1,350 days. Give or take a few. That’s how long I’ve been a parent and a father.
12 hours. That’s how long I have been on “dad-cation”. I’m sitting in seat 1A, on Cathay Pacific flight 881 to Hong Kong en route to Bangkok. Solo.
Seat 1A? Isn’t that first class? Yes, I am sitting in international first class – a pod-like, hi-tech, mini-house bigger than some people’s homes. It’s insane. The ticket from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Bangkok costs at least $10,000+. And no, I did not pay cash.
I paid with my body. I traded in some frequent flier miles for it. LOTS of frequent flier miles. 67,500 to be exact. And that was for a one way ticket.
I didn’t want to blow that many miles, but when my wife gave me a hall pass to rendezvous with some backpacking buddies of mine in Bangkok, I jumped at the chance. It’s my first ever hall pass, btw. And this is my first solo vacation since my 1,350+ day tour of duty as a dad has begun. Prior to this, I have never taken a single day or night off as a parent. Not one… (ok 4, but that was for work. and i came home early both times. mainly because Detroit was so scary)
So I booked my ticket, my stupidly insane, first class, one way ticket (that’s all that was available on such short notice) six days ago. Finally, I get some solo time off. Finally. So what’s the plan? I have no clue. Which is awesome and scary all at the same time.
I’m meeting up with two writer friends of mine, Paul & Ed, who have been
drinking scotch backpacking for almost 2 1/2 months through India and Nepal and are now snaking their way through SE Asia. We meet up in Bangkok tomorrow (hopefully). And from there, into some unknown, yet to be determined, Southeast Asian jungle where air conditioning has yet to be invented and mosquitos are the size of pigeons.
It’s strange, this whole “anything goes” thing. You see, the past four years of my daddy life has been exactly the opposite. Everything is on a schedule. It has to be. It’s a central requirement of a parent – wake up time, nap time, poo time, meal time, puke time, snack time, bath time, story time, night night time, etc. So to go from complete structure to not even having a return plane ticket feels rather unnatural, a bit jarring, and, I’m embarrassed to admit, very scary. But still, I’ll take it. I have to.
Trying to plan a backpacking trip into some unknown SE Asian jungle where malaria, dengue, typhoid, hepatitis, and Japanese encephalitis lurk in less than 7 days has been nuts. This whole hall pass has been so randomly slapped and pasted together that even a blind piñata maker would approve. I have no idea what’s next or even what to expect. I hear we may go to Laos or Vietnam or Cambodia or, if the Chinese food is good enough, Sweden. Who knows. All I do know is that I have my first ever hall pass, a backpack, a one way ticket to Asia, and a hotel reservation in Bangkok which, for some reason, rents their rooms out by the half hour.
I feel giddy like a schoolboy and a bit afraid too. Looking forward to what I find. Or find out.
Bangkok has me now.
Daddy Fan’s going in and gettin’ out