The Truth about Business Travel

by Cath

I’m pretty lucky to have a job that allows me to visit different countries and experience other cultures, however there are things that I never thought would be so hard when living this kind of life.
Some time ago, I met a 14-year old girl in New Zealand that asked me what I did for a living and if I lived there. I explained what I did and that I would stay there for 2-3 months and then come back to Portugal and so on. Her answer? That must be amazing! You can travel a lot!
Here’s the thing: a couple of years ago I’d have answered the exact same thing, eager to travel, excited to live the life movies made me dream about!
Now a couple of years later, I know the reality, the good and the bad.

Me trying to sleep in airport
(me trying to sleep in a 8h layover)

Travelling is exhausting

When I travelled on vacation, I was super happy to be on the plane. And when I first travelled for work I was also excited, anxious to meet a new country. Now as soon as I arrive to the plane I just want to get it over with it. I might be a little bit traumatized to be travelling always to New Zealand (which from Portugal is at least 32h with stops, although I already did 40h) but it’s getting worse everytime. I got better at sleeping in the plane but I can see that my body doesn’t like it. Nose bleeding, feet and legs aching (in this last trip I tried compression socks to make it better) are one of the things that happen to me during the trip.

But I have more opportunity to see my friends and family than people who actually moved to another country

Coming back to Portugal it’s always easier, why? I’m going to see all the ones that I cherish. Business travel versus emigrate to other country gives me this huge advantage: I’m away a lot but I can go back to my country without any costs. Obviously the time that I spend away leaves its marks, birthdays and parties, it’s not easy to see that life moves on for everyone, and they might have changed since the last time that I saw them.

I feel at home in two different countries

For the kind of work that I do, travel for work means be away for 2/months at a time, as I’ll work directly with the client and not only for meetings. Which means that after a while, I feel at home in my destination. Which is an advantage right? The time passes faster, we start to know what’s happening that weekend. But it’s also confusing. It reached a stage where going back to Portugal had mixed feelings involved, I was happy to see my friends and family but felt anxious to change my routine and got used to how my life was there. After so much time, coming back to Portugal always has an adjustment period.

but in one of them I live out of my suitcase

I like to have my books and my random stuff. When I leave for a trip there’s always a limit of what I can carry and obviously, the primary goal is to make sure that I’ve got clothes that I need in the destination country. Which means that I’ve a limit of amount of junk that I can bring…Let’s say that it makes me focus on one hobby but I’m not always happy to focus on just one…Hence my blog name “Random Cath”….
The same works the other way around. In Portugal if I find something quirky to decorate my apartment, I will buy it, but when I’m away, I need to make sure that it can fit in my bad.
Obviously this is not a minimalist’s problem.

For those who believe that people who regularly travel for business have an amazing life that’s not true. I recognize that I’m lucky to visit different countries and really grateful for it but there are some aspects that shouldn’t be forgotten.

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