Well here I am sitting in a hotel room, in Adelaide...alone. Another business trip and another time away from the ones I love. You think business travel is glamourous? You think you want to travel around for your employer? Well here's my thoughts on business travel with the experience in doing it in two different industries. What is it about business travel that makes it so "ho hum". For me there are a number of things. First the fact you generally go places you may not really have a desire to be in. Adelaide is a nice place, don't get me wrong, but there's not a lot going for the place really. Last night I walked down "Rundle St Mall" (think "Queen St, Brisbane" or "Pitt St, Sydney")...I swear I could fire a battery of cannons and not hit a soul! However the latte/Chardonnay set were jumping. Every coffee shop was packed with over-dressed 20-somethings all trying to out do each other. Gah! Gimme a pub and schooner of something cold.
Luckily for me, I stumbled on a Irish bar called "PJ's" not far from my hotel. So a Guiness or two and I was back in my element. No-one to speak to though, so it was kinda lonely. Definitely not the social atmosphere I get at Sydney Irish pubs like the Mercantile or Scruffy's.
The other aspect of location is even if you are in a place you want to be, you're so damn busy doing "work" you never get a chance to really see anything. Personally, I'd like to go check out the Barossa Valley and go on a wine tasting tour, or come back here for the Clipsal 500 (V8 SuperCar race later in March)...but if I'm here on business the chance of me seeing anything other than the crowds coming and going, are slim.
The thing that gets to me the most about business travel is the loneliness. Sure I can start a conversation with someone and chat, but that's not what I'm getting at. Company isn't hard to find, but companionship is reserved for those few people you get close to in life. The people you care about and that concern is reciprocated, ie, family and friends. Since my daughter, Emily, arrived I've been becoming increasingly jealous of my time with my family. These business trips just reinforce that jealousy, although when I'm separated like this, it manifests as loneliness.
Nat and I spoke on the phone last night and we both commented that Nat and Emily should have come with me! Sure, I'm going to be working the next 2 days...IN A ZOO! Seriously - this is a trade show being held at the Adelaide Zoo :) Nat and Emily would have a ball at the zoo, and the Adelaide Fringe Festival is on at the moment - more entertainment! The bonus would have been that we are all together...alas hindsight is a cruel thing.
I travelled etensively as an airline pilot and I can honestly say I never really liked the nights away. Nat and I had only been married for 6 months when I started flying for AirNorth and for the two and half years I flew for them, I was home for 10 months. You'd think with history like that, time apart would be something Nat and I just get used to. You'd be wrong too. We've always been very close and value our time together very much, maybe as a result of the time we spent apart early in our marriage. Either way, it's not easy sleeping in strange bed in a strange place by yourself, no matter how regularly you're apart.
I'm counting down the hours - 10:30pm Friday I get back on the ground in Sydney and I can relax again. 36 hours, 50 minutes and counting!