This week I’m travelling for work. I absolutely love the concept of work travel, but, usually, by the time the trip rolls around, I am loathe to go on the trip. Why? No frickin’ clue!
You’d think it would be a fabulous perk. Staying at a plush hotel, flying off to some fabulous location (this week it’s San Francisco), eating each meal at a gourmet restaurant, mingling with intelligent colleagues, free drinks, night life, and on, and on, and on…
But, the reality is that it sucks. This is not a “work vacation” as the wife describes it. She thinks I’m jetting off to a week-long vacation funded by work. She doesn’t realize that I’m still working while on this trip and that I have to be “on” all day long.
The hotel is always a pain. Something is wrong with the room. For some reason I almost always get the room that is right next to the family with the crying baby. All night long I get to listen to the baby.
Flying is a miserable experience. It’s no longer the golden age of air transportation. People seem to be at their worst when they fly. Airlines have made it impossible to get comfortable and enjoy jet travel. I have long legs & I’ve yet to enjoy a flight where the person in front of me hasn’t leaned back and crushed my knees.
The food ends up not being gourmet. I’m travelling for a conference, so I’m eating hotel ballroom food for the majority of my meals. It’s infrequent any more when a vendor will take us out to a nice steakhouse. Nope, overcooked banquet chicken is the standard fare for this trip.
Rarely do I find intelligent colleagues to mingle with. At these types of events I seem to encounter two types of people. Type 1 is the person who is over the top about the conference. They are asking all of the questions, have read all of the materials – in advance, know the schedule backwards and forwards, and are quite simply annoying. The Type 2 person is all about the night life. They know which bars have the best drinks, hottest bartenders, and liveliest entertainment. They are looking to score with as many of their fellow attendees as they possibly can. I fit in neither of these two groups.
For this type of conference, I’m there as an observer. I want to see what happens, talk to some interesting people, learn a few tips and tricks, and get back to my hotel room for an early night. I want to sleep in peace, set the room temperature to Arctic cool and just enjoy some alone time. If I’m lucky, on this trip I’m going to get some amazing clam chowder or other San Francisco treat, even if I have to skip one of the conference organized activities.
My biggest joy will be returning home. I haven’t even left for the trip yet and I’m already longing to return home.