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Traveling for work - a mini vacation?

Categories: Career Talk, Your life


Yesterday I left for my first overnight business trip in about a year. I am in Chicago, at Blogher, and this is the first time that I am going to be away from my daughter for a few nights in a row. I traveled when I was in venture, but I squeezed most trips into just one day.

When I got to the airport, my flight was cancelled and I had 4 hours to do… nothing. My WiFi connection was misbehaving so there was no checking emails or doing work. My natural inclination was to get annoyed at this but when I came to my senses I realized that I had 4 hours to do NOTHING! I couldn’t go back home to be with my daughter (she was in daycare anyway), so there was no guilt involved, and I couldn’t very well get the flight to take off any sooner. I was on a 4-hour vacation.

I went to the bookstore and bought two books -one, a trashy political thriller, another, something I’d wanted to read for a while. Then I went to the food court and bought too much food that was not good for me. I settled into a seat in the waiting area and for the next few hours I just ate and read and people watched. It would be a lie to say that I was completely relaxed - I’m not sure I know how that feels anyway - but it was close.

I read an article before about about working moms enjoying business trips because of the chance to get away from the daily juggle and get some extra sleep. Penelope Trunk, our Career Contributor, recently wrote a great article about traveling to promote her book. The title, Tips for moms with laptops: Dance on the bed, gives a hint of what she wrote about. She left her house feeling guilty and conflicted about traveling and not seeing her kids. By the end of the day she was dancing on her bed and ordering room service. This business trip was her little vacation. Now I know what she meant! (No room service for me, but dancing on the bed? Considering it.)

Do you travel for business? Do you look forward to it as a way to get a break and catch up on sleep?  Do tell!

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5 comments so far...

  • I don’t currently travel for work but trips to Sweden may be in my future. That said, I used to travel for work. It was undoubtedly EASIER when I was married because there was someone else to tend to children, pets and house while I was away. Traveling as a single mother was a bit more challenging but depending on the length (read: level of RUSHEDNESS - is so a word) the trip was either a nice get away or pure hell. There were times, as a single parent, when I needed to travel with only days notice. That can be hard to coordinate when your ex-spousal unit is 40 minutes away. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with work travel over the years. For the most part, I love it. But when it takes me a week before and after the trip to get things coordinated and/or back on schedule it is a bit stressful.

    KathyHowe  |  July 27th, 2007 at 5:59 pm

  • This post reminded me of the first time I traveled to a conference, at which I would stay in a hotel room by myself for the first time in my life. I was actually writing a book at the time, and I set up my laptop in my hotel room, and I both read and wrote (in between conference sessions and schmoozing) devotedly while I was there.

    It was bliss.

    On the way home from the conference, I read a fantastic book all day in the airports and on my flights.

    That conference was to a city I don’t love, but I didn’t care because I didn’t even want to leave the perfect solitude of my room there. Since then, I have traveled many times.

    I still love staying in hotels alone– though traveling with friends is great fun too!

    (Oh, yeah, those trips were all for work…)

    Jen Creer  |  July 27th, 2007 at 8:46 pm

  • The first time I slept through the night in over 2 years (9 months of pregnancy plus 18 months of baby) was on a business trip.

    However, they are not stress free, because I am getting calls from home at 6:30 am because no one can find a pacifier, and at 5:55 pm asking what time the preschool closes (6 pm!).

    The #1 advantage to me is that I do get a bunch of work done in the early AM before a conference, and in the evening after the conference, and on the plane — since I am not multi-tasking with taking care of Gracie and running a household. :)

    Elizabeth Potts Weinstein  |  July 28th, 2007 at 3:10 pm

  • This is my first response to a blog. I couldn’t pass this one up. I am a new mother of triplets. They are almost 4 months old. I had to go back to work when the were 10 weeks old. My first business trip was one week later for a night in Chicago to meet with our CEO. I was nervous enough about the trip, never mind leaving my husband with 3 premature infants. But I have to admit, it was quite nice. I slept for 8 hours straight in the hotel. Heaven!! Walking in the door upon my arrival home, I found a sleeping husband, and snoring dog and 3 sweet babies. Not that I am looking to travel often, but every once and a while may be a good thing for me and my hubby. Managing the dog and the babies wore him out and I think it made him realize just how much I do.

    Nicole  |  July 29th, 2007 at 6:40 am

  • I am just about to travel to Las Vegas for 4 days/nights. I am so nervous. I have twins who were in the NICU for 4.5 months and those were the only times that I have been away from them overnight.
    I appreciate the notes of all the positive experiences from all the Moms. I love your stories. If you have any tips for leaving 2 year olds, that would be great also. How far ahead do you start talking about the trip? Do you call at specific times? Do you leave them anything special from you?

    Donna  |  October 16th, 2007 at 12:11 pm