The Realities of Traveling for Work
A lot of people in my life know that I travel a lot and that it’s one of my very favorite things to do. There’s nothing better for me than being in a different city to see all of the amazing things it has to offer. The people, the food, the culture, everything! Being in a new location offers perspective and extremely unique opportunities for growth, and I love it.
One of the ways that I’m able to travel so frequently is that I do quite a bit of traveling for work. Two weeks ago I was in Singapore with RapidAPI, this weekend I’ll be in Missouri for Major League Hacking, and next week I’ll be going to Tel Aviv for a company offsite.
Traveling for work is an incredible experience and I absolutely wouldn’t change it. However, I think because of social media and the overly romanticized idea of traveling, it’s easy to forget that a good amount of the travel I do is for work and what exactly it means to be traveling for work.
[Preface: I really want to make a note that this article talks a lot about the negative aspects of traveling for work and it doesn’t talk much at all about the positives. Please keep in mind I’m coming at this from a perspective of LOVING to travel regardless of how I’m able to do it. I love traveling for work and honestly would love to be doing it more often... So please don’t take this article as me complaining about business travel, but rather I wanted to write a blog post to help put it all in perspective for anyone who might not realize what it takes. It’s easy to only see the positives of always traveling.
Traveling for Work Is Not at All the Same as Traveling for Fun
For many, the only idea of travel that they have in their mind is the idea of traveling for a vacation or bring home for a holiday. This means that as soon as I mention that I’m traveling, it is easy to start thinking about this kind of traveling. This is understandable because the majority of traveling people do is vacationing, but it’s important to remember that these two things are extremely different.
Not all travel is going to be a vacation. Yes, I’m in these amazing, exotic places, but at the end of the day, I’m there for work, not to relax or explore. Many trips I’ll only have a little time outside of work to go see the place I’m in.
It Can Be an Exhausting Experience At Times
Always on the go, always working, it never really stops. Whenever I’m traveling for work, I do my best to make time to see the city that I’m in, but it’s not always easy. A great example of this was my trip to Singapore. I was able to spend a day during the weekend to see all of the amazing things the city has to offer, but that was only one of the eight days I could do that. The rest of the time was spent in meetings or meetups all day, then working through the weekend at an event. After working through the weekend, then I flew back on a 16-hour flight, just to go straight into two more all day back to back events in the Bay Area. It can be extremely exhausting.
You Are Either 100% on or 100% Off
Another way that business travel takes a toll on you is that you’re either 100% on or 100% off. When I travel for work, it’s typically for an event and I’m the only person I know going to the event. Being at an event, I have to be “on” throughout the entire day. Always networking, helping mentor someone on their project, in meetings, or fully engaging in some other way. Then, when I’m done for the day, it’s normally just me heading to get dinner, relaxing at the hotel, or continuing to work at the hotel. The two states of being are either go, go, go or mostly alone.
The way I try to describe it to people is that there’s never a time where you’re just casually hanging out with friends. Yes, you can meet people at the events or I’ve met some of the coolest people ever by randomly talking to them at restaurants or bars after work, but they’re always new people you’re meeting. And for me, meeting someone for the first time takes a lot more energy than casually hanging out with friends I’m comfortable with.
At the End of the Day, I Wouldn’t Change It for Anything
Sure it can be exhausting, but it is truly one of the best things I get to do for work. It allows me to see the world and meet amazing people from all over the place. It has opened up opportunities for me that I am so incredibly thankful for. And honestly, something that I’ve become self-aware about myself is that I do my best work while I’m on the go. I love working from coffee shops, flights, Uber rides, hotels, anywhere that has me moving around in new and interesting environments. I truly believe that the more I’m changing my work environment, the better the work I’m doing will be. I also think that being really busy forces me to prioritize what I’m working on and adds some excitement to the job. So at the end of the day, with all the potentially negative aspects, I still love what I’m doing and want to keep doing it more and more.
If you travel for work, I’d love to hear what you think about it down in the comments below! And please leave a clap or a comment if you liked the article, it really helps me know what to write more of.