As of this posting Rich and I have been on our work-travel journey for about 7 weeks. One thing I’ve learned already is that when you start out on an adventure like this, it feels like a vacation. You can’t help it. You drive off in your car equipped with the usual vacation trappings like camping gear, a suitcase, camera and personal belongings and head toward your destination. You even do the usual vacation rituals, like eating more than you should, sightseeing and taking photos.
Then one day you wake up and realize that you aren’t going home. Period. Only then do you begin to embrace and adapt to your new travel lifestyle. For me that happened sometime in Atlanta on week 3, probably because that marked the point that was longer than my longest vacation. (say that 3 times fast!)
So what’s it like to live on the road? It all depends, since your environment changes -sometimes on a daily basis. The scenery may be desert one day and the next day you’re driving through the prairie. The same goes for your ‘home life.’ First you’re avoiding tarantulas at the campground and next you’re sleeping in the guest room of a long lost relative. Then you have the wide range of people you meet and spend time with. The food you encounter changes, along with the people, like scenes from a movie . And so it goes…. Southern CA veggie burgers to barbeque ribs country, to cajun and creole food and on to Maine Lobster.
Plus, if you’re working while you travel there are variables to deal with there, too. During my first week on the road I had to learn to make friends with our newly-purchased technology. There was the adapting from my old Mac to finding the multiplicity of transferred files on my new Dell computer. Then there was my new Droid phone, which was a necessary business device that was familiar to me conceptually, but was foreign to me in practice. I found myself learning to use several of the key ‘apps’, while simultaneously untangling a myriad of cords, plugs and other devices that connected the phone to the computer, the computer to the car charger and so on. Now I’m not stranger to technology, either but taking my skills to the next level so quickly was quite a challenge!
Then for fun, Rich and I apparently figured we hadn’t mixed things up enough yet. We set it up so that I was in Atlanta with my daughter, while Rich drove up the coast to MA with his mom. Hmmm…two weeks apart did wonders for the confusion factor under these circumstances.
In any case a quick inventory is in order here. Before I take it, I must add one disclaimer: Rich and I knew that this part of the trip would be more intense and fast paced. We won’t always keep up this pace of travel or activity, but wanted to get to Disney and then New England due to weather and other timing issues.
Anyway, during this supercharged part of our travels, together Rich and I have driven through 20 states, camped about a dozen times, slept at about six relative’s and one friend’s homes, had lunch with a few people we’d never met before, visited about 40 different people, fully toured 4 Disney World Theme Parks, and conducted business in about 30 different settings.
We’ve decorated homes, climbed mountains, changed diapers, visited a small town festival, and computed in coffee shops. We’ve experienced temperatures ranging from 30 degrees to 105 degrees, and driven through dust devils to massive lightening storms. Not a bad start!
Consequently, while passing through various time zones I’ve begun making mental notes that help me to make the most of my new lifestyle. By no means do I have it all figured out, but here’s my starting of my Travel Sanity List:
- Pace Yourself: Since you’re not on vacation really, no need to try and fit everything into the first two weeks or months. Balance is key, something I’ve had to work on even when not traveling.
- Keep your priorities straight. After a few minor but challenging consequences I now remember that my priorities are these- 1. my health, 2. my marraige, and 3. my finances/biz.
- Act in alignment with your priorities.
- Treat some actions as sacred. You know that it’s a must that you brush your teeth every day, so do the same for your other personal care, such as taking your vitamins, going to the salon, and buying organic – or whatever you consider priority.
- When planning for time, simply double it. Such as how long it will take to see the relatives/friends you plan to visit. There’s an interesting phenomenon and that’s this. If you want to see 10 relatives in three weeks, you’ll miraculously learn of another 3 that simply must see you.
- Get enough sleep and rest! We began our trip overtired from packing and planning. Only now am I beginning to get caught up on lack of sleep.
- Eat right and move. Assuming health is a priority for you, you must recognize that you aren’t on vacation, and that you’ll want to honor the healthy routines you had while at home.
- Remain flexible. I’ve learned that I seem to really have a controlling side, where I want my environment well organized. That’s fine but it can drive you crazy if you don’t remain flexible.
There you have it. I’m sure I’ll be adding some more wisdom as we go along on our journey. It helps that we’re stationed in Massachusetts until mid-November, so we aren’t on the move quite so much. Also, sometime in January we’ll slow the pace down even more.
Meanwhile we feel fortunate to enjoy this unique and amazing time in our lives, which we’ve worked to attain for the past two years. So far it’s been a pleasure to catch up with relatives, see a sprinkling of the U.S. and learn to work from our laptops as we go. That observation – coming from a woman who recently ate 16 ice creams in 14 days and is alive to tell it!