Over the river (Niagara), through the woods (Pennsylvania), around the lake(Erie) and seven hours later, we arrived in Southfield around 7:15pm on Friday night. Drive was nice, uneventful. My traveling buddy was great. Lots of good conversation. Things I learned from my first real work traveling experience –
People are all the same – Drivers are crazy in all states. Police pull you over everywhere. Gas station attendants, Tim Horton’s cashiers, toll booth operators and other traveling business people are all the same. People are friendly and rushed, angry and kind, generous and aloof.
People are all so different – So many new faces. So many unfamiliar surroundings. Meeting new people, or in my case meeting people I’ve “known” in voice only for years, for the first time, reminded me how diverse people all are! Buckeye’s are a bit different then Michiganders. Pennsylvanians differ from New Yorkers. Even among each states, there are people from completely different parts of the country or world. Diversity is pretty cool.
I love traveling – I have to be honest. I like a good road trip. I really like seeing new things. I love meeting new people. Especially ones I’ve worked with or customers I’m trying to take care of. Staying in a new hotel, the challenge of locating the nearest Tim Horton’s and getting the souvenirs for the family – all of these and more – awesome. Visiting tourist sites, like Frederick Douglas’ grave site. Being able to share stories of things you saw, events that happened and places you got to go to later is priceless. Being able to expense all my meals, drive a sweet rental and stay for free in a fancy hotel – priceless.
I hate traveling – I do not enjoy preparing to leave my beautiful and wonderful wife and four fantastic children for about a week. I take no joy from knowing I won’t be able to talk to my family as often as I would like for days at a time. I’m not a huge fan of not kissing, hugging and tucking my kids into bed each night. I hate that date night is spent 426 miles apart, over the phone, with tears. I don’t like staying up late, because I can’t sleep. I don’t like stressing out worrying I won’t wake up to the different alarm clock and be downstairs to drive us into the office. I don’t like the unfamiliarity of everything, being stretched beyond my comfort zone and having to go without what’s ‘normal’ to me.
Food is awesome – New restaurants. New food. Local joints, chains I’ve never tried. When it comes to eating on the road, it gets pretty nice. Steak dinners, appetizer sampler platters. Calimari? Trying to spell Calimari? I’ll pretty much eat anything. I’ve got to be the best dinner guest, as I don’t care where we go and I’m pretty psyched about whatever they serve. I had some really good food on this trip. I thank all of you co-workers out there that whipped out the corporate card and bought my lunch and/or dinner. My meal at every restaurant was great.
Food is horrible – How am I supposed to know that the sausage and bacon at the complimentary continental breakfast at the hotel needs to be warmed up? What is wrong with those “omelets”? Why does the coffee taste like this? Why can’t it taste and look just like the stuff at home? I ate too much, drank too much(water), snacked too much and wasted too much food. As wonderful as all the food fun was, there are drawbacks. I greatly missed my coffee at the Southfield office, surely a shocker to some readers, if they’ve tasted it. 🙂 What can I say? I’m a guy with a routine. I greatly missed my processed meat, turkey and cheese sandwiches packed by my wife for lunch. No steak dinner could come close to the laughs and love shared around the Dare dinner table each night in Westland. Every time I ate, I was reminded of how much I missed my wife and children.
There is nothing like being home – I love being home. I love having a job where I go and then come home each night. I would not like to travel all the time. I don’t have any complaints about the trip and I personally thought it was a huge help in solidifying both existing and new business relationships. But home is where it’s at. I once heard a guy tell me that he loved going away for drill once a month because it allowed him to get a break from his family and cringed at the thought! I still cringe. I am not looking for a getaway from the fam. I want to be home as much as possible.
There is nothing like coming home – As hard as it is to be away, man it sure is a blast to walk through the front door and be met by four turbo charged kids who tackle, hug, kiss, scream, grab your leg and welcome you home like you just defeated Godzilla and MegaShark to save the world from total destruction. Nothing like cuddling up (yeah dude, I cuddle) with the wife for a movie that first night back. Nothing comes close to sleeping in your own bed, even if it is a size smaller than the one at the hotel. Nothing like your own water pressure, cold cereal and old tube TV to make you know you’re home. I love being home.
Thanks for everyone who prayed for my trip, for my wife, for the children. Thanks for everyone who gave me tips and things to remember and thanks to everyone in the Roc for your hospitality, friendship and for showing me around your fine city! It was a great time….glad to be home.