Road hard

Three weeks of nearly continuous business travel. Given the run of frigid weather in February, i did gain some time in sunny, relatively warm California. Sure, i got to enjoy it a bit, walking to and from the rental car, and a few days spent dining al fresco for conference luncheons… but mostly, i was in meetings from 7am until 7pm or later.

Jacked up flights, due to weather.  i missed a connection at O’Hare by fivefuckingminutes, which led to a complete re-route to an airport near my destination, requiring a rental car and about six extra hours of travel time.  Missed a half day of work as a result, but made it. And didn’t get particularly stressed out.


Similar jackage the next trip. i was halfway through a cardio workout in a hotel fitness center, when my phone lit up – 800 number.  i knew immediately that it was from the airline, likely delivering shitty news regarding my scheduled flight home the next afternoon. Rather than take the call, i finished my workout, then hauled my sweaty arse back to my room to deal with it.

As expected, my Wednesday afternoon flight was bagged, due to ice in Dallas, but they had conveniently re-booked me on the same flight for Thursday. “Well, that’s not gonna work!” A rookie traveler might have lost her shit at this point.

i dialed up my travel agent on one phone, and dialed the airline on my business mobile, while peeling off my sweaty gear. “Due to inclement weather, we are experiencing delays in customer service…” on both lines. Plugged in the phones, set both to speaker, and proceeded to call room service to order dinner…

i knew i’d have to bag the morning meetings and hook an early flight toward the east coast.  i set up my laptop, finished up the work that was required for the next morning. Room service arrived, bringing me a marginally edible flat bread pizza and a glass of wine.

As i emptied the wine glass, my travel office came back on line. Agent was able to wade through a pile of options and get me re-booked for a 6am flight. i finished the pizza. Once confirmed, it was about 9pm local time, meaning i had about 6 hours before my 3am wake up call.

Packed my clothes, sent my work off into the ether, set three alarms and was in bed within fifteen minutes. Was on the road to an airport an hour away by 4am, on a plane at half past five, and headed east around 6am.

Looking out the window. Thinking back on all the years i’ve been doing this. There was a  time when i loved it! Exciting, glamorous and chubb-inducing business action – i was a cog in my small corner of the technology world, and i enjoyed mixing it up with others in the field.

Now? It’s nice to bank all those airline miles and hotel points, but it’s just a longer commute. i try to be good at what i’m doing, but it is no longer my passion. Looking out the window of a plane, i just wanted to get home to my own bed, and my manimals.

And looking forward to the day – not that far away – when i will travel for only for recreation! Retirement lurks, and those airline miles are going to fuel a lot of roadtrips. Dive trips. Backpacking trips abroad – open ended, with no return flights booked.

Studley and i are in the midst of planning three trips between now and September. Uncharted territory – emotionally, mentally and geographically. i will continue to hop planes as a commuter, but i can assure you when i board those planes for uncharted territory, i am going to be one delighted adventurer…

i genuinely believe that a key element to happiness is having things to look forward to… i may be exhausted, but i am incredibly happy at this moment in life!

28 thoughts on “Road hard

    • It was my Mom’s greatest regret. She and Dad didn’t start traveling until they retired, but their health kept them from doing more… I am regretting that I didn’t take Mom on a roadtrip or two when she was more mobile…

    • I’m pretty jazzed for what lies ahead this summer! Even though two of the three trips are geographic ‘repeats’, we are plowing a lot of new territory – new experiences are as exciting as new places! Will do my best to keep you entertained!

  1. I think the operative phrase here would be “…didn’t get particularly stressed out.” I hazard to say that a younger Daisy would have been a bit perturbed, to say the least. Getting older has its advantages.

    You are very fortunate that although the sheen has rubbed off a bit, you spent a significant amount of your time doing something you really enjoyed. Most of us never drink from that fountain. Happy to hear you find yourself in a good space.

    • You are correct – it wasn’t all that long ago that I’d get aggravated by such disruptions. Now? You can’t count high enough to determine the number of fucks I don’t give regarding these things…

      I still love my job! Now that I’m back, parked squarely in nerd-ville and farther away from supervision and management, I look forward to coming to work each day. There’s just so much more to do outside of work, that I really want to do that full time… lucky indeed…

  2. Whilst now 5 years on from being made redundant from my old job I wistfully wonder what has happened in my regular travelling destinations, particularly South East CT and the lovely Monday evening meeting folks I made connection with there I have say the memory of that nearly 100 Trans-Atlantic trips the following snowploughs north on I95 whilst clock watching and worrying about check-in times etc. etc. I’d love to travel again but … not on someone else’s schedule!!!

