there's so much irony in work travel. it's really not at all what i thought it would be. i thought i would be this sleep businesswoman, in black pumps and a pencil skirt, powerfully striding through airport terminals with her roller bag, all while on a conference call on her smart phone, commanding the attention of boardrooms far far away.
yeah, so i'm currently wearing yoga pants (complete with a few small paint stains), minimal makeup (aka eyeliner), and two day old hair. no. make that three day old hair. my shoes are off, and i look more like a soccer mom who is trying to run away than a powerful exec.
i also thought i'd get to see the country. and i kinda have ... sometimes from the window of an airport shuttle van, or in the dark, as i try to follow my gps to my hotel. and i've seen what the hilton looks like in new hampshire, and silicon valley, and albuquerque ... and truthfully, they're each a little different, but mostly the same. i think what's most surprising about this part is how the similarities are comforting instead of disappointing.
i think the greatest irony is demonstrated by the very first work trip i ever took. i went to san diego for a conference, and the conference was held at a loew's resort (read: super duper nice and expensive, except it was a gov't conference, so they'd negotiated a lower rate). i opened the door to my hotel room, looked around, and realized that the total square footage was about the same as my apartment with steve back in tucson. this is not to say that i had a suite, or anything super duper special. it was maybe just a tinge more spacious than a regular hotel room in a decent hotel. but the irony was striking ... i was traveling for work, and got to stay in a space that was the same size as my living space at home.
when i travel to phoenix, i pretty much always stay in the same hilton. it's close to our usual meeting/training site, and it's a hilton suites. not only is the living space larger than my actual living room in our little row-house in baltimore, the bathroom is larger than my kitchen. and the view's a lot better too.
all this kinda makes me feel like an imposter. like the people who are supposed to travel for work should also be going home to homes that are worth at least a half million dollars, if not more. they shouldn't be coming home to a 100+ yr old row-house in a sometimes questionable 'hood, where there's a serious mouse problem. they should drive lexuses and infinities, not hyundais. especially not hyundais that have a problem with the shift lock, so they've jabbed a car air-freshener into it, so that they can shift into and out of park and reverse. (what? that's never happened to you on your 3 yr old cheapo car?)
maybe i'm an imposter. or maybe i just would rather be comfortable in my yoga pants and flip-flops than wear conference-wear to impress an airport full of strangers. i will admit this, however, i sometimes hope that i don't run into colleagues in the airport when flying into and out of conference cities :)