Between my ride from Jakarta to Bandung some days ago were the stories my friend Emil told me about his recent trips to Belitung and Dieng. He tops my list of the most laid-back person I’ve ever known, always staying true to himself, regardless what others think. We both were still having the internship required by the campus in our respective companies, but he managed to slip in some days off for short vacations. Listening to how he swam from one island to another or how he went up at 4 am to catch the sun rising between the mountains only to drive 9 hours back to the city afterwards, there was a slight hint of regret within me for not planning to go anywhere in the last two months. But that alone wouldn’t be enough to push me to go anywhere. After reminiscing about all the details, I asked how exhausted he was since he always had to come back to work the next day. He said yes, of course it’s exhaustive. But with every trip, he always come back replenished, refreshed. Happier. And no, it wasn’t the kind of being happy that only lasts a few days at best, he said. Every time he goes home, the joy stays within, increasing his tolerance to any problems just because he’s happy. The joy piles on with every sunrise, every beach, every gas station he stopped at. Happier each time, and from it comes a better person. Staring at the long road ahead of us, I was struck by his line of thinking that has never crossed my mind. Now that I’ve experienced office life 8 hours a day, everyday seems to be pretty much mundane, slow, debilitating. But is he right? Will going places adds to my happiness? Will it stick? Will I become a better man, however lame it sounds? I wouldn’t know until my next trip, but I will remember his words dearly, that with every trip, the joy is eternal.