You only think that jobs requiring a great deal of travel are exotic and exciting until you have one. Then you realize that, regardless of the destination, you spend the majority of time in airports and hotel rooms, conference rooms, meetings and trade shows, and very rarely get to appreciate your surroundings. Sometimes you are able to get out and explore and enjoy the area you have traveled to, but not often.
Most likely, if you are traveling more than 30 days a year for business, things like this will happen to you:
You will check into a room and then reject it and request a different room. Maybe because it is dirty. Or maybe because the bathroom sink has been torn off the wall and is in the bathtub.
You will be given the key card to a room, you will enter the room, and it will already be occupied. Or, someone will be given a key to your room and will enter it. This is why you always put the security lock on.
You will be awakened in the middle of the night by a drunk pounding on the door, possibly saying (or yelling) something like “Ethel, forgive me.” Very rarely is it a drunk woman. Women apparently take out their drunken frustrations in other ways.
You will pay a hotel bill with your personal debit card accidentally, which will cause you to write “personal” across your debit card in black Sharpie. Immediately after you do that, you will receive a new business credit card which looks nothing like your debit card.
Security will call you (wrong number) at 3:00 a.m., to ask you about the fight with the woman in your room. They will not apologize when you tell them that was not your room. They will just hang up.
Someone will pull the fire alarm in the middle of the night. Pray this happens in California or Florida, not Chicago or Grand Forks in the winter.
You will stay at a hotel which requires to to leave your ID at the front desk to obtain an iron and ironing board.
Usually in the Dakotas or Nebraska: The “list of dos and do-nots” in your room will include instructions about not cleaning your fish, pheasants, or other deceased game animals in the room. Despite this instruction, their is evidence that previous occupants have done so.
You only order water to drink on airplanes because it is less sticky when you or someone else dumps it on your lap.
You will lose your cell phone or some other object which is important to you on the plane.
You will grab a carton of milk at the breakfast buffet and take a big swig before you discover it is past its prime.
You will call your boss “Dad” in front of two board members, mortifying him and amusing the board members to no end.
You will almost miss your flight and will have to run through the airport like OJ Simpson in his commercial days, and will be the last one on the plane. This only happens on flights where there are witnesses, such as your board members or co-workers.
The more boring and bland a destination, the more often you will travel there.
My job involves going out for meetings in the country, often in farm fields or outbuildings. Sometimes those days start out really early and end really late. Sometimes you don’t see an indoor bathroom for hours (not a problem for the men, but I don’t enjoy “going behind a pickup.”) Sometimes it is 110 degrees and you are out in the sun for several hours at a time. Sometimes you eat BBQ beef on a bun for 4 out of 6 possible lunches/dinners in 3 days. I don’t mind bBBQ beef on a bun, but sometimes a little more variety is nice. BBQ yak on a bun doesn’t count as “variety.”
Now, admittedly, not all business travel is stressful. Sometimes you get to travel with someone you are really compatible with, and you go in early and tour the sights, and eat amazing food. Sometimes you get to see friends and family you haven’t seen in years in conjunction with a business trip. Those are the ones that make it all worth while. And the other ones give you good stories to share with your friends who are in the same traveling boat.
And sometimes you see random things that just make your day, such as the Pancake Making Machine at my Holiday Inn Express this morning, which I found totally amusing. And yes, I did use my fancy work camera to take pictures. My board member wasn’t even embarrassed. He has traveled with me before.
Look, it is like a desktop printer for pancakes!
Waiting for my miraculous pancake.
Oooooh, here it comes! Plate positioning error, must move closer.
One pancake is not enough. Especially when a robot is making them for you!
Now, these weren’t the best pancakes in the world, but they were certainly fresh. And weren’t we all convinced this was the way we were going to be eating by 2010 – punch the instructions into the machine, and it would produce the desired food item? Well, this one only produces pancakes, but it is a start.