Very often, when Andrei mentions his job, and the fact that he travels a lot (especially in Europe), people say: “Wow! That’s amazing! You have an amazing job.” While indeed my husband does something he likes (he works for an IT multinational company), the travelling part has its upsides and its downsides, many less known. So, I decided to share today the way the fact that one spouse becomes a frequent business traveler impacts a family.
The upside – for the traveler
You might say that it is just that: the possibility to travel and visit many places. Well, you’d be wrong. Not completely, but, depending on the job and the type of person, after a while you don’t go visit much. The important upside is another one: the fact that you have the chance to interact with people, to better understand the way they live, the cultures, the way they look at life, their challenges and so on and so forth.
The upside – for the family
The souvenirs. I’m kidding. Yes, I do have some fridge magnets, mugs and other travel souvenirs, but this is not the upside. Through the spouse’s eyes, you also discover the world beyond famous landmarks. You have a chance to find out more from a relatively direct experience.
And now the potential downsides or various ways travelling impacts family.
Limited family time
Of course it depends on the type of job each person has, but in our case, Andrei is away 4 to 7 days a week. Yes, sometimes he is gone for longer periods – two-three weeks – then back home for a weekend and then, again, on the road. This means less time together and many things to do – shopping, relaxing, having fun as a family (we have a young child and a dog), etc.
Limited time to spend with friends
Yes, if we only have the weekend together – and, like already mentioned, many things to do, the time spent with friends is also limited. Calls are great, and chatting, but not always enough. I’m not saying we don’t meet with our friends, I’m saying just that it happens less often.
Limited time for hobbies
Do I need to add more? Of course, it depends on the hobby (because if, for instance, you like to play online or computer games, then you can do that while travelling as well, but if you have a hobby that involves outdoor time, then… you’ll most likely have less time for it too.
The one that travels just wants to stay home, enjoy his spare days – while the ones who waited for him at home all week, want to go out, do something fun together. Get the problem? Of course, it is all about finding the best balance and managing all preferences (you get good at that after a while.)
Living in hotels (3-4 stars) more than at home and being alone all this time – of course, except when at work – manages to change a little bit a person. Meals are eaten faster, no talking; you get accustomed to having people clean after you; you “forget” what it is like to have a daily routine – as some days you change planes, other you jump from a plane to the job and then to the hotel.
The lure to visit/see places fades
If it is not a city one desired to visit, then very often the visiting part isn’t included in the travel. Also, it depends on the schedule: Andrei has days in which he wakes up at 2-3 AM, leaves home, has one or two flights, gets to the customer on site, works, finishes the job at 6-7 PM (sometimes 8 PM). At that hour, you just think of a nice hot dinner and a bed – or you go to the hotel, eat, then do some administrative mandatory job and then sleep. And the next day, you go to work again (wake up at 5-6 AM, depending how far the hotel is from the customer), work until 5-6PM, dinner and hotel, And the next day on the road again, to a new client. Or, if it is a complex job, the “usual” working schedule.
These are some of the things that I noticed in the almost three years now since Andrei became a frequent traveler through his job. No, he does not travel at first class, but at Economy class:D and again a no: no, the changes are not insurmountable. But we didn’t know how the fact that he travels a lot will impact us as a family, so I decided to share the things I discovered with all of you so that if one of you will start traveling – and the other one will stay at home – to know what to expect.
Do you have a similar situation in your family? Do you have anything to add to this list?