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What the Frick was that?!

There comes a point when you ask yourself am I truly alive, or just a robot going through the motions?

I found myself asking this question with increasing frequency as I approached the 20th year of an engineering career.

Staggering out of bed at 6.30 am, rolling into my office after pouring the first of my pints of coffee, I often had no re-collection of the drive in.

Familiarity with the same old routine is blinding.

Had it been a beautiful sunrise? I would have no idea–I may have remembered that the traffic was bad–other parts of the day would pass in the same daze, as would the commute home.

A robot, could have performed many functions of my everyday routine. Even though I was not working on an assembly line or working from a tiny cubicle I was becoming an automaton in many respects.

Travel has been an excellent antidote for waking from the monotony, that everlasting hollowness of the daily grind. When I travel, I find that I am more aware of my surroundings. I have the time to focus on what is immediately around me – not what is on TV, the computer screen, or being told by someone else what is important.

As I write this, I can see howler monkeys forage in the trees outside, not only do I have time to smell the aromas of a green freshly washed jungle, I have the time to enjoy the alien sounds that surround me. I hear the shifting waves of the cicadas and the birds claiming their territory.


Belize is a country of exotic sounds that lull you to sleep and waken your senses. In Placencia,  the cacophony of a frog orgy during the recent summer rains stays with me. The chorus started at dusk and went well past my normal bedtime.

The local troop of howler monkeys living in the trees just steps from our current housesit think it’s cool to whoop it up at two in the morning. Their roaring travels for miles, hearing it come from just above your bedroom window is an awakening in many senses.

In our fast-paced modern life, we are often in such a hurry – our senses overwhelmed and they often shut down. By making, the space and the time to conquer my robot,  my senses have developed and grown more acute….. or maybe I am just more aware?

About the author: Apparently born under a wandering star, Michael spent hours as a kid poring over maps, atlases and plotting where he wanted to travel when he grew up. Sadly Engineering school got in the way….. “it takes 5 years to complete and a lot longer to get over”. He still considers himself a “recovering” Professional Engineer. He escaped the rat race at 44 and now pursues his passions for travel, photography, Tai chi, scuba diving, cooking and sampling the world’s wines. Michael is also… Fiercely independent, a bit of a rebel, is on a self-imposed media diet & married to an incredible lady.

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