Airplane Mode

It has been 9 days since my family returned from our vacation and I don’t feel I have truly decompressed from it yet. For 9 days I got to travel with my family (plus my dad) to some of the most amazingly beautiful places in the world. We drove nearly 3000 miles during that time and for most families, that may seem like torture being stuck inside a vehicle for hours at a time. For me, however, it was pure bliss.

This year has been filled with many milestones. Apart from the fact that I turned 40 this year (a fact that has impacted my psyche way more than I anticipated), this year has been filled with constant travel for work. To date, I have spent 59 nights in hotels and 110,000 miles in the air. These are data points I would have been better off not knowing about. 2015 has been a milestone year because it has been a year filled with me feeling like I am missing out on my family again.

I say “again” because it was this exact feeling that led us to move to North Carolina in 2008. I sought a simpler life. A life where travel was an exception not a rule. A life where I could make verbal plans 2 weeks in advance without having to consult 2 calendars. Unfortunately, due to work situations beyond my control, I have had to step up some travel a bit more this year. I know this is temporary and real steps have been take to fix this situation so I know this will fix itself really soon.

The very next morning after we returned home, my family drove to Florida to spend the rest of their summer break with my in-laws. And before my hiking shoes that I washed of the dirt and dust from our travels could finish drying on the back porch I was off as well to a conference in Park City.

There is nothing more depressing to me than coming home from a trip to an empty house. The lights are off. The fridge is still empty. The house is exactly the way I left it. There’s no one to talk to about the minutiae of your day.

Some of the best things about vacations is talking about it with the people you vacationed with when you are back into the routine. Our minds bring us back to our time away—the travel hijinks or funny moments. The spectacular views or spectacular meals. All things we experienced together. In a great way, it’s a common experience we will share and remember for the rest of our lives.

I am still, after 9 days of returning from vacation, in “Airplane Mode”. I’m a dad bursting at the seams to talk to his family and cut off from communication. As my family drives home today from Florida, I am back in the air on my way to California.

The romanticism that comes with “Elite Status” and “Wining and dining a prospect” is nothing compared to the routines of seeing the kids off at the bus stop and kissing them goodnight. I will look back on this year as another year of milestones: the year I reminded myself of what’s most important. This friday I will land back home literally and figuratively. I will come home to a full house. I will take myself off of “Airplane Mode”.

Gregory Ng

GOAL: Visit 100 National Parks as a family by 2020. Favorite Parks: Zion National Park, Mt Rainier National Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park

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One thought on “Airplane Mode

  1. This is why I ALWAYS say “life it too short (to work so much)”. Don’t get me wrong. I love what I do, where I get to work and who I work with. I am very blessed! But the thing is, there are only so many hours in the day spent awake and experiencing whatever it is we get to experience. If we spend all of that time working, planning, taking the kids to soccer practice and games, just generally busy and little of that time exploring or…dare I say…just BEING, we miss out. Family time is precious. Enjoy the world our Creator created and take your family along for the ride. Work is work. It’ll still be there. Life is TOO short. Make the most of it! Get off airplane mode and ENJOY! 🙂

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