Living out of your suitcase for weeks on end, going from hotel to hotel, meeting to meeting, client to client. You forget what home feels like (except in your dreams), and you lust after a moment to just do nothing with those you love.
I'm not complaining, so much as explaining that it's not all rainbows and unicorns.
So as I sit in a seat that is too small, on a plane that is too full, crossing the pacific that is too big, next to too much perfume, for 13 hours, I have time to think...
Time to think about my Japanese and Korean co-workers who selflessly gave up their weekends to show me around their country.
Time to think about the workers on the line in Narita Japan who spent hours explaining to me, through language and cultural barriers, how they earn a living.
Time to think about all those who not only go out of their way, but sacrifice, so that I may have a pleasant experience.
Time to think about my South Korean hosts who showed me, among other things, a glimpse of North Korea, where a mother and an uncle who were separated 60 years ago are no more.
Time to think about the tireless sales people who understand better than any of us, that business is really nothing more than relationships, plain and simple.
Time to think about how what at first looks like a sea of similarity and unfamiliarity, soon falls away to the people underneath.
Time to think about how the guy on the subway in Tokyo looked amazingly like my uncle from Missouri.
Time to think about how at first everyone looks the same, but after a while, that thing that made them look the same vanishes, and I have trouble telling who is from where.
Time to think about the shopkeeper who sold me the gift for my beloved, how she smiled, and how we communicated even though we didn't share a common tongue.
Time to think about the soldier two seats over and one row back who helped the Vietnamese woman get her bag into the overhead compartment, and how a generation ago our relatives were shooting at each other.
Time to think about that fact that in the absence of government posturing and ridiculous border disputes we - the people of the world - have more commonality than differences.
Time to think about how lucky I am to be alive here and now, even on this plane.