I don't normally travel for work. Like at all. I send people on travel. But me? I just don't travel.
It's not that I really despise business travel. Actually I like it a bit. I like going to a new city, eating good food that isn't available in my small town, shopping at places we don't have (hello Trader Joes, Whole Foods... yes, I grocery shop on travel). I like to be a bit of a tourist and try to usually set aside a bit of time at each destination to see things I wouldn't normally see and to take in the local culture.
But traveling is difficult for a working mom. I miss my kids deperately. I am lucky that I have a very capable husband who supports me in my career. But being a single parent for a week is rough. Not to mention my husband's work schedule - he works four 10 hour days, leaving the house at 5:30 am and returning at 6pm thanks to the nearly hour long commute. Me being gone? It's just hard on the whole family. People tell me that it is good for the kids to rely on others, to rely on daddy. Maybe.
Lately I seem to go to DC every 6 months or so, which is one of my favorite destinations. There is so much to see and do in DC. Over the years I have hit most of the Smithsonian museums, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, Arlington National Cemetary, the Lincoln Memorial and the WWII Memorial. Not to mention hanging out in Georgetown, seeing an opera at the Kennedy Center and mastering the Metro. The Air and Space Museum has the best gift shop. A normal tourist would likely see all these things in a single trip. But when you are factoring in that I am fitting this all in between meetings and most of these sites are only open 8am to 5pm, I have done pretty good with my DC trips. AB is headed to Baltimore for a week of business travel in June. I am very excited for him and am planning his itinerary.
Last week I flew to DC, managed to eat good sushi one night, got up the next morning and headed to the meeting then took the most crowded Metro ride to Union Station (this was my little bit our being a tourist where I wandered Union Station for 30 minutes and bought two little trinkets for the kids). Then I boarded the train to Philadelphia to spend two days with my most favorite client.
That was a whirlwind trip. No real touristy things on that trip. Next time I am in DC the Spy Museum is on my list. My coworker tells me that the gift shop there rivals the one at the Air and Space museum for bringing goodies back for the kids.
I went to Albuquerque this week. I left Monday afternoon and hung out with the work crowd that I haven't hung out with in years. It started stressful for me, but ended okay, save for the miserable presentation I gave at the end. I think my mind had just given up. I don't know how people who travel regularly do it. I truly don't.
My willingness to go to Albuquerque for the entire week was prompted largely by the fact that I have never been to the desert Southwest. I find this odd particularly since I grew up in Colorado. It just isn't that far away from Colorado!
I had a teleconference on Wednesday that I had to sneak out for, this provided a good opportunity for me to duck out for the entire afternoon and fulfill my need to be a tourist for a bit.
I headed down to Old Town Albuquerque and immersed myself in the culture.
Oh and I did a bit of shopping too. I also roasted... After weeks of cool weather back home and cool weather on the east coast, I was completely unprepared for the heat of Albuquerque.
The best food I ate during this trip was a visit to Little Anita's in Old Town. I wasn't terribly hungry, though I needed to get back to the hotel and get some stuff done there. So I grabbed a bowl of green chili and a couple of sopaipillas.
AB asked me if the green chili was better than his. What an unfair question!
AB's green chili is hotter than hell and he smokes the meat he puts in his chili, which imparts a smokey flavor to the chili. It wasn't better, it was just different. I would have called this green chili mild, and I was surprised by the chunks of potatoes. The meat was the standard pork but simmered to shreds. And the sopaipillas... Sopaipillas are the reason I never made it to the cupcakery across the street from my hotel.
I gave my failure of a presentation on Thursday... normally I do well at presentations. This one I faltered. (Tritium Producing Burnable Assembly Rods, Tritium Producing Burnable Assembly Robs... why could I not say this? And why did I have to attempt it over and over?)
I headed to Whole Foods, then a quick trip to Trader Joes. I picked up Meditteranean style munchies for dinner, as well as a half a bottle of wine (and another corkscrew, this one IS going in my luggage for good so I don't have to keep buying them while traveling) also a slice of ultra dense chocolate cake.
I did succeed in finding a variety of frozen chilis to take home to AB this morning that I packed in my luggage and hope stay frozen for the day of travel. If not, I suppose we will be making green chili this weekend!
My next trip is slated for mid-August to head back and see my favorite Philly client again. AB is hoping that the fact that I have my next travel scheduled isn't indicative of a trend that seems to plague the majority of my coworkers. Nope. I am going back to the no travel mantra. Ok, except for my annual program review with my second favorite client... and maybe for the summons issued to me by favorite client. But other than that? No more business travel!