Less Travel, Please
Somewhere between last Halloween and the twinkling lights of Christmas, I made the goal to travel less in 2017. Yes, to travel less.
I realize traveling is something a lot of people aspire to do more of. I also realize I’m extremely lucky to do so much of it! 2017 took me on a worldwide tour of sorts. I flew across the U.S., to New York City; back and forth between San Francisco and Los Angeles; to Washington, D.C., Chicago. I globe trotted to Dublin, Singapore, India, several times to London; to Paris; to Berlin; Mexico City. I could go on, but you get the idea. I was on a plane, a lot.
My journeys allowed me to meet hundreds of extraordinary women in tech, giving me the opportunity to shake their hands, hear their stories, and see their startups in action. Yet, while my world view continued to be enriched, I wondered if I was losing a bit of myself along the way.
What non-stop travel looks like
For me, my endless chain of trips became a stress trigger in my life. This isn’t to say that I didn’t appreciate meeting with so many Girls in Tech members around the globe. But there’s also a very physical reality of travel: I am only one person. And when I’m across the world, I’m missing out on the daily grind of both personal and professional life here in San Francisco.
It was rising at 4 a.m. to catch my early morning flight out of SFO; working in a crowded airport coffee shop with spotty WiFi. Middle of the night meetings to accommodate my U.S. corporate team; brutal jet lag; getting sick on the road and managing to grin and bear it through the morning meetings ahead.
Relationships falter when someone is on the road non-stop. I missed friends’ birthdays, date nights with my boyfriend. I also wasn’t here to ride out the grueling work week alongside my employees. This isn’t the sexy side of travel; it’s the grinding nature of it when you do it year-round.
Everything in moderation
I’m never going to stop traveling (in fact, I’m writing this from France, where I just attended a powerful retreat with my incredible team!). It’s just that last year reminded me that everything in life is about moderation. Many people say that, but it’s harder to practice.
There’s a lot I want to accomplish in life — travel is just one goal. When I tone down my travel schedule just a notch, I once again find myself looking forward to the exhilaration of somewhere unexplored and new. I also give myself the time to unapologetically be me — to walk along the Bay near my home, to see friends for dinner, to veg on a Friday night.
A new appreciation for home
Travel is an incredible opportunity — snatch it if you can. But it shouldn’t mean sacrificing health and wellness and peace. I let these things go for a while last year. By working hard to find balance, this year I’ve given myself the gift of enjoying more fulfilling relationships here at home, of slowing down to enjoy the moment and of remembering what comes first: me and my health.