* 1 min 

It has been about six months since the last time I set foot on American soil. Summer came fast skipping spring, and winter was gone without feeling it this year in Baghdad. Easter is a few weeks away; it will be my first one with the family in 3 years.

Italy - mood not included

The anticipation of travel is amplified by my current quality of life, at a secure compound, a rectangle of about 100 acres. I live a restricted lifestyle in the middle of Baghdad surrounded by those four walls. The four points of my routine work-workout-eat-sleep reflect the same pattern. My answer to the “How is your day?” question has been reduced to it’s simplest form – a copy and paste of yesterday.

That makes me fall prey to beautiful Google images of Italy and nice hotels. Their power seduces me, removing any sense of rational intelligence. I am left with no choice. Suddenly, I am planning a ruinously expensive trip.

Finally, I took a step toward my sense of freedom by buying an airline ticket – an act that will set in motion the long journey home. The ticket is a key to unlock the chains of routine hanging around my neck for the past six months.

The anticipation of travel makes me happy. I like the period between buying a ticket and flying. Something good is out there, and I have a sense of moving toward that horizon rather than departing from it.

For me, it is the arrival to the beginning of the holiday that signals the countdown back to the default of life.

In travel, I feel the sense of existence.