Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Reality of Work Travel

Reflections of cars on the street in the building opposite me.
Reflection of cars in the building across from my hotel.
I thought this pertinent since we had a +- 1 hour commute from out hotel to the pant every day.
And the same on our way back.
So, you've been working for a while and you find out that you're going to need to do some travelling for work. You find out you're going to an awesome location and start getting exited, imagining sunning yourself on the beach after work or walking along snow-brushed cobblestone streets admiring the architecture and having time to sightsee. Your friends are all jealous and wish that they could come along in your suitcase to have fun with you.

This, my friends is a myth, reserved for holiday travel and is very definitely not what work travel is all about. I've been incredibly lucky to travel to some amazing places in the last little while for work and so I thought I'd share my experiences of what work travel is really all about - it's fun as long as your expectations are not the same as that of holiday travel!

  • The probability of early mornings and late nights is high, especially if you're not the only one staying at the hotel.
  • You're going to spend 70-90% of your time inside. Most likely the same office.
  • You're going to spend 60-80% of your time in that same office, with the same people.
  • You're going to eat a lot of restaurant food, which is delicious, but you will grow to miss a simple home-cooked meal.
  • If you have people hosting you, they'll be able to advise you on some typical meals and drinks of the area - so you'll get to taste the "real" food of the place that you're visiting and not some tourist equivalent.
  • If you're lucky, you will be able to squeeze in some sight-seeing between travelling to and from the office - an hour here and there to catch the main tourist attractions of the area, squished in between leaving the office and going out to dinner. 
  • Most of your touristy photos will be from those squeezed-in-sightseeing-tours.
  • If you're an introvert like me, you're going to get home and go into hibernation-mode and not want to socialise with anyone other than the people you live with for a few days.
  • If you're working in a place that doesn't speak your language, you'll be excited to get back home to hear people speaking in your home language(s).
  • You're going to, most probably, get to interact and chat with colleagues/clients that you've talked to over the phone a lot - so you will finally be able to put a face to a voice and name!
  • Most of your pictures with colleagues will show you either in the office working, or at a restaurant eating.
  • You'll get a chance to build relationships, make new friends and get to know people outside the office. It will be fun, just a different type of fun to holiday fun!
Lunch at a restaurant outside the Rio Botanical Gardens (Jardim Botânico)
This is me, on the only completely sunny day we had in Rio.
Luckily, it also happened to be a Saturday - so this is me,
doing some fun touristy things in Rio.

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