Finding normal on the road
Traveling for work is an amazing opportunity. From trying new foods, exploring new places, and earning points for future travel, work travel brings a lot of perks. But it can become overwhelming when you are staying in multiple hotels each week and spending more time sleeping on planes than anywhere else. So how do you find balance and truly enjoy all that travel can bring?
Need to build in time for my life
I moved into a travel position with my company about a year and a half ago. Leaving the pharmacy was a hard decision, but being able to work with multiple sites and make change on a larger scale was an opportunity I couldn’t resist. Since starting, I have been traveling 2 to 3 weeks a month. At first, I loved being on the road! I enjoyed staying in new places, trying new restaurants, and meeting all the people who make my company move forward. I quickly felt overwhelmed and knew I was close to burning myself out.
See, at the beginning when I was on the road, I was working 12- to 16-hour days because I “Didn’t have anything else to do” except eat, work, and workout. I needed to make a change and build in time for my life. When I’m at home, I spend my off hours with friends, outdoors in the mountains, or on the water, truly just enjoying all the Pacific Northwest has to offer. But how was I to incorporate this into my travel schedule when I was flying from west to east coast and everywhere in between on a weekly basis?
Enjoying my travel again
While it isn’t an exact science, I have started to figure out how to find my normal while on the road. The Friday before the week I fly out, I spend about 30 minutes researching events taking place in the locations I am traveling to. During these summer months, I have found many outdoor yoga lessons, concerts in unique venues, and some small-town fairs and festivals. I have started adding these into my schedule. While it makes for a very full day, as I haven’t quite mastered working a traditional 8-hour day, I have started enjoying my travel again like I did at the start.
You constantly hear about burnout and how to live a balanced life full of family, friends, and hobbies in addition to work. I thought traveling itself would balance out the stress and responsibilities from work, but I was fooling myself. If you are in a similar situation or get the chance to transition into a travel position, make sure you are taking the time to recharge and enjoy each day. By simply adding in a yoga lesson, sporting event, or unique local opportunity, I have started to enjoy and feel blessed at the ability to travel and explore all the locations my travels take me.
Jessica Comstock, PharmD, BCNP, is the vice president of pharmacy quality assurance and regulatory affairs for the nuclear pharmacy company PharmaLogic Holdings. She loves all outdoor activities, a relaxing night with friends, and spending time with family.