    • The race to the airport, through weather, is often the most aggravating – returning rental cars, making it through security lines… I’m lucky these days to have security “pre-check” in most airports, which means computer and toiletries stay in the bag, I don’t have to take of a jacket or shoes, and the lines are generally very small and fast moving. Perqs of being a frequent flier.

      Were you able to save any frequent flier miles from those trips? I’ve got over a half million miles in the bank, and will be using that to feed my retirement travel habit! (by the way, London is on that list! would love to meet up – possibly when you’ve got a gig out somewhere!)

    • Thank you! It is deliberate. i spent many years on the sidelines, wishing i could get in the game. It took awhile for me to get the nerve to get off the bench, but i do not consider life to be a spectator sport!

      More importantly, adventure doesn’t require a lot of money, global travel or daredevil antics. It is simply embracing the quest to experience new things, push your own boundaries, learn new skills, and being open to the opportunities that sometimes fall into your lap!

        • Tonight i did something i couldn’t imagine a few years ago – posting trot on a horse, dropped reins. Can’t say i wasn’t puckered up, but i did it. And it was an adventure. And i stayed on the horse for a full circuit of the arena…. THAT is another kind of adventure! 🙂

  3. This is such a foreign world to me but i find it fascinating, i’ve talked to people in the burbs who travel constantly for work and it’s a weird and transient existence at times, at least it seems that to me, though the boyos have more stamps in their passports than any 8 or 5 year old should i think travel is a great way to learn that the world is not America, their momma and I were close to booking a trip to Reyjkavik, Iceland just yesterday but you know what? some big sap gets weird about leaving his boyos and being away from them, i guess i’m a bit different that i never look ahead, the girl is like you and likes to have something to look forward to as well, i’m perpetually stuck in the moment, i also realize that those boyos are sprouting up so fast that before i know it i’ll be moving them into a dorm or some such shit and i want to enjoy every damn minute of it, even when they drive me bat shit crazy, if you’d have told me 10 or 15 years ago i’d end up like this i would have laughed… and i’ll make Iceland one of these days… you’re quite the Zen Mama, that Studley is a lucky bastard and you can tell him i said so, haha.

    • Iceland is pretty cool! And you know what? Even though you will miss the boys, and they will miss you, they will experience new things – new feelings and adventures – while you’re away. It’s not bad – it will teach them new things. Don’t give up on the idea of such a trip. You’ll be fine! You can see a lot of Iceland in 5 days (i did it in 2007)…

      i have to work harder at being in the moment, but i find joy there, too. Getting lost in something i’m doing – a community snowball fight a few weeks ago was a great example. Reminds me of how it felt to be a little kid, coloring on the floor of the living room, or playing an intricate game of make-believe with my friends… losing track of time. Maybe it makes for a healthier couple if one tends to be firmly grounded in ‘right now’ and the other hangs those fun things on the time horizon…

      i’ll pass along your comments to Studley. i’m pretty lucky, too. Although i’m not classically ‘high maintenance’, i am difficult to love sometimes. Fiercely independent individuals can make it hard for those who like to show affection by ‘helping’. We’ve found a good balance, but it hasn’t always been rosy…

    • Some of the most memorable experiences in my life have indeed come about due to poor planning. A Greek transit strike certainly spiced up a road trip with my gal pals. While we were waiting to find out if the ferry to Athens would be running in the evening – our Plan B – nursemyra asked me “So, if this doesn’t work out, what is Plan C”. “i don’t have one. i guess we stay on the island until we figure that out….”

    • Well, hot diggity damn, there you are! So happy to see you, rf! Yes, we’re still out and about, farting around… As the man who named Studley, you should be proud – he’s still got those legs!

  4. Can’t say I miss it. I still travel just enough to remember how much I got over traveling “that way.” The academic flavor is a bit better. More varied, and generally more voluntary than the semi-weekly to DC, or one of the godforsaken places that our military stores the really bad stuff. And the feeling that I have to make it there at all costs is gone. For the personal stuff, I feel myself getting to the age where I would rather drive two days than spend three hours on a plane. It’s a shame one can’t drive to Europe.

    • I suspect i’ll do more driving trips after retirement… right now, I prefer to suck it up get where I’m going, but when time isn’t a factor, that will likely change. Studley and I are considering renting one of those mini-campers, hitching on a trailer for the motorcycles, and just driving… it could happen…

      For what it’s worth, we found a place in the south of France that rents motorcycles, so that opens up an entirely different world as well!

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