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It’s been a strange travel year for me. I’ve had bursts of intense travel followed by extended periods of time at home. It has seemed irregular although analyzing the past six weeks, I’m averaging 50% travel which is about on par for my overall year. But the past few weeks it’s seemed particularly exhausting because I couldn’t figure out “where did my weekend go”? Last night was another case in point – I rolled back on Monday night after a week gone and now have to get back to the office after working remotely for so long.
I “get” the travel ones – I’ve been gone three out of the last five weekends – and I’ve actually alternated a week on the road with a week at home.
Those road weeks have been fun, although they fly by too quickly….
First, a legal conference in New York City where I squeezed in a bit of leisure time and also attended some pretty cool events within the conference like receptions at good venues, including one on Ellis Island.
Then it was Seattle for my sorority’s biennial convention. I had a wonderful time even if I did have 18 hour days and barely left the conference hotel – I can never get enough time with my sisters from all over North America.
And then it was a long girls’ weekend in Charlottesville VA centered around a benefit concert Sarah McLachlan was playing. I was tickled to check another two UNESCO World Heritage Sites off my list (Monticello and University of Virginia) and my sorority sister was the ultimate hostess/city guide!
So why am I so darned exhausted and feeling out of sorts?
I think it’s a few things:
1. All three of these trips were tacked onto a work trip (or in the case of NYC, it was a work trip with a half-day of leisure). As such, there was no complete separation – that “ah” moment of stepping off the plane to be back home and start the leisure routine.
2. These were long trips mixed with other stops – New York was five days (following another trip less than 24 hours earlier to Washington State), Seattle was seven days and included business in New York state, and Charlottesville followed three days in Florida. Psychologically, I’m still programmed to begin my trips in a specific mindset so it was harder to get into leisure mode coming from work.
3. My breaks at home had more on the to-do list following longer-than-usual trips – so those two weekends at home were spent more recovering from the prior trip and gearing up for the next trip (errands, chores, unpacking, repacking, plowing through mail).
4. I didn’t have a lot of “alone” time – I roomed with a colleague in NYC due to mega-high conference hotel prices. I had a roommate at my sorority conference. And I stayed with a friend in Charlottesville. Don’t get me wrong – I loved staying with all three who were *models* of what a great travel roommate should be. But…
5. … that lack of alone time meant I didn’t do my normal weekend socializing when I was home. So now after five weeks of back and forth, I’m feeling disconnected from my friends and family. And I also didn’t have the quiet time I need to mentally recharge.
6. I haven’t been eating as healthy as I could. I’ve done quite a bit of cooking when I’ve been home. But I’ve also struggled to get the right balance of veggies and protein. (And not eating wheat/corn products means I sometimes fight to get good carbs in – a direct blow to my energy levels if I’m not careful!)
Luckily I am home for the next three weeks. That will let me recharge my batteries and gear up for the next wave of conferences and volunteer travel towards the end of August.
I’m hoping that a few days at home and I’ll not be asking the question “where did my weekend go?” for a while!