Tuesday, September 17, 2013


It has been real enlightening getting advice from people in the "know" with respect to work travel.  And as it often happens, further understanding of one another has paved the way for deeper friendships. 

In case you missed it in the comments, here's a real time description from psychsarah (Thanks again!):

"I'm probably not the best person to ask, as my husband has always traveled a fair bit for work. We even chose to live apart for about 1.5 years so we could both advance our respective careers. Now DH travels about 50-75% of the time during busy season and maybe 40-50% during the "off" season. I didn't love it but it was ok before we had our son. Now I find it very challenging when he's away for more than a couple of days (and we're expecting our second child in the new year, which I suspect will only make things more challenging). What ended up happening before kids was that I designed my life to do all my outside socializing/activities the weeks he was gone (i.e., meet friends for dinner/coffee/exercise) and spend time with him when he was home. I cooked the food I liked and he didn't when he was gone, and made the bet of it. We spoke every night on the phone (same as when we lived apart) and in some ways, this is more intensive communication than couples sometimes have living in the same house, as they don't make a point of it. It's definitely not for everyone, but you can make it work. Facetime/Skype also helps a lot. If it's sheer misery, after a year or something could you reconsider the move to cut down on the travel? When we lived apart, we thought we'd do 2 years and then I'd try to find something where he was, but after a year, we were both very "done" and he started seeking something where I was (in grad school, couldn't leave before completing my MA and was way easier to stay there to complete PhD). I guess I can only speak as the one at home, not the traveler, but I hope that's a bit helpful. Good luck making this tough decision."

And some excepts from emails we have received thus far:

"Wow, I agree that is a very high percentage of traveling.  I would not be on board with that if it was B, even if it was before we had C. When he worked in (major city 3 hours away) , we found it hard and he could drive home for the weekends!  I found we never had any time together and the traveling was exhausting for him, that by the time the weekend came he would just want to zone out. He was stressed and he hated staying in hotels and not eating proper meals. It did start to take a toll on our relationship.  So I get your concerns for sure. I mean it may all sound okay to D now but a midnight flight and a 2 hour drive home...that will get old pretty soon. and being apart 3 weeks out of month...that is a lot.

I can see that why you wouldn't want to have to start over again, put in the extra time and work harder. So if you guys stayed put, would D be okay with that then?"  (Send from one of my girlfriends whose husband used to travel.  She is a stay at home Mom with a 3 years old.)

"D....  several thoughts.  If the money is really good...  then yes I
would take it.  Being home for the weekends and then working from home the
other times is a definite plus.  You don't have kids. You guys seem to be
committed to one another but yet a little independent so I don't see
MW as using that against you.  Save some of the extra cash for those
together travel times.  No joke though - its work - as glamorous as George
Clooney might make it... it has its downsides.  A lot of alone time but with
technology as it is.. FaceTime, skype etc... its not as bad or tough as it
was 5-8 years ago.  I think your timing is good where that is concerned.  If
its just a lateral move that won't give you growth but something nice for
the resume... I might give it much more thought.

I hope that helps some... keep us posted."  (Sent from friend we met travelling in Europe about 6 years ago.  American.  President of a small company that does business in South America, Asia and Africa.  Travels 95%)

I'm still doing a fair amount of travel. It takes a different mind set for
someone to enjoy a lot of travel. You certainly need to have the desire to
see new and different locales. You have to be able to live outside your
comfort zone and in fact create yourself new ones. You'd be amazed how many
people like the routine of their everyday life - same bed, same time home
etc etc. There is nothing wrong with that but those people don't make good

There is no question that travelling a lot can be tricky. First of all the
location is going to be a big factor in determining how much you like it. If
you are spending weeks on end in a boring small town then the novelty will wear
off quickly. Secondly - be prepared for things to go wrong at home when you
are away. People get sick, furnaces breakdown, deaths in the family (I've
had that a couple of times) and so on. You just have to take those things in
stride. I have never had anything happen while away that was catastrophic
and couldn't be dealt with. Those issues do take an understanding wife at
home though. I've been fortunate in that my wife travels a lot and
appreciates the reality of it. She knows that it is not all fun and games
and understands that it is a sacrifice we both make. Don't downplay that
part of it - I know a lot of guys who absolutely hate travelling because
they have no support at home. Their wives think they are out drinking and
partying with 20 year old bombshells hanging off their arms. Those people
watch way too much TV. My wife understands that after eating in a restaurant
all week the last thing I want to do is come home and go out for dinner. A
lot of guys wives insist on it as their "reward" for being left at home all
week. That mentality is just a breeding ground for resentment in both
party's. By the same token - you have to understand that everything may not
be "perfect" when you get home. She may have had a bad week herself and you
can't downplay it just because you have been away. Remember - it's a mutual
sacrifice - your being away from home isn't necessarily the bigger

You will not be working 24 hours a day every day so you need to deal with
downtime. I have known a million people who travel for business and they
usually fall into one of two categories - they either spend all their time
in bars and turn into raging alcoholics or they spend all their time alone
in their hotel room and resent being away. One thing that I think has helped
me survive all these years of travel is that I use any free time I have to
familiarize myself with the city. Essentially I am a tourist - see the
sights, explore the town, enjoy where you are.

Bottom line is that travelling a lot is like anything else - some days are
good, some days are bad. I do emphasize though that without the support on
the home front it will be miserable. You have to make sure that your family
can deal with you being away first and foremost.

Hope this helps. Feel free to get in touch anytime if you have any
questions."  (Sent from friend and ski buddy of D's who owns a medium size company.)

I'm not the least bit surprised they are making you an offer. As an A you definitely would need to travel especially at the beginning and end of specific projects. I don't mind the travel at all I am wired to be with clients so I really enjoy the face to face interaction. I find that when I'm on the road I work a tonne, then when I'm home I work a bit more relaxed. An example is that when I'm home I regularly take the kids to school, which I had never done before. L and the kids have actually adjusted well, I miss a number of evening activities but in truth I missed a lot of them before as well. I think I'm blessed that L worked at B and understands our world. She doesn't always like the timing of trips, but she understands. For example I need to travel on Thanksgiving Monday to be on site for a Tuesday morning. My advice is to make sure MW is on board and commits to a period of time then reassess. L and I did that first for six months, then yearly after that. Essentially we do a checkpoint to confirm we both want to keep things the way they are. One point you should consider is that you mostly travel on your own time. What I mean is I leave the house at 4:30am on Monday to be in D by 10:30 and leave D at 3pm and arrive home at 11:30pm. I don't work hard on Friday, but I also don't feel like I get the day off because of my travel time.

Bottom line in my case the rewards and personal satisfaction far out way the investment / sacrifice that I make. There is definitely a penalty to live in E, but at this point it is the right place for my family. In your case I think Y could be a great career move, and could create a high paying flexible lifestyle in your future. That said it isn't for everyone.

Let me know what you decide.....Good Luck  (Sent from D's former boss who was the one who made the job recommendation. Travels 50 - 75%)

We've felt so grateful for the outpouring of openness from friends and colleagues by phone, email, blog.  That effort alone has made this search for a different life worth it.  It's not like we are asking for their favourite flavour of ice cream.  This issue touches right into the heart of how families and relationships are and can be very private.  Being allowed in is such an honour. 

***Will be offline for the next 1 1/2 weeks.  Happy Fall!***

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