It’s only June and I’m already over 80,000 miles in the air for the year. Now, some will scoff at that number and have probably booked much more than that. Most of my trips are domestic short haul, so there’s a bunch of them. And, they do wear after a while.
This recent survey details the effects of travel on the body. In part, it says frequent travel can lead to:
• A reduction of mental capacity (yup, got that)
• Diminished communication skills (nope)
• Lower levels of concentration (for sure, it’s called exhaustion)
• Decreased engagement (I can’t commit to answering this)
• Reduced levels of tolerance (Why won’t you people just leave me alone?)
• Increased risk of ill health (wait, I can blame my high cholesterol on flying and not on all the bad food I eat? Awesome!)
More importantly, at least for me, the frequent travel keeps me from getting into a good rhythm. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I had a solid 2+ weeks at home in May. I got my office cleaned, got a bunch of projects finished around the house and cleared up a backlog of work. It was a bit odd after the first couple days to sit there and realize how much more productive I was because my body was able to get into a normal routine. Type A personalities can empathize. When you’re a Type A on the road, there’s always a goal/stress point. Traffic on the way to the airport? Longer security line than normal? No upgrade? Now you need to board early to make sure there’s a place for your carry-on. There are dozens of these types of decisions in a trip.
And, if everything goes right on my way back to the airport after a week on the road, there’s a chance I can catch an earlier flight, creating a whole new slew of stress points. Now if I can do all of those things (rental car return, security, run for the train, run to the gate) faster than I normally do, I might be able to get home an hour or two earlier to spend more time with the family.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had desk jobs and jobs where I spend a ton of time driving around. I think if I had to drive to an office for a 9-5 gig in traffic every day I’d swallow the business end of a pistol. That doesn’t mean traveling for work is glamorous, it just fits my personality better.
I’m back to a trip each week for the next 3 weeks, so I’m sure I won’t be quite as productive as I was in May. But, they’re shorter trips, so it’ll be interesting to see if shorter trips translate to decreased insanity.
If you walk past me in the airport and I’m a drooling, confused mess, be sure to point me towards home.