Traveling Takes It Out of You

I'm writing this at 20,000 feet or so on the way to an event for work in California. I stay for about 36 hours and take the redeye back. I do this so my wife has one less morning going solo getting the kids up and ready for school. In terms of travel, I hit the road about ten times as often as my wife.

Even though I'm not a road warrior like someone in sales, I'd say I'm on the road at least once a month when all factored in. So, while I might go two months without a trip, in the next month I'm doing three west coast trips. That’s why I thought about this post.

Most of the time my trips are so jam packed with full-itineraries I don't even have time to stop and miss the kids. That sounds awful of course but on a west coast trip for example I'm usually not even alone long enough to call before the kids are in bed, and Courtney is a sound and early sleeper.

With the kids so young I try to squeeze in the travel as tightly as possible. This latest time out I’m taking a redeye but other times I'll leave right from an event for the airport. My coworkers generally take another night in a hotel and morning flight. So essentially I lose a full travel day for my family's convenience but I end up working an extra day versus everyone else.

I do enjoy the travel in some ways. I get a few hours away from the Internet on the plane — I rarely opt for in air wifi if it’s available — to put thoughts to paper, finish car reviews, work on strategy or other items I neglect in the frenetic e-mail driven days at the office or even working from home.

And I squeeze in a TV show or movie here and there, especially on these four-hour flights out west.

This trip, I left Courtney with a daughter with croup-like coughing so she had to take a sick day from work, and a son who has more of a hacking cough. It sounded like a TB ward as I left. I can't imagine how that makes Courtney feel as I jet off to San Diego, but it probably isn’t good.

I think that stresses me more than the tough timelines and schedules and workload. In the air for four hours I'm not getting text updates on how everyone is doing, nor can I make phone calls or pay bills or anything else to help with the household duties even in the minimal amounts I do. And that’s apart from being able to help with dinner or baths or getting the kids to and from school.

Like I said, I'm sure others travel even more for work than I do, but until the kids get to school age I think it'll continue to be the toughest thing I do as a parent.