I must be travel crazy

27 Nov
A very common sight the last time...

A very common sight the last time...

October & November were hooooorrible months – rushing from one international meeting to another. I was more abroad than in my own country.

  • Mid October the rat race started. I was organizing a training course about ImageBuilding in Budapest, Hungary. One week of being on stage, with a team of trainers, in front of 23 participants. Find a little video about the course on youtube ;-)
  • From this course I jumped into the Training & Cooperation meeting with the colleagues of the different National Agencies of the Youth in Action programme that I work for. And since everybody knew that I was leaving, there was a definite ‘saying goodbye atmosphere’ in the air, 2 months before actually leaving – strange. More here
  • One day in the office, and then on a series of not-so connecting flights again to a so called Tool Fair (conference) in Santa Cruz de la Palma, one of the Canary Islands. There are worse locations for a conference. And I would be crazy not to stay on for some extra days (at my own costs – just to be clear ;-) in Gran Canaria, which was good practice for my Asia trip – more here
  • Another hectic day in the office, and then a train to Charles de Gaule airport (Paris) to get a flight to Bastia- Corsica for the annual cooperation meeting with my SALTO colleagues. And since these are my direct colleagues, it was really saying goodbye, presents and all… Will I miss them? Will I miss the work? More here
  • An attempt to have a ‘last’ normal day in the office before a last meeting I organize in Rome, Italy (Inclusion Colleague Support Groups) – last requests, urgent phone calls, finishing projects,…
  • And then – the long awaited for ‘Nirvana state of duti-less-ness’, from my birthday on (1 December) I don’t need to be in the office anymore – ‘officially’ – because I still need to go in a few times to organize last things, hand over, finalise, good bye mails…
  • And after all this zig-zag traveling, what do I do? I go on a world travel around Asia!!  I must be crazy

What is it about traveling that is so appealing?

  • I love being on airplanes (and trains) because it gives you ‘blocked time’ in which you can’t really do anything else. So an ideal occasion to think, read, prepare without being disturbed. That’s why I am always worst prepared for meetings in Brussels, compared to meetings abroad.
    Going through airports and train stations also brings you together with different people with different stories and destinations. So it is a bit of a missed opportunity not to talk to some of them – why am I so shy?
  • The nice thing about traveling (for work mostly) is to see places that you would never see otherwise (I don’t think I would ever have ended up in Santa Cruz de la Palma or Corsica otherwise). And of course meeting new people (although the youth sector is quite incestuous – bumping into the same people over and over again) and being in new situations. I am a homo experienticus – I live through my activities / experiences – things need to happen. Maybe it’s time in Asia, just to BE rather than DO…
  • When I travel for work, it is great to have the feeling to be ‘taken care of’ – I love to be pampered, stupid little things, like a newspaper on the plane, food & drink paid by the office – because I am on ‘a mission’ for the office. Makes you feel important I suppose. Balsam for the soul…
    And it also raises eyebrows and wow’s when you tell people you’re going here and there – so the ‘recognition factor’ is quite powerful.

But every coin has 2 sides.

Meeting colleagues in the bus to the airport...

Meeting colleagues in the bus to the airport...

  • Even though most of the time traveling is nice and fun, it does put a strain on your social life. It wouldn’t be the first time that I miss a birthday or other occasion (sometimes people already assume beforehand that I won’t be there ;-(  So what influence will my Asia trip (read absence) have on my friendships…
  • Seeing many people in your job, also increases the potential for meeting ‘a special person whom I would be a special person for’ (it’s the intercultural relations part of my job – hehe) but then keeping up a relation despite distance and absence… ‘a different pair of sleeves’ (as we say in Dutch)
  • Planes don’t go every hour, actually they tend to go mostly at impossible hours. Like getting up at 5am to be in the air at 7h30 or arriving home after midnight. Add to that the meetings and ‘social programme’ of the meetings (which are still work: talking projects, socializing, networking,…) which start from the moment you get up till you go to bed… Tiring. As my doctor put it once after being repeatedly ill for 2 months – “not good for your energy-account”.

So what do you think? An international job – YES or NO ? Why?


One Response to “I must be travel crazy”

  1. Eric 11 December 2008 at 05:21 #

    Not sure what you mean by international job. But the expat life does not mean necessarily means lots of travel. This happens, because expats take advantage of the fact that they are in a region for a short duration to visit just about everything they can before returning home. The novely of the new environment wears off pretty fast depending on the people. In the end, everything is in the mind, the place is irrelevant.

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