Staying On Track While On The Road

Untitled design

Traveworkaholic A person who travels very frequently for work, in addition to balancing a very hectic work schedule.  You have it a bit worse than the regular workaholics.

  • You pay bills at home but rarely see the inside of this home. In fact, your body has managed to adapt to the less than comfortable bed of most hotels.
  • From a picture, you can win any game of Name That Airport for every major airport, and some not so major ones. You know which airlines are prone to delays. In fact, you know from experience they are all the same.
  • You not only get a paycheck, you also get paid in frequent flyer miles and free hotel stays.
  • If you’re lucky, you get to fly Business or First class. As a young Black woman, you have gotten used to the disbelieving stares when you make your way to the Premium boarding lane.
  • Some of you travel the same route so often that the airport staff recognize you and may even greet you by name. Lol.
  • Your suitcase stays packed. You have 2 sets of toiletries, one for home which you barely use, and travel-sized versions stored in your suitcase permanently.

It’s hard enough for a Workaholic to stay on track.  It can be doubly difficult to stay on track when away from home. Here are some reminders for while you’re out there:

First of all, be safe! You may be traveling in areas you are unfamiliar with.  Be careful.  God has blessed you with a well functioning intuition. Use it. Years ago, I was required to take bi-monthly trips to a very small town in the Midwest. One you probably never heard of. The nearest airport was 1.5 hours away and I had to drive on a one-lane country road at night in the dead of winter to get to my hotel. Also, I had no cell phone reception the entire drive. In the 6 months I did this, I never saw another Black person. The hairs on the back of my neck would rise every time I made this drive. I refused to even stop to refill my gas tank. Would pay for the full tank of gas at the airport. Maybe I could have been more…adventurous but at the time all I could think was, I’m sorry. I am not trying to be a hero. I do not want to end up on the local 7 pm news.

Be smart about your food and drink choices. This one is hard. You are on the road. Sometimes your team mates want to grab a steak dinner every night. They want to drink wine till 11 pm and be back in a conference room at 7 am. You don’t want to go really.  You have not even decided if you like these people like that. But you have to. You do not want to miss out or be considered the antisocial Black woman.
Here’s what I say. Go. Once.  Maybe even suggest the place. Pick a place that has healthy options. Something  for everyone. Stay a bit and then make a graceful exit. Oh, and I learned this one the hard way…take your own rental car so you don’t have to be stuck waiting for your inebriated coworker to give a you a ride back to the hotel.

When I arrive at my travel destination, I usually make my first stop a grocery store. I grab a few large bottles of water, healthy snacks, fruit, etc and I store them in the hotel fridge. Oh and stay away from that minibar.

Move. Oh, you are not exempt just because you are traveling. Most hotels have gyms now. Yes, there may only be one treadmill and one elliptical. So get there first. Lol. Or use a workout video on  YouTube. Play some Salsa and Reggaeton and do some Zumba (one of my faves).

Don’t lose track of your loved ones. If you travel frequently,  this is a challenge. You have a family, friends, partners.  Their lives do not stop because you are traveling. A friend of mine, a lawyer at a large firm, had to travel to depose a witness. The witness continued to evade deposition. So her one day trip turned into a six day stay. How can you plan for that? You can’t really.

Thankfully, technology has made this more…bearable…with Skype and Facetime. Use it as much as possible.

Try to take it all in. Despite all the cons, I actually like traveling for work. I get to go to some cool places. Although 90% of my time is spent in a conference room,  I take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days for myself. Make it count for something. And if you can, once in a while, take a loved one with you (on yours or their dime, of course). Your family, a friend, a boyfriend, a husband. What better way to bribe them to forgive you for all the long hours you’ve been working anyway 😉

Okay my traveworkaholics.  What else did I miss? Any stories from your travels? Please follow and share your thoughts.