Monday, April 3, 2017
The Glamourous Life
I've been traveling on business since I started my career in association management -- twenty-four years now. In fact, my first flight on an airplane was the first time I traveled on business. It was Atlanta, if memory serves. The purpose of the trip? That was long ago lost in the fog.
My most recent trip was to Nashville. I found out I needed to go there about two weeks ahead of the travel date. There was an hour-long meeting in a hotel there that I needed to be at. Getting back and forth between Milwaukee and Nashville on the same day was a challenge given the meeting time and flight schedules, so I booked it as an overnight. Fly down, attend the meeting, work out of the hotel room, grab dinner, get some sleep, fly back. Thay was my plan. I've done it a dozen or more times before.
Then I found out that a friend of mine was going to be in Nashville over the same dates for an entirely different reason. We thought that was great. I had a free night, and he might be able to break away from the event he was attending. We'd get dinner. Find a honkey tonk. Sample the local brews.
It didn't work out that way. Through a stream of texts we figured out that he couldn't break away from his commitments as easily as he thought. He was there on business. There were functions he had to be present at. I understood. I've been in his position more times than I can count.
Here's the thing. Being alone in another city is not a strange experience for me. But being alone in another city, knowing that a friend from my hometown was six blocks away; that was a strange experience. The displacement felt more surreal than normal.
Even with all my experience, there's part of me that still marvels at the idea that I so frequently wake up in one city and go to sleep in another. One morning I'm having a room service breakfast and that evening I'm having a home cooked dinner with my family. And the most remarkable thing is how normal it all seems. It’s not anything to crow about. It's just the way our crazy world works.
I know people who don't travel much who frequently comment on how glamourous my life must be, always jetting off to another destination, staying in all these fancy hotels. But the reality is that it's not glamourous at all. Some of the perks and places are certainly nice, but the whole adventure isn't glamourous. It's normal. It's expected. It's just the way the work gets done.
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This post first appeared on Eric Lanke's blog, an association executive and author. You can follow him on Twitter @ericlanke or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.