My previous post highlighted some of the main things I struggle with during extended work travel. Like everything in life, work travel isn’t 100% perfect all of the time. That being said – it’s an amazing opportunity especially as a twenty-something with no house, family, etc. to worry about. I know how lucky I am to go on these trips, and there are a number of reasons I wouldn’t dream of trading them in for a more sedentary job.
EXPLORING NEW CITIES
By far the best part of work travel is getting to visit so many new cities. Since I started traveling for work, I’ve become obsessed with reading and creating travel guides that show you the “real” spots in cities across America. No TripAdvisor recommendations for me!
When you’re in a city for over a week, you can really start to get a feel for it – and I’ve fallen in love with quite a few cities on the road. It’s also made me realize that while European and international travel is a great experience – there is SO MUCH to explore in our own country.
Chicago, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles, San Jose, St. Louis, Washington DC, Buffalo, Toronto, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Vancouver, Detroit, Nashville, Columbus, Minneapolis and Boston are all places I’ve gotten to go for work. And each time I visit a new state or city, it makes me anxious to get to the next spot on my list (which is rapidly growing!)
GETTING OUT OF THE OFFICE
I don’t think anyone dreams of sitting in a cubicle day in and day out. It can be monotonous, boring and mind-numbing. It’s certainly wanderlust-inducing. Having my year broken up with intermittent trips does a lot to keep me from feeling trapped in an office.
When I travel, sure, I’m in another office setting – but it’s a change of pace and a change of scenery that makes office-life bearable the other days of the year.
This one is definitely a double-edged sword. As someone who is border-line-obsessed with restaurants and food, I would be remiss not to include this on my list.
I touched on the reasons that it isn’t all its chalked up to be – eating out 3 meals a day for weeks on end can in fact make you feel like crap – but I think the reasons that it’s awesome are fairly obvious.
My hands down favorite meal ever was at Girl and the Goat in Chicago on a work trip. I still think about the soft-serve spot I found, and frequented, in Philadelphia. Is there anything better than a company-paid acai bowl on the Venice Beach boardwalk? And it goes without saying that my donut-escapades would not be possible without my various work trips!
SEEING YOUR HARD WORK PAY OFF
When I’m on the road, it’s typically for an event that my job is putting on. I can’t imagine a better reward for weeks of hard work and long hours on the road than seeing these large-scale events come to fruition. Not only do I get to see the events unfold, but I get to see fans enjoying them!
I still get chills and tear up at some of our events – and it’s during those moments that the exhaustion and tears and missed moments at home – the stress over crappy food choices and missed training runs – matter a whole lot less and it all seems worth it. Because my job is pretty damn awesome.
WORK HARD PLAY HARD
In my experience, when people are on the road and dealing with long hours, stressful days, and lack of routine – they tend to gravitate towards bars at the end of the day.
There is never a shortage of people ready to go out for a drink at the end of the day and there are many fun nights on the road. Open bars and free food and parties abound.
I’ve gotten to see concerts, sporting events and more as part of my work trips. In fact, my first NBA game was made possible by a work trip! It’s not all work, all the time, though you are always with coworkers so it’s important to keep that in mind while you’re enjoying yourself.
The bond you form with coworkers that you travel with is a lot different than a typical office setting. There are many more opportunities to talk and interact in non-traditional settings and situations. Get your head out of the gutter – all I’m trying to say is that the vibe on the road is much more relaxed. Wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants and working out of a trailer tends to put people in a different mindset than they are in a corporate office building in Times Square.
Granted, running into coworkers at the gym in the mornings took some getting used to, but we’re all in it together which is a cool feeling. It’s kind of like being on a sports team or in a gang when you take over a hotel with your coworker #squad.
The biggest bonus of work travel is that you automatically have people who get it. All those things I talked about that are hard to deal with when you’re constantly traveling for work? The things you can’t quite find the words to explain to friends and family back home? Your work friends know exactly what it’s like.
I’ve formed extremely close friendships with the people that I spend time on the road with. It’s important to keep your work life and personal life separate, but there are also instances where forming a friendship that transfers outside of the work-realm is necessary.
It seems to me that most people end up with that one friend in particular who is not only their coworker but one of their best friends IRL as well. Call it your “work-wife” if you will – this person is the one who keeps you sane and is single-handedly responsible for getting you through those long trips. They’re the one who calms you down when you’re ready to have a break down. They’re the one who knows about things going on in your life outside of work and can have a totally non-work-related conversation with you at the end of the day. They’re the one who you’ll eat dinner with in the hotel lobby when you can’t bear another dinner out with the department.
BREAK FROM SOME OF LIFE'S RESPONSIBILITIES
I’m not going to lie – getting a break from doing laundry and dishes and making your bed can be nice. Sure I miss my apartment on the road, but it’s nice to come home to a hotel room where everything has been cleaned. I have fresh towels and a new batch of toiletries and I could even have dinner delivered to my room every night if I wanted to.
As a resident of NYC – a week or more of taking taxis whenever I need to get somewhere instead of trekking to and from my destinations on the subway is a great mental break.
SKYMILES & OTHER SUPERFICIAL THINGS
Of course there are some superficial perks as well – and I can’t pretend they aren’t pretty cool:
- Racking up my own Skymiles every time I fly
- Ditto for hotel points
- Starbucks err day - make it a Venti for good measure
- Not having to stress if my luggage is overweight – which it usually is
- Making bank in overtime
- Free outfitting for every event
- Visiting November Project workouts throughout the US and Canada!
So there you have it! Why it’s all worth it. Up next, how to stay healthy on the road – how to keep fit and how to eat okayish.