I travel frequently throughout the US for my day job where I’m a sales manager. I manage four salespeople and two inside salespeople. We sell software. We won’t go onto what type of software, it doesn’t really matter. It’s software, and I’ve done well with it over the years. The job, however, has meant I travel a lot. I’m a “million miler” with American Airlines, and “Platinum for Life” with Marriott. I’ve spent 3.13 years of my life in Marriott hotels over the last 19 years. So when I say how much I love coming home, I wanted to give it some context.
I don’t like to travel
There are those who travel because they love to travel. I’m not one of them. I don’t sightsee when I travel, I work. I see the inside of airports, hotels, offices, and restaurants. It’s not a bad life, but it’s also a lonely long-day job. I rarely have only 9-5 hours. I love my time to myself, it helps me focus, and I can do what I enjoy doing, which is mostly solitary work. I read and write, and I answer emails. My introverted nature enjoys the solitude that travel brings, especially after a day where I’ve been around customers for 12+ hours. Relationships are built face-to-face, unfortunately.
I feel better on the jetbridge
On the outside, it appears to be a glamorous life, and I guess to some extent it is. There are a lot of nice restaurants, and the hotels can be resort quality. But for me what travel does the most is help me appreciate my home. Each and every time I get home, I feel good, I feel happy to be home, I feel relief from being out in the crazy world and back to my safe zone. Actually, I feel better as I get off the plane in Austin. There’s a feeling to the Austin air that strikes me in the jetway as I exit the plane. In the summer, it’s a furnace blast of hot, humid air. I like humidity, or at least I’ve convinced myself I do. In the winter, the air is cool and crisp, but it still feels like Austin to me.
I’ll throw in a few cliches
There are a lot of old adages that reveal just a bit of truth in each saying. “Home is where the heart is,” and “There’s no place like home,” all imply the sentiment I feel each time I walk through my front door after a trip. Normally, I’m home way after dark, a lot of times when the rest of the house is asleep. I come in as quiet as I can, there’s a familiar smell to the house that welcomes me. There are times where I can learn the history of the week from the smells in the house. If my wife has made something special, it lingers for me to sample as I come in the door. If my dog has had a rough week, that may linger as well, no matter how strenuous attempts were made to hide it.
The guard changes as I get home
Even in the middle of the night, my dog wags his tail in appreciation of me being back. He’s as happy as I am. I always stop and give him a little attention. He’s the happiest to see me in the entire house, a point I comment to my wife as I go into the bedroom. “At least someone’s happy to see me,” I’ll joke with her. There’s truth in my comments, and it hurts her. It’s mean for me to say that, and I do this type of thing often, hiding the hurt in a wrapper of humor. It’s unfair and sinister, but it has been my defense mechanism for decades. I’m not perfect, that’s for sure. Me being gone represents something different for her. She has to take care of everything while I’m gone. Those 3.13 years in hotels means 3.13 years of her life having to single-handedly raise kids, care for animals, and take care of the house. If something is going to go wrong, it happens when I’m three states away, guaranteed. She’s exasperated with my travel, and it shows. I don’t know how she tolerates it, or me most days. But she does, and I’m reminded of her kindness and loving help each time I get home. I can see the exhaustion on her face. The dog got a hold of something, the cat caught something and brought it in the house, there was a snake outside, a huge spider in the bathroom, or all of the above. It’s been a challenging week for us both.
Regardless, I’m glad I’m home. I’m fortunate enough to have been able to pick where I want to live and have the life I want for myself and my family. I have a few acres of cushion from the rest of the world, and it’s a retreat for me. I’ll get up the day after I get home tired, but happy. I’ll help out where I can between emails and phone calls, and she’ll warm back up to me. Most times, I’m not even sure she’s conscious of the frustration she emanates about my travel. I can’t keep doing this forever. I don’t want to keep doing this forever. I just want to be home, in my slippers, with my dog at my feet and a cat trying to lay on my keyboard. Is that too much to wish for?
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