Travel Comma

People remind us to reduce our daily carbon footprint; either by using public transportation, being a vegetarian, or–in a more advanced level–retrofitting our houses. I think, if you really want to mitigate the amount of carbondioxide waste, you should ask the government to simply bomb the entire Jakarta and rebuild it. Put energy-efficient apartments next to environmentally-friendly offices, malls somewhere in the corner, and ban car companies. Voila, almost zero fossil-fuel used everyday! But no, darling, we can’t afford such magic. People will still commute and use transportation to move from place to place.


Alright. That intro paragraph wanders way too far from the main idea of this post. As a matter of fact, it has nothing to do with the rest of this article: an experience everyone must have had, travel coma.

I’ve just found the phrase from Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists (Abbey Pinola) as “She drifts back into her travel coma,” and I was like snap! This is totally the term I was looking for! Again, sometimes someone else happens to have a better way to describe concepts that you have in mind.

Let me take the liberty to define this phrase. You know that long state of complete voidness when you’re a passenger in a car, train, or bus from one place towards a particular destination where your mind unconsciously sets itself off somewhere–often memories, ideas, visualization of future, wishes, or simply total black out? While physically, most of us will stare vacantly out the window, to the cloud, trees, or those people passing by.

Somehow, I personally think that is when brains are in their best performance: pure, unopinionated, half-witting, barrierless, and plain. I believe that it’s one of those occasions when it can emit alpha waves:

Such brain waves are often associated with states of relaxation and peacefulness during meditation and biofeedback. Recent evidence indicates that activities promoting alpha waves appear to have positive health benefits.

You see, my mind usually comes up with interestingly debatable thoughts or stories when I’m riding a train. It just happens like that. Being engaged in a conversation might also trigger and develop ideas in a different way, but it’s never completely yours.

Unlike sleeping where you’re in utter unawareness of what’s going on, travel coma allows you to have a leak of concentration in response to certain sounds or voices, but until then, the control over your brain is conquered by the subconscious.

Intriguing how our mind works, eh?



  1. You may rephrase "in a car, or train, or bus" into "as a PASSENGER in a car, or train, or bus".having a travel coma while you’re controlling a ride might results accidents.


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