Is Frequent Travel Glamorous Or Gloomy?

Yes.  🙂

Oh, you wanted a more detailed answer?  Let’s get into it.

It’s a legitimate question I suspect every business traveler asks themselves at one point or another.

Is this traveling for a living thing really all it’s cracked up to be?

It’s something I certainly think about occasionally while I’m on the road or packing my suitcase for the next work trip.  I was reminded of this question from a recent CNN article.  I was reviewing something from fellow travel blogger Miles to Memories and saw him mention the piece.  Here’s a few quotes from the article to give you a gist:

Cohen says that for a portion of the workforce, the constantly mobile lifestyle is creating a silent epidemic of sick and sad travelers.

“If you fly just 85,000 miles a year, which is the equivalent of flying return from New York to Tokyo seven times a year, you’ve already exceeded the safe limit for radiation exposure,” he adds.

“There’s a disruption to the circadian rhythm you get through jet lag. And that has chronic effects when it builds over time.”

And:

Medical experts say those who travel frequently for work are less likely to eat well and exercise, while there is a well-documented risk of deep vein thrombosis on long flights.

However, it’s the emotional isolation of spending a lot of time away from their families and community that many business travelers find the hardest to deal with.

“It’s impossible not to feel lonely on the road,” says Brian Whitney, who admits that feelings of isolation and depression often creep in.

But, the one that affects me the most is this:

Whitney has accrued 1.6 million miles on Delta alone, and has already been to Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia this year.

“I have a six-year-old and we’ve got to the point now that she looks at me and tells me ‘I don’t want you to go,'” he says.

The executive’s dizzying schedule means that his wife has to run their household as a de-facto single parent.

I lost count of the number of times my daughter was crying when I left for a work trip when she was younger.  At 9 years old, there aren’t any more tears from her, but she’s always disappointed when I go.  And, my 4-year old son has started to figure out what it means for dad to be gone.

I’m not going to lie.  Those moments take their toll, especially when added to long days, crappy airplane rides, bad weather and occasional hotel room annoyances.

My body clock hasn’t been on any one time zone for years now.  I’m lucky enough to be able to sleep well on planes and do plenty of that as work permits.  But, even that’s not enough to keep me from being tired a lot.

I’ve had my fair share of lonely moments on the road, whether it’s far away from home with multiple nights left in a trip or just when you have that one phone call from home that you dread, whether that’s a sick child or in my most recent case, a sick wife.

Last week, I was on the road while Michelle was home with the kids.  She hasn’t been feeling well the last few weeks.  She went back to the doctor for a check-up and they said they still weren’t pleased with her progress.  Nothing life-threatening, but a pretty bad case of bronchitis.  Later that evening my wife spiked a fever of 102 degrees.

That meant using one of my elite member benefits to grab a flight a day earlier and get home to take care of my wife.  It was good to be home with the family to help my wife get back on track.

And, business travel isn’t all doom and gloom.  I’m working on a post for later in the week on things you can do to make business travel more tolerable.

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