It’s the first time I’ve experienced this.
I’ve racked up lifetime air miles equivalent to 20 round trips to the moon. I’ve spent time in several dozen countries, and even done a previous month-long vacation.
But this is different.
The experience of continuous surface travel, over a period long enough for time to slow, and across a distance spanning six time zones and 38 degrees of latitude is fundamentally different.
Air travel leaves you perceiving the world as isolated places. (If the purpose is business, often as little more than airports, hotels, and offices.) You’re here… and then you’re there. You might look out the plane’s window en route, but that’s equivalent to watching a bit of a movie.
You don’t really gain a human scale appreciation of distance, or of connections between places.
With travel of the sort I’ve been on for the past month, you do.
You experience how the oceans, seas, gulfs, and bays flow one into the next. You feel the weather working. You understand why people chose to settle here, and here… but not there. The distinctive characters of cultures become connected to features of the lands in which they grew and developed. History comes to make a new kind of sense.
You see the map as a living reality, and the earth as an organic whole… and all of the sights you’ve seen, and experiences registered take on an entirely new form of richness as a result.