LJWorld.com weblogs Tales from the long road. . .
Reflections of one year on the road. . .
So now I'm home for the next few months, and I've had the opportunity to sit back and think about this year. For the first time in the 14 years that I've been doing this job, I seemed to be gone the most, but honestly probably wasn't. I made trips to the Middle East, the Far East, and Europe this year. And while I was gone, I missed parent-teacher conferences, the kids' baseball and basketball games, birthdays, and more.
Here are some things I've learned this year above all others. . .
Living out of a suitcase (or a duffel bag) sucks. No matter how much you pack, or how little you try to pack, it never works out. You either haul to much crap that you have to drag with you, only to find out that you didn't need half of it, or you pack too little only to get where you're going and realize that you could have used something else. (Example: Germany in July, which is NEVER cold. Except this time. Global warming my a$$.)
Elite status on an airline is just more proof that you're an idiot. Flying 100,000 miles in a year gets you great perks on some airlines, but what does it really mean? It means you were gone WAY too much away from your family this year. Sure, you get to fly up front in a bigger, sometimes faux-leather seat. It even gets you a little better food and plenty of free booze. I used to even argue that more space meant I could spread stuff out a little more and get work done. Yeah, that's a lie. After you have a big meal and several drinks, what do you end up doing? Not working. Sleeping. . and snoring. And not sleeping really well, and feeling more tired than before. And when you finally get off of the plane at your destination 10 hours later (or 12, or in one case, 18) you look just as worn out and tired as the person coming out of the "cattle section." Oh, I forgot. . you get to board first. Hurray!! More time on the airplane then if you got on at the last minute. (A warning: if you ever find yourself in a mideastern country for several weeks, waiting for the flight home so you can get a few adult beverages? Pace yourself. Three quick bourbon and waters and you could find yourself passed out before the meal arrives. And then you wake up 5 hours into a long flight with a terrible headache and unable to go back to sleep. Yes, moron, those are the people in the back of the plane laughing at you.)
Hotels are great for a weekend. . .and they just suck after that. At least you get to unpack all of your s*** and put it away. (See lesson 1.) You can only eat at so many restaurants in Killeen, TX before you're sick of it. You can only go out to so many watering holes before you realize that they all suck. Then you're stuck looking at the same four walls, the same lousy TV, and the same lousy free breakfast everyday. Groundhog day. (The exception to the rule would be a hotel that offers "suites," so you have a method to prepare your own meals. That's good for about another week. Then you're back with the same problem.) Every time someone says "it must be great to be able to go to all of these places," I really want to hurt them. But I just smile and ignore.