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Is work-related travel real travel?

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Over the past eight years, I have traveled extensively for work—to the staples like NYC and Chicago—along with places well off the beaten path. There was a six-stop Pokémon video game tour where I was “iced” using the back of a toilet in Hawaii, an overnight outdoor load-in in Tigard, OR where the lights turned off, it pissed rain, and I had a panic attack in front of my coworker, an incredibly painful bite by a mystery monster bug on the sideline of a football game in Abilene, TX, a week where we bounced between Portland and Seattle with Manchester United… Countless silly, traumatic, and often funny (in hindsight) experiences, and yet I’ve never written about any of them here; I had a complete writing block when it came to work-related travel. In a way, it didn’t feel like “travel” at all.

Traveling on the company dime is so dramatically different than my personal travel style, which is perhaps why I never wrote about it previously. It’s comfortable, expensive, and can often be to a place that I have no desire to visit. The side of me that appreciates the consistency of a Hampton Inn stands opposite the side of me that prefers hostels and finds a $25 salad downright offensive. I couldn’t help but break into a lunatic’s laugh at the absurdity of the situation when I found myself in a $450/night Holiday Inn in Manhattan (the cheapest option) just days after camping in Crete for $8/night. Not only was there a complete lack of street dogs outside my door, but there was a mint on my pillow. Come on.

When we launched a Sydney office in March of 2014, I didn’t have more than a few hours to myself during the two-week trip. I had even said to my friends, “I could have been anywhere” in reference to the fact that I spent most of my time running between the Hilton and the office. But that’s where I was wrong. When I really think about those two weeks, there were so many unique experiences that I glossed over because I was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work that needed to be done. We rented a kombi from an incredible free spirit named George in Melbourne and saw a pack of kangaroos on our way from his farm back to the city. I threw a launch party on a floating venue in Sydney Harbour overlooking the Opera House as lightening shimmered in the distance. I got to spend a few hours in both Manly Beach and Bondi. These are not things that I get to do at home.

From here on, I need to remember one thing—I’m damn lucky that travel is part of my career. I’m lucky that I haven’t been relegated to a desk where every day is the same; that I’ve seen cities and states that I never would have visited on my own. Instead of compartmentalizing work travel and personal travel, I need to find a way to approach both with the same curiosity. Of course that is easier said than done when a work trip entails seeing the inside of a venue or office for 90% of my time in a city, but hey, suck it up sweetheart. There’s always time for a quick adventure.

I just wrapped up another week-long work trip in Sydney. I found myself with a few evenings entirely to myself and instead of scurrying home on Friday, I stayed for the holiday weekend (the Queen’s birthday). Because, you know, I was already on the other side of the world and all. As I sit on my plane home, I’m ready to kick this writer’s block and share a bit of what I saw and did. Please excuse the rust, but Off She Goes is back.

 

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1 comment

  1. Kelly

    yeaaah, suck it up sista! ;P love your blog! love your writing! love you! come back and play volleyball with us….

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