24. I recently spent a day in Cyprus flying in from Istanbul, renting a car in the north, picking up another car in the south, visiting all the island’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, enjoying the presidential election festivities at night, driving back through the north and flying back to Istanbul. To most of you that is crazy. I had a blast. And the next day I drove around Kosovo in the morning and Macedonia in the the afternoon. I had not even planned to visit Kosovo but when I saw it was oh-so-close to Skopje, I turned the car north. I lived in the moment in a way I cannot in daily life.

My challenge to you this summer is to take a trip that you really want. Throw your cares to the wind. Try something you love, try something new, try something that makes others roll their eyes. Hit the pause button on daily life and savor the moment.

Easter Island Bolivia Peru 106

Huacachina, Peru

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  • Nice post. I’m looking forward to this series!

  • Joey

    Awesome! I’m definitely looking forward to the series as well. I’ll admit after an awesome vacation to one of my bucket lists, I always return home tired; hence why nowadays I just take an extra day off just to stay at home and rest (staycation) before heading back to work.

  • RakSiam

    I am more Slow Travel than Rapid Travel. I am headed to Germany for two weeks in July to tour around the Roman sites of NW Germany. Plus a visit to Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg that I am super excited about. No rental cars for me, trains and footpower plus local public transport. Hamburg, Cologne, Xanten, Trier, Koblenz, Mainz, Frankfurt

  • LarryInNYC

    I’m fascinated by the whole “Rapid Travel” thing, since I’m totally the opposite. I hardly want to get on the plane (I don’t enjoy flying, which already makes me out of the mainstream for miles and points people) if I can’t be somewhere for a week or two.
    That’s notwithstanding that I’ve had some very nice, very short stays.
    How much time do you actually spend outside of the car, train, bus, or plane at your various destinations? Do you feel like you’re falling into the syndrome that affects a lot of visitors to the US National Parks (most visitors never get more than 200 feet from their car)? And do you plan to revisit the places you see later for a more in depth look, or is this it for (most) of them?

  • Pamela T

    As my husband always says, “Sleep when you get home!”

  • William

    You look good in the vehicle! I have a question of your blog name Chai. Does Chai has any specific meaning to you? I have a professor whose middle name is also Chai. He was British, growing up in Singapore.

  • CharlieToo

    I like to travel both rapidly AND rested thanks to some nice business and first class award seats.

    Example: Last year I arrived in Beijing at 6AM having slept all night in F. Taxi to my friends to drop off some books for her schoolkids and then catch a bus to Jinshanling. All day trip hiking the wall and back for dinner. Early to Bed.

    Next day: at dawn I’m at the Temple of Heaven, morning at the Forbidden City, mid day White Cloud Temple and afternoon at the Capitol Museum. Peking Duck dinner with friends, followed by me driving their car back to the nightclub (I have no Chinese license but know how to operate a car!). The next morning I have a fight to Xi’an. You get the idea.

    After a few more days like this… I’m enjoying a full nights sleep in F back to the USA, shower at the arrivals lounge and I’m feeling rested and ready!

    This year I arrive in the Kyrgyz Republic at the end of Ramadan for an off road motorcycle trip. Via the new Turkish J class and Lounge in Istanbul of course!

  • Chris

    “throwing your cares to the wind” may be a nice travel philosophy for the financially independent, carefree and/or single traveler but not so much for those with five kids a mortgage and responsibilities. We love to travel but fortunately and thankfully we don’t feel the need to constantly fly thousands of miles to drive around some far off third-world country to be able to “savor the moment”. Just enjoying a nearby national park with the family easily beats having to deal with airports, hotels, rental cars…etc. My challenge to you is slow down and smell the roses in your own backyard. And the bonus is you won’t be inhaling near the amount of second-hand smoke as you would in beautiful Kosovo!

  • Lively

    We travel like you do, rapidly. This summer on our way back from Asia, we have 3 > 24 segments in Europe. Our friends think we are stupid for staying in a city for less than 24 hours. But hey, the cruiselines have built an industry around this model.

  • @Lively – sounds like an awesome trip!

  • @Chris – I agree that the near can be just as pleasant as the far. As much as I am based in NY under what I call spousal duress, I grudgingly admit I should spend some effort to explore that Tri-State. My wife and I spend happily weekends with just a train ticket and Priceline hotel for Princeton, NJ, a town she finds very relaxing. I did not mean to say that travel should be lavish, I meant to say it should be something you really like and enjoy it in the moment, and not load it up with stress about the return. I enjoy visiting and learning about new cultures and we do not have children. I am far from financially independent, I would not be shlepping to work as a NYC commuter if I was. I have learned the tools of ‘travel hacking’ that makes a trip to Kosovo just about as affordable as a local getaway for me.

  • @Charlie Too – those are awesome trips, I am envious! I wish I felt rested after a flight, but business class or not I still never feel that great after, I wish I was one of those that could shake off jet lag, but seeing as I am writing this at 3 am from Shanghai, I still have a lot to improve.

  • @William – I lived in China for 8 years, happen to be back there now, and I wanted some connection to Asia that would be easy to spell for English speakers. With the help of brainstorming with a friend, I came upon chai which in many languages is, or similar to, the word for tea, variants of the Mandarin cha (茶), which has a nice sounds and seems invigorating. A word for business travel in Mandarin is chuchai (出差) and though that chai does not mean travel on its own, I had the aural association in my mind. Later I learned it is the Hebrew word for life.

  • William

    I already suspected its connection to 茶. It is a smart move to link Chai to 出差. Kudos!

  • Jamie

    Cool explanation of where the “chai” comes from.
    It’s nice to keep those little connections to places we’ve lived before. We might never live in England again, but (i.e.) I keep calling pants “trousers” anyway. Just to formally block off a bit of mental space for that time in our lives.