Another long overnight flight, again in economy. Last time was Doha, before that was Hangzhou. This trip is to Dubai. The more I travel, the more I long for Milwaukee. Despite what you may have heard, Milwaukee is lovely, especially in the summertime, but it is not the city I long for.
One of the biggest dilemmas I have as a business traveler and parent is balance. I’m blessed to be able to travel as part of my job. Granted, it is far from luxurious most of the time, and much of my travel is domestic, but I do occasionally get to see the world thanks to my work.
Travel is something that I’ve been passionate about for a long time. I love the flexibility my job allows me. But every time I’m away from home I miss my family. I’ve been married for more than a decade (!), and while I certainly miss my wife when I’m on the road, it is much more difficult to be away from my young daughter.
Now that my daughter is 2, I realize how much I am missing when I’m away. It was hard enough when she was a newborn, but it is much worse now among many reasons, her endless questions, “Why is Daddy gone?” “Where did Daddy go?” “Daddy, are you at work?”.
Most of my business travel is within North America, but the latter part of the year has had much more long haul international travel. Recently, I’ve had multiple trips to the Middle East. In Qatar and the UAE, FaceTime is blocked. Besides the time difference, FaceTime is the most frequent way I communicate with family when traveling, so this is another hassle. Thankfully Skype is a valid backup.
I’m often asked how long I will keep working and traveling like this. While I can’t predict the future, I am not planning on any imminent changes. As I get older, I realize I have routines that I like, and try to keep things in my comfort zone when able. My job has certainly evolved over the years, both positively and negatively, but the thought of going back to a job that is office based with little or no travel would be tough, and I don’t think it is a move I’m interested in at this time.
As I mentioned earlier, balance is key. As they say, all things in moderation. When I’m not traveling, I definitely miss being on the road, but when I’m away even for a short time, I miss my family at home so much more. With some major exceptions, this year has had some better balance, longer stretches at home, which is much more important to me now.