I travel. A lot. I’m gone usually every other week, anywhere from 3-5 days at a time. Sometimes it’s a longer stint – soon I’ll be gone for two weeks straight, gallivanting along the eastern seaboard before crossing the pond to London for the first time in my life.
Don’t get me wrong – I kind of dig business travel. It’s let me see a lot of cool, new places. You eat good food and usually sleep in a nice hotel. I’ve even been able to spend a lot more quality time with friends that I work with, whether it’s traveling with them or staying with them while I visit headquarters (I work from home part of the time).
But when you’re gone every other week, you kind of lose that isn’t-travel-awesome?! glow. Like, fast. Suddenly I can’t see one more plane, train or automobile without wanting to FREAK OUT about all the time I don’t have to be freaking gone ALL. OF. THE. TIME.
I’ve done this routine for over three years now, and I’ve learned a thing or two about being a Road Warrior without going off the deep end or lamenting about how hard my life is on a near-daily basis.
1. You choose to travel. Nobody’s making you do anything.
It REALLY doesn’t look like this is true – I mean, it’s my job! They say that travel is part of it! I don’t really have a choice about that! Except that’s bullshit. I signed up to be a consultant. If travel is really such an incredibly hard hardship, then I need to go find another job. Nobody is making me stay. Hell, most of the time I’m even asked if I’m available to go before I’m signed up on a project. I have to remind myself – I chose this. I can always choose something else if I’m that bent out of shape about it.
2. Don’t waste your weekend (or your Monday night, or your whatever-day-before-you-leave) upset that you have to leave.
Do you know how many weekends I’ve tanked due to a near-fatal case of the “I-don’t-wannaaaaas”? TOO MANY. I’ve even lost whole nights of sleep over the worry that I’m leaving. What I’ve discovered? This is useless. Crazy, even. You’re going to leave anyway. It’s not like the fact that you crapped all over your weekend or stayed awake until 20 minutes before your alarm goes off at 4 AM is going to change that. You might as well enjoy your time at home and get some damn rest (still working on this part for myself) before you’re off again.
3. Stay in-tune with your home life. You may leave, but don’t disappear.
If you have somebody at home with you – a spouse, a child, many children, a dog, a plant – take care of them when you travel. Call home often. Make sure that the travel set up works for everybody. It can be easy to just try to take care of yourself – especially if you are busting your ass working while on the road – but it’s just as hard for your family for you to be gone as it is for you to go.
4. You CAN have it all. You just have to think a little harder and try a little more.
Frequent travel means you’re going to miss some things at home. It means you’re going to sacrifice. But the sooner you can get point #1, the sooner you can start making choices and tackling how every little bit of your world is going to thrive, even if you don’t get to be at every single event or spend a ton of time on every thing or every person in your life. Quality over quantity, folks.