I admit, I’m not one who’s much for guilt. Don’t get me wrong, I think it has its place, but as a general rule, I think it’s pretty useless.
As I wrap up my last trip of the year, I’m reflecting back on my last two years of business travel and how it has evolved as well as how it’s impacted me personally, and professionally. Prior to the frequent WordCamp trips, I was not much of a traveler. I loved the idea of traveling, but I had always been one who didn’t ever want to travel without my family; hard to do in a professional setting.
In 2014, I was gone 23 weekends. That’s almost half of my weekends away from home. And, let’s be honest here, they were more than weekends because I’d generally leave late on a Thursday and come back on a Monday. It’s a lot of time to be away from my family. It’s a lot of time to expect Jessica to handle the homestead while I’m away doing my thing. And while my responsibilities are somewhat significant, they do not compare to the hustle at home. It’s hard enough when I *am* there at times (although, I’m sure it could be argued that when I’m there, I might *sometimes* be part of what causes the hustle – but I won’t cop to that publicly).
At the end of last year, I had committed to cutting back my travel for 2015. It was not because Jessica did not support my trips. She is 100% behind me, and as a result of my trips, our company growth has been substantial. It’s been a good thing. And, anyone who knows Jessica, knows she is beyond capable (in fact, she’s downright great) at handling things at home. But, none the less, with more kids in the house and the fact that there is more awareness of our company, as well as the fact that others within the company are traveling a bit more (and we have more people), I was able to cut the travel to a “mere” 10 weekends this year.
Having said that, I plan to scale back a little bit more in 2016; not by much, but a little.
As far as guilt? I still deal with a little bit of it when I leave; mostly because, while what I do is a lot of work, I also get to have quite bit of fun as well. But as I’ve reflected, I’ve come to a few conclusions about it:
- It’s ok to have fun on a business trip but it’s also ok to miss your family
- It’s ok to hang out with others in between the work but it’s also ok to wish your family was with you
- It’s ok to want to check your phone constantly for messages from your loved ones, but it’s also ok for them to be having a great time, or have things under control without you
- It’s ok to push yourself when you have to be “on” but it’s also ok to pace yourself
- It’s ok to tell your family you miss them, but it’s also ok to tell them you had a good time while you were gone
- It’s ok to look forward to a trip but it’s even more ok to look forward to getting back home
And lastly, as I’ve realized from my last two WordCamps, and have become better friends with a family I know, it’s ok to travel alone, but because of the awesome WordPress world, it’s totally ok to bring the family with.
That last one, I have not completely figured out how we’ll do (lots of kids and expense do play a huge part in that decision), but I am hoping that next year my time away from the family will be even less!