Travel Burn

The cost of travel is higher than you think.

I don’t just mean that it “wears you out” or that it increases the probability of “burning out” over the long term. No, this isn’t about me… it’s about my family. Travel is hard on them, all of them, but most of all my wife.

For a little perspective on the topic, I’m writing this after having traveled a lot for some previous jobs… the Marine Corps, specifically. I would regularly get temporarily assigned duty (TAD) orders for 2 week trips to help with training events, run an airport, unload a ship or load a train. Larger trips included a 3 month stint in Kuwait and a full 12 months in Baghdad, Iraq. Then, while at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) I would regularly deploy for 30 to 60 days to remote locations in Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Palau, India and Vietnam.

That said, most of those occurred when it was just Lindsey and I. Thanks to satellite phones and a lot of international pre-paid minutes it was survivable. However, now it’s Lindsey, me and three kids. So the recent back to back travel — 4 days away in NYC as a volunteer mentor, 2 days in Laramie for an advisory board meeting, 3 days away in Omaha for the Berkshire Hathaway meeting and now 3 days away in San Francisco for a conference — has resulted in Lindsey being alone with 3 kids…


I’ll just let that sink in. For those of you with one or two kids, yes, it’s as bad as it sounds. For those without kids… well… yeah. Three kids! If I were to put this into nerd speak and try to come up with an equation for the burn of a trip it would go something like…

Burn = ((Days-Stars) * Miles)^kids
Days = Length of Trip
Stars = Stars of hotel
Miles = Miles traveled
Kids = Number of kids that are being cared for at home by a single caregiver

This isn’t me saying my family or marriage is about to fall apart (right, hon?). Lindsey is strong. Amazingly strong and has built an incredible support network that will drop everything to help each other out. Instead, this is just me saying I’m going to be more careful.

In the future I need to make sure trips don’t end up being back to back as these have. Future trips also need to be viewed in the light of whether they’re absolutely necessary and…

Worth the burn.

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