lessons from high school…

My high school experience, I’m sure, was different from the high school experience of many others. I hated everything. I was sad. I was angry. I was full of angst. I was covered in black lipstick. I hated my hair. I hated my face.

Also I wrote sad sulky poetry and had zits.

So while a lot has changed, some things remain the same. And so it should have come as no surprise (even though I’m 40 years old) that while on my most recent work trip I started to get a big fat huge painful zit. Right on my chin. Where I could feel it and everyone would be able to see it as soon as it pushed its way up from beneath my skin.

And so when I realized that a zit was about to get a face of its own on my chin and I was far away from home and 99% of the products I could choose to put on my face. And I had no idea where a drugstore was. I did what any 16 year-old girl would do in my place. I remembered the tall tales and beauty legends of my youth and put some toothpaste on it.

Two days later my giant zit is gone and my face is minty fresh. Turns out some of the things I learned in high school were true.

what time is it?

This morning when I woke up at, on the west coast, what was a ridiculous hour but was just plain early on the east coast I did what I always do when it’s dark and I’m tired and I don’t know what time it is. I asked Alexa what time it is.

And she didn’t answer. So I asked her again and was stunned by her refusal to talk to me. Hurt by her silent treatment. And I shifted in the bed and reached for my phone and it was only when I made contact with its cool smooth surface that I remembered that I do not travel with a Dot.

I’ve taken several trips since Alexa came into my life and each time I’ve resisted the urge to take her with me. I’ve reminded myself I would likely just be frustrated by her limited functionality away on the road. No lights to turn on. No routines to play. So unless I was willing to also travel with smart plugs and wanter around my hotel room setting up home automation for short stays it would not be worthwhile.

To me I say: you’re an idiot.

When I travel I do tend to miss my people. And I don’t tend to spend a lot of time in hotel rooms. But I’m now seriously considering if traveling with that little round slice of technology would ease my transition into comfort during work travel. To tell me what time it is. To drop in on my home people. To listen to music the way I am now so accustomed to doing so.

So traveling folks. Any of you travel with a device like the Echo or Dot? Advice?

tales of a traveling introvert: television time…

Getting to travel for work is pretty damn cool. It’s a problem sometimes, sure. But it’s not a bad problem to have. Where I often run into trouble, outside of the logistics and being away from my people, is that I need me time. I need quiet. I need to decompress. I need to sit in a room where no one is expecting anything of me and just be me.

After a long day of travel or working more than 12 hours each day during a trip that quiet night time becomes more important than ever. At home I’d be watching tv with my kid or hanging out in the kitchen while my guy cooks up something delicious. I might be watching something on streaming, playing video games on my iPad, or listening to music. I might just be staring at the wall.

The important part is that I feel safe being me. And that no stress or effort is brought into the equation.

Here enters the pain in the ass of hotel TVs. If I want to climb into bed and put something on the TV I don’t want to first learn a whole new system in every city, country, or hotel that I’m in. I don’t even have the channels on my tv at home memorized (except the food network — channel 66) so I really don’t want to try to figure out the channels somewhere else. But the TV in my room on this trip and the TV in my room the last trip both had Netflix as an option.

You sign in with your own account. You get your own queue and lists. You don’t have to worry about navigating the hotel’s wifi or keeping your devices charged. And at the end of the day you can throw on a comfy pair of PJs, put your feet up, and jump right into your 20th re-watching of Buffy the Vampire Slayer right where you left off.

It’s a big comfort of home without having to worry about anything but signing in. Assuming, that is, that you can remember your password.

I have to travel? I get to travel? I travel…

There’s this set of commercials that was playing constantly for a while on a video streaming service we use. Commercials that in my youth I may have found grating, but that grown-ass me finds charming. Entertaining even. I can’t remember what they’re for exactly, but aren’t those sometimes the best?

In the commercial two or more travelers are put in a difficult circumstance, but one of the travelers always has an advantage. An amenity. Something to pass the time nicely. Like the rugged cowboys riding on the trail, grimacing with each bump. Wincing thinking about the long road. And then one of them lifts up a delightful glass of wine and a cheese plate.

My dad traveled a lot when I was growing up, and it was hard on all of us. It was hardest on my mom, of that I have no doubt. But it was hard on my brother and me. And though I had some abstract acceptance that it was hard on my dad, I didn’t really get it.

But now that I have to travel for work I get it. I really get it. When I was stuck for an extra day on my last trip (though it was in an amazing place). And as I said goodbye to my kid today and entered into a somewhat sour mood knowing I wouldn’t see them for a week. I really felt like I have to travel. But that’s not the reality.

bbwI mean it is, I have to travel. It’s part of my job. But if we’re being real I get to travel. And I want to. I signed on for this surreal gig where it’s part of my job to travel to amazing places, talk with inspiring people, and to learn more about this world and the project I work in. And as much as I miss my kid, my partner, and my Portland I wouldn’t trade this.

So as I sit here in a branch of an amazing little Portland restaurant that happens to be located in the airport sipping very nice bourbon and eating an amazing meal on my way to another adventure I’m thinking that my daddy didn’t get to travel. He had to.

Back to those cowboys. The ones on horseback on the bumpy trail. That cowboy with the cheese plate (and a sunny disposition) gets to travel. So do I.

And honestly I can’t wait to keep exploring the world. Cheese plate optional.


a picture is worth a thousand posts…

I went to Hawaii last week to meet my team and managed to wedge in a couple days of fun at the beginning. I don’t have the words yet, so here’s 39,000 words worth of pictures…

a time to yell at those damn kids, or not to…

IMG_9043I find that when I’m traveling for work, no matter how amazing the destination, I get a bit grumpy in the evening. And maybe a little withdrawn. And antisocial.  And homesick for my people.

When that happens I tend to wander off to my room, close the door, get ready for bed no matter the time, and hop on my computer. I start to unwind. Decompress. Breathe. I catch up on all the social medias. I chat with my guy. Sometimes I do a little work, but not if I’m frazzled.

Tonight is just such a night. It was an awesome day of work and fun team activity wrapped up with a nice meal and a soak in the hot tub while talking with teammates. Not a bad way to spend the day, but tiring none the less.

So as I sit here in bed reading twitter, chatting away, and trying to wind down I am still agitated. Upset. Annoyed. Irritated.

I glance at the time on my laptop. 10:30pm. It’s 10:30 at night and there are kids down at the pool having a party. A damn pool party! There’s hooting. There’s hollering. There is joy and the joy is loud.

I slipped my feet out of bed and dangled a foot over the floor, pausing to feel my toes on the cold hardwood. It took me back to my afternoon in a small boat out in the ocean, my foot trailing along, skimming the cool open water as we pushed further out to sea.

I had been thinking about opening up the door to my lanai overlooking the pool. I had been thinking about stepping out there. About looking over the railing and scowling. And then yelling. Yelling at those damn kids

“Quiet down! People are trying to sleep!”

But I stopped. Because I don’t want to be that person. I’m in Hawaii. A magical place. Everyone should be enjoying themselves. And they are. My need to not be annoyed should not be greater than my compassion. Than my hope that everyone is having a wonderful evening.

Also I realized that my computer is still on Portland time and it was only 8:30. So there’s that.