I start every day as though I’m waking up somewhere new; this is more difficult given the amount of travel I do, where most days tend to be in a hotel room, and I start by guessing what city I’m in.
Memory is triggered by familiar things — there’s a reason I take photos of so many things on vacation. As well, discussing shared experiences tends to reinforce things. I regret the things I’ve forgotten, but luckily I may never discover what I’ve lost.
The staff at restaurants and hotels in this city recognize me — just yesterday, a woman named Janet recognized me from her other job at a hotel. The sandwich shop girl knew I prefer #5 without tomato. I don’t necessarily know who they are.
The feeling that I’ve forgotten something is both frightening and common. You’d think I’d be used to it by now. The unfamiliar surroundings make it more difficult in a world where “we want to go where everybody knows our name”. When I’m with someone, that person an his/her thoughts are the familiar surroundings to trigger other memories.
The hardest part of travel for work is that I start every day with that reboot, alone, unfamiliar surroundings, and the feeling I’m missing more than my comfy chair and favourite cat.