I travel for work. A lot. And mostly, I love it, but sometimes, all of that back and forth, time zones and conference/hotel food takes its toll …
When I originally wrote the post below, it was May. I had come back from Goose Bay and was headed to Ottawa and was staring down a busy June with meetings in Toronto and Montreal; then it was Greece for a family wedding and back to Toronto for a one-day meeting. All of those places in one month! I was even planning a meeting in Victoria but kyboshed that idea because, even though it was a trip west, even I had to admit – that’s a lot of time zones to cover in 30 days.
When I tell people my work involves travel, they look at me with envy. I assure them it’s not all its cracked up to be but I don’t think anyone believes me. It messes with you; switching time zones like that. And seasons – sometimes, you’re switching seasons too …
Imagine leaving Nova Scotia at the end of January to spend a week in Victoria. Victoria at the end of January is not Halifax at the end of January. It’s warming up in Victoria. The cherry blossoms are out. The crocuses have started to bloom. Tender new leaves are unfurling from little bud-like cases on the trees. Spring has sprung and you’re starting to get that light, hopeful feeling that comes after a long, hard winter.
Except it’s January and Canada is huge.
Everyone back home is still dressing in layers and long johns and toques while people in Victoria are flitting about in tee shirts and hoodies. But one week of having your cheeks kissed by warm Pacific breezes and you’ve forgotten about winter – until you get home. Then you’re smacked in the face with cold, grey skies, snow, sleet, barren land and skeletal-like tree branches as far as the eye can see.
But not to worry – you’re back in BC at the end of February for meetings. For 3 weeks this time because who wants to do that Victoria/Halifax flight three times in three months?
Victoria is ‘home base’, but you’ve got meetings in Prince George and then Vancouver, which is where you leave to fly home. You’ve spent so much time coming and going from Victoria, it’s starting to feel like your ‘home’ airport. You even managed to work in a Tofino ‘glamping’ weekend while you’re on the coast to celebrate your cousin’s 50th birthday. It’s glorious and you’re grateful because you don’t know if you’re going to get back to the coast this year.
Your friend Sarah texts you while you’re waiting on the tarmac for the plane to taxi. You’re headed home. She asks you if you’re moving to BC because the pics you’ve posted tell her she’s lost you to the west.
Eight hours and two flights later, and all of those lightened, hopeful feelings you cultivated over three spring-filled weeks are immediately squashed when met with the icy, – 5 air that smacks you in the face when you leave the airport. That’s a 20-degree difference in temperature! Welcome home.
But spring is coming to the east coast too! It’s warming up. The snow is melting. The crocuses that you enjoyed in Victoria are starting to push up through the earth in your city now …
And then you go to Goose Bay for a community event. There are still snow banks and ice on the roads in Goose Bay. You scrape frost off the windshield of the rental in the morning. You and your friend Dave decide to take a walk through the woods to see a waterfall he told you about and the next thing you know, you’ve sunken thigh-high into a snow bank – for the tenth time!
But … when you get home it’s plus 10, which is closer to 15 than the +2 it was when you left Goose Bay, so you’ll take it.
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Travel like this makes you start to forget what meeting was where and sometimes, even what city you just came from. I’ve heard myself and my colleagues say things like, “I got back from Goose Bay … was it last week? Or the week before?? I honestly can’t remember,” more times than I care to count. When you mention the great new pizza place that opened near Gate 40 in Pearson and everyone in your office knows where ‘Gate 40’ is, it’s clear – you all spend too much time in airports!
Right now, many folks are probably complaining about Daylight Savings. All I can think is – ‘It’s one measly little hour’s time difference! That’s just a short haul to Toronto or Montreal. What could they possibly be whining about?!’
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I know it sounds like I’m complaining … and I guess I am … but I don’t kid myself. There will come a day when all of this will be but a distant, fuzzed-up memory and I will long for the days when I got to see friends and family, and colleagues across the country who have become friends and in some cases, family too.
Next trip – Ottawa. I hope to see you there!