I've been at this job over a year and have made many a trip here and there, mostly to the other offices, for work-related reasons. But none of those trips has been more than a day – down in the morning, back home late at night and back to office and normal life the morning after. This has actually been rather nice. I never minded business travel in the first place; it was just that the constant travel when working for Benthic Creatures, and before them, the Big and Little Fish, became so wearying.
The reason I mention this is that this evening I flew down to the office in Santa Monica for my very first 'real' business trip since I started this job over a year ago. Yes, there've been those day trips, but they're really just no different than having to commute extra distance to another office – a commute that just happened to involve a little bit of air travel along the way. And this is actually the third time I've been down in this office in the last four or five weeks, all to gain progress on the same fairly large project, but this one was different because I actually had to spend the night.
It reminded me of all the reasons why business travel stinks. There is an entire world out there, outside that office, but I only ever see it through the window, or in glimpses as I rush off to get lunch and then rush right back inside again. But this is nothing new to me – business travel is never about seeing the sights. It's just about doing the work in a different location, and then camping out in an anonymous hotel room until you get to repeat it all over again the next day. And in this case, it is a hotel where they not only charged you 75 cents to place a local phone call, they also dinged you 10 cents per minute for that call. Forget about trying to dial out to get email or do any work at night – sheesh. I sucked it up and paid them ten bucks to access their wireless network, all the while muttering unkind comments about the petty gouging that was going on. Why is it that the more you pay for a room, the more petty little charges there will be for everything else?
I don't mean to spend this entry griping, however. It has been an extremely productive trip so far, and the big difference between this sort of business travel and what I did before is that not only do I like what I'm doing, but I'm also not having to do this sort of thing over and over and over again. It's enough to keep me optimistic that one of these times when I go down there I might have a chance to do more than just rush in and out for lunch, and actually get to walk down to that beach I saw from the window of the hotel this evening before zipping back to the office to put our noses to the grindstone once again.
This has been an entry for Alphabytes.