Costs and Benefits of Travelling for Work

img_4398

On the road again…
just can’t wait to get back home again.
Goin’ places I’ve already been,
Seein’ things that I will likely see again,
Oh, I can’t wait to get back home again…


I’m in Saskatchewan right now.

Saskatchewan! Land of straight, flat, never-ending treelessness. Land of cowboys, big skies, and bigger trucks.

Saskatchewan = not home.

It’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong, and I always enjoy travelling. I also like to take advantage of being in a new place (different sights, different speeds… lower sales tax). I also tend to put in a lot more hours during the weeks when I travel for work, which means more income. Benefit!

But it means time away from loved ones, sometimes for many days. Cost.

Travelling is a huge part of my job. When I’m not taking on assignments that are up for grabs across Canada, I am still travelling long distances and spending nights away in my own territory of Atlantic Canada. I love this part of my job though. Without this work, I would not have seen so much of Canada by this point in my life. The only province I haven’t been to is Manitoba. That’s incredible! Canada is vast, and diverse, and beautiful, and I am so so lucky to have seen so much of it already.

That being said, there is definitely a good mix of benefits and costs associated with so much travel, especially by car.

Costs:

  1. Poor diet: Eating on the go, eating quickly, re-heated hotel breakfasts, quick bites between assignments (mall food courts, fast food). For me: gluten contamination is also an issue/concern when I’m away for more than a couple days, or travelling to a rural area that may not have many (or any) GF options.
  2. Worry: Driving in poor winter conditions; at night; for long stretches of time; along unfamiliar roads; the risk of hitting moose, deer; the risk of walking in unfamiliar cities, or even the risk flying so often. I don’t feel truly comfortable until I’m home. But then, I’ve always been that way.
  3. Sun damage: especially on left side of face, left arm, and eyes from driving for so long. It is already apparent after 2.5 years of this job. I know, I know. Sunscreen.
  4. Lack of exercise/movement for long stretches of time: We are encouraged by our company to stop and get out for a quick walk/stretch every 30 minutes that we are driving… but… on a 7-hour drive… even just 5 mins of walking and stretching every 30 mins would add over an hour to my schedule! I’d always be late! I usually can only afford to move/stretch when I get out to fill up the gas. I do some forward folds and squats by the car. šŸ˜›
  5. Homesickness: multiple nights away from my boys are HARD! A sleep without Joe is scarcely a sleep at all.
  6. Stupid, random (not reimbursed) financial costs: forgetting a phone charger at a hotel or audit, leaving behind personal belongings that have to be replaced (sunglasses, winter gloves, etc). I am trying so hard to be better about this!

Benefits:

  1. Mileage + vehicle allowance usually means extra money at the end of the month.
  2. Travelling sometimes incurs phone costs, so my company gives us a phone allowance each month, which is more than my current plan.
  3. Staying in hotels, flying, and renting cars often means +++ rewards points. Right now, I collect Aeroplan miles from flights and hotel stays, and I am a Platinum something-or-other with the car rental company I use, which means frequent free rentals due to quick points accumulation, and free upgrades.
    • I earned about 35,000 Aeroplan miles in the ~20 months that I had worked for my company by the time I went to Europe with Penny, and I was able to cash in 25,000 of them to pay for a return trip to Toronto (to meet up with Penny before our flight to Iceland), and from Toronto to Halifax (after we returned from Copenhagen). I’m already back up to 14,000. Now that I’m working for this company full-time, I will probably rack them up faster. Hopefully in time for our trip to Europe in 2018!
  4. Seeing Canada! It really is a privilege.
  5. Getting really, really, really good at packing, and packing light.
  6. Becoming really, really, really good at airport procedures, in many different airports. I’m at the point where I have mini rants in my head while behind someone in the security line who must have never left their backyard until that moment. Like how do you not know you can’t bring a full-sized shampoo with you? Heavens to Betsy.
    • I don’t mean to brag, but I’m a security line pro. A lean, mean, coat-removing, no-metal-wearing, liquid/aerosols/gels-checking, slip-on-shoes-sporting, one-purse-toting, boarding-pass-at-the-ready, security line MACHINE. 
  7. Getting the chance to join in with so many run clubs across Canada! I used to work at the Running Room in Halifax so, when I know I’ll be travelling, I try to schedule my trips around Sunday morning or Wednesday night run clubs which are consistent nation-wide. I’ve met so many cool people doing this! šŸ™‚ It does mean having to pack extra things for running, but it’s worth it. It also gives me no excuse not to use the hotel gym. Sometimes I even bring my yoga mat for morning sun salutations!

Overall, it’s worth it for now. When we start a family, obviously, it will be much harder to spend multiple days away from little ones, but who knows! Being able to set my own schedule (and take frequent, mini, paid-“vacations”) may actually wind up being a mama’s saviour! šŸ˜‰

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s