For my whole life, I’ve never been sent on a business trip. So when I volunteered to go on one, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew it would be a week-long assignment but I didn’t know that meant I’d be working all day, every day, for the entire trip. Including my travel days, I’d be away from home for nine days. That’s the longest time Sharon and I would be apart since before we were married.
I didn’t know the best way to do things, like packing a week’s worth of work clothes or where could I eat if I wouldn’t be getting out of work until 10PM. Not to mention, work on the blog doesn’t stop when I’m away so on top of everything, I’d have to find time to write some articles along the way.
So now that I’m home, what do I know now that I didn’t know before?
Now I Understand Why People Value Free Breakfast (and Hotel Status)
The whole appeal of getting a free breakfast and chasing status was a mystery to me. When I travel for leisure, I usually don’t have much of a schedule. If we leave 15-20 min late, it’s not a big deal. When I have to be at work at 9AM and it’s a 20 min drive, having a hotel restaurant where I can get freshly prepared eggs with bacon and sausage and a side of potatoes or grits for free since I’m a Hilton Gold member was a huge benefit. I never knew what time I’d be able to eat lunch, so a filling breakfast was a great way to start the day. Of my eight night stay, I ate breakfast at the hotel for six of the days. The other two, I grabbed breakfast from Starbucks across the street.
This is definitely a Your Mileage May Vary issue, as I can’t see myself wanting a hotel breakfast every time I travel but after this trip, I totally get it now.
Hotel Irons and Ironing Boards Are Terrible
After having to press a week’s worth of clothes, I’ve determined that irons in hotel rooms are the most ineffective things ever. I’ll never get back the time spent sitting there, waiting for the iron to heat up so I could steam the wrinkles out of my clothes. At least the ironing board at this hotel was clean and functioned properly, unlike the one at our last hotel.
After Three Days, I Need To Eat Some Vegetables
Needing to eat out every day was a new experience for me, since when I’m at home, we’ll normally go out to eat about two times a week. MAYBE three. On this trip, because I was eating so late, the main things on the menus at the places I found were pizza (or flatbreads as they’re now called) or hamburgers with fries. On the third day, I found a nearby restaurant where I could order some real food. I know a wedge salad isn’t the most nutrient filled vegetable but I needed something that wasn’t meat or starch.
Keeping Receipts For Expense Reports Is A Major Pain
This wan’t as hard for me as it might be for others as I typically keep all my receipts anyway. But needing to make sure I had the receipt for EVERYTHING I charged to my card was tedious, at best. Normally I wouldn’t wait in line at the sketchy gas station near the airport because the pump didn’t print a receipt. The same for making sure I had the itemized copy of my restaurant receipts along with the credit slip. I can be an organized person if I want to be, but as someone who has never done this before, it took a decent amount of brain power to keep remembering, “Get A Receipt!”
I Have A Whole New Respect For People Who Do This For A Living
For someone who loves to travel, there was always an appeal about getting a job that allowed you to fly all over the place. What’s not to like? You get to see different places and your job pays for it. Even better if it’s some overseas location, right?
For my week away, the things I saw the most was my hotel and my work site. I managed to meet up with some friends and co-workers during the trip, which is something I love to do while traveling and that I never would have been able to do otherwise, so there is some upside to the whole thing.
I know there are people who do this week after week. It’s normal for them, but not for me. I was asked if I wanted to volunteer for another assignment and I said I might be but it would be several months before I’d be willing to do this all over again. There’s also the chance Sharon would kill me if I did this again right away. (Note from Sharon: True story!)
Going into the trip, I was missing my wife and my dog and my bed before I left the house and boarded the plane. Sure, I was able to talk to Sharon when I got back to the hotel at night but we didn’t FaceTime because we’re luddites (Note from Sharon: speak for yourself! I’ve Facetimed with my friends in the U.K.!) and we both know what each other looks like, anyway. While we toyed with the idea of her joining me for the week(end), once I knew the details of the assignment, we agreed to have her sit in a hotel all day just to be together for a few hours at night seemed foolish. That leads into the one additional thing I learned from this trip:
Sharon Can Be Very Sneaky When She Wants To Be
When I discovered that Sharon was able to plan a whole trip including airfare, transportation, parking, kennel and purchasing new luggage without me noticing, I was proud she was able to pull it off and surprise me like that. It’s a monumental feat that she thought of everything that would have set off a red flag and ruined the surprise. But is that a good thing or not? What else is she planning that I don’t know about? (Note from Sharon: you forgot to mention that I am also pretty awesome at keeping secrets. Which is why I won’t tell you what may or may not be up my sleeve next. BWUHAHAHAhahaha!)
The biggest thing I learned being away from home for work is that while I still enjoy traveling, being home with the ones that I love is better than any trip I could ever take.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary