As someone who has spent most of my travel experiences sharing hotel rooms with people, it feels a bit odd to have a fairly large hotel room with a giant king-sized bed and more than half a dozen pillows to myself. It feels even more odd being so busy that I don’t have the time to watch much television or do more than sleep and shower and use the hotel room as a temporary storage facility with a very comfortable bed. In general, though, I find business travel to be rather odd when one compares it to one’s normal life. Let us take a few examples and discuss them a bit, at least as they have appeared to me. Hopefully others will find some humor in the situation.
One of the more comical aspects of travel (and it may just be the people I travel with), is that there are a lot of jokes about drinking. Being someone who does not drink “adult beverages” a great deal, I find it somewhat humorous how often the people around me either drink or like to joke about drinking. I’m not exactly sure why this is the case. It would appear that in at least some ways that business travel is seen in similar ways as the other traveling I am more used to, where the aspect of leaving home and living in temporary dwellings for days at a time encourages a certain loosening of normal inhibitions of conduct and a tendency to use one’s money (or, even better, a company expense card, which I do not have) for whatever one’s heart desires, at least up to one’s budget.
This also applies to food. Though I am not a big drinker, I do enjoy eating hearty portions within reason, and travel (especially when I do not have to pay for food or have saved money for that purpose) is a good opportunity for me to eat well, and one I try to enjoy to the best of my abilities. For example, today a group of coworkers (a party of nine) waited for about half an hour to eat at an Italian restaurant here in town, and the restaurant ended up being a bit pricy but very tasty. Considering that we have a $25 limit per person per meal, I try to keep under that limit to the best of my ability, but a couple of times I have been just over the limit. The fact that this particular training session has about half a dozen people without security badges (something I will speak about more in a bit) or Amex cards has meant that someone with a rental car and corporate account has needed to take care of us with the understanding that the company’s bean counters are going to know what is going on. It’s not necessarily my problem (yet), but it’s something I pay attention to.
There are many aspects about travel that are alien and a bit foreign. Included among these are the difficulties of sleeping in unfamiliar beds, having one’s own towels cleaned every day (even when you try to save water by following the instructions provided in the room), eating at unusual places, getting up at strange times (6AM or earlier every day), and adapting to unusual areas. For example, today I spent most of my day in a town in Washington whose name sounds kind of funny, and I got to drive around a bit as well, which was enjoyable. Working with cool people and enjoying odd places makes life more enjoyable, and I especially find it ironic that someone as non-specialized as I am is a specialist because of some quirky skills in maps and an interest in logistics and industrial engineering. Life is highly ironic that way, I suppose.