Sunday, June 27, 2010

Travelers remorse

Part of the job is traveling. Whether it is for conferences or field work or collaboration, there is little way to avoid it. In general, this is something I really enjoy. Through my work I have traveled to numerous places I wouldn't have gotten to another way. As enjoyable as it is, however, there is a cost.

Even on a good day, leaving my family at home adds strain to their lives and forces an accommodation of a single-parent household. It's not devastating, but it is an imposed weight that I am very aware of. To make matters worse, there is a history of bad things happening at home while I travel, and this trip is no different. Both my wife and daughter are quite sick, resulting in a double admit to the ER at 4:30 this morning. Both are doing better now and I am hoping that we have hit the point where it can't get much worse, but it's early in the trip and I will be switching continents in a few days.

I don't know that there is much point to this post other than continuing the discussion on balancing work / life demands. Whereas the travel part of the job can be a lot of fun for those of us doing the traveling, every decision to go away carries with it an implicit demand that one's partner will pick up the slack at home. Sometimes that's a lot to ask.


  1. Oh PLS, I am so sorry about wee one and PLSWife. I can only imagine how hard it must be to be away while they're so sick. Wishing them a very very speedy recovery. Hugs!

    You've mentioned that you have family close by. Perhaps take comfort that someone is there to help?

    lots of hugs and good vibes being sent your way.

  2. To make matters worse, there is a history of bad things happening at home while I travel, and this trip is no different.

    The same thing happens to me all the time. It's a traveler's curse. After you get tenure, you have the option to cut back on travel a bit if you want; what also helps is that kids are not little forever -- they do get more resilient to illnesses and the disasters get fewer and less severe as time goes by...

  3. I'm usually on the other end of this. My husband travels a lot, and I'm at home. We have noticed that there are a lot of things that often go wrong while he is gone. Perhaps it's because I have more to do and am not paying as much attention to things that I normally do? I imagine that is the case sometimes. I will probably have to start traveling a lot next year, however, so this could get hairy for both of us.

    I hope your wife and daughter are doing better.

  4. Wow, that sucks. I hope that both your wife and daughter get well soon. I love traveling, but it is certainly harder with Little G at home. I hope the rest of your trip in uneventful. *knocks on wood*

  5. One year around this time I was at a conference in NY -- my husband managed to pick up the flu while taking care of our 6 month old, and I literally gave my talk and was on a plane an hour later for home...however, I heard that particular year the conference sucked balls, so maybe I didn't miss too much. The last time I went to CA (and on a vacation with friends), my then 2 yr old managed to stick a bead up his nose, requiring out patient surgery to get it never fails, I agree....

  6. My significant other waits till I'm 12000km from home and then locks themselves self out of the house. Every. Single. Time.


  7. Holy Shit PlS. I hope everyone is OK

  8. Things are improving, but it was pretty shitty.