Trading Places

After a quiet day at home on my birthday and a delicious dinner at The Optimist, I packed my bags for a mid-week work trip to New York. The tables turned as my husband is home between projects, so we both got a little taste of what the other one experiences, although my trip was only one night. I occasionally travel for work, but this is the first time I’ve traveled while he has been home.

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Of course I procrastinated all day Monday, and while I had good intentions to pack BEFORE dinner, let’s all be real and know it didn’t happen until we returned home. With three new pairs of birthday shoes to choose from, I had quite the predicament in deciding on outfits to incorporate my new shoes. All three have since caused blisters though, just reaffirming how much I hate shoes. But I digress…

I want to take this rare opportunity to reflect on traveling aspects that Sean experiences all the time, so that I can understand the good and the bad that comes with traveling. And if you are married or dating someone who travels frequently too, my hope is these reminders or “lessons”  will be helpful.

1) Parking at the airport stinks. Because my return flight didn’t land until nearly midnight, I offered to drive myself instead of having Sean drop me off. I typically drop Sean off early on Monday mornings, and at least half the time, pick him up on Thursday nights. I now realize just how convenient this is for him, and don’t worry, I have reminded him of this fact just about every day since my return. I do know he appreciates it though, and I have always done it so that we could spend a little more time together. But now I understand at least from his perspective how much it really means. BTW, if daily parking had not been full and I didn’t have to trek 67 rows in heels from economy, it might not have been so bad.

2) First days of trips are really, really long. I think about 9 times out of 10 we don’t talk on the phone a lot on Monday nights because he is either working late or at dinner, and because of our early start to the day, it’s bed time at 9:30. For me, we had a big group dinner that went late, and I managed to squeeze in  n extra drink with my girlfriends afterward, so needless to say I was exhausted by the time my head hit the pillow a little after midnight.

Sidenote: I really wanted to eat these Starbursts preserved under the glass table top when I returned back to my hotel room. Oh you quirky NY hotel rooms…

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3) Making time in the mornings to chat on the phone is more difficult than I thought. With trying to squeeze in every second of sleep I could manage, I timed it just right to get out the door with my suitcase in tow. A quick walk from the hotel to the office with my team, and all of a sudden I realized my all-day meetings were starting and I couldn’t call Sean. No big deal, as that happens to us every now and then and it’s not the end of the world. But sometimes I get frustrated when we don’t have enough time to talk in the mornings. In the future, I’ll think back to this day and know we can make it up around the lunch hour.

Now on to two “good” things:

4) Traveling can mean eating at amazing restaurants. This is a no-brainer and sounds silly, but it’s a definite perk. When you love food as much as I do, any opportunity to try a great restaurant is taken, especially in New York City. We ate at ABC Kitchen in the flat iron district. It was local, organic and so delicious. Before our flight home, we ate at a fun place on Park Ave called Casa Lever. I’m glad Sean takes advantage of this aspect when he travels, yet somehow he does not gain 10 pounds per week. Jealous.

5) Unexpected visits with friends and family can top off a great trip. I was so happy to learn some of my girlfriends who I went with to Seattle just happened to be in the city for meetings as well, so luckily we met up for a birthday drink at The Standard roof top bar. Also, I found a window after meetings to visit my brother-in-law at BuzzFeed. I was very glad to find this time as I was his first family visitor him since he moved to the city in April. Anyhow, Sean always looks forward to traveling to cities in which family or friends live, and now I understand first hand why that’s so important.

While I tried to get the husband to write down things he experienced that he didn’t expect while we traded places, I like to think these were top on his list:

1) It’s really boring without me at home.

2) The house is really quiet at night and weird noises freak you out.

3) You can be really, really messy all week long until hours before your spouse arrives home.

4) Fending for dinner yourself and not on an expense budget (so you can’t always eat out) is no fun.

5) Watching whatever you want on TV in peace and quite is underrated.

If you travel for work or your spouse does, feel free to comment on other “lessons” or reminders you have about what it’s like to be on the road.

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