Failure · Music and Art

I Have Too Many Instagram Accounts (Or How To Find Hobbies If You Travel For Work)

So one of the reasons I’ve had such a hard time learning and maintaining hobbies is because I travel fairly extensively for work. You’re probably now picturing my life as some fabulous, jet-setting adventure (I just want to be clear here – I am and always will be super fabulous) but traveling for work is incredibly unglamorous, especially on a government budget.

The Problem:

You may have noticed that I haven’t ever mentioned travel as a hobby that I want to pursue. And that is because there is nothing like spending 6 months in a sea of Holiday Inns (and the occasional Super 8 – we like to live it up in the public sector) to make you realize that there is no greater place to be than your own bed (no matter how many furry creatures you have to share it with). My work travel is highly seasonal – essentially 5 months on and 7 months off – and I almost never spend more than 1 or 2 nights in the same place. On top of that, I work in recruitment/marketing/sales so after a full day of being “on,” the last thing I want to do is go talk to other humans…in any capacity. (Seriously, I have developed a sixth sense for finding online food delivery services in even the smallest of college towns. If I have to call your business to order food, that is a deal breaker. Yes, I have expended copious amounts of energy perfecting this important life skill.)

Adam gets to work from home every day. This is his regular office view.
Adam gets to work from home every day. This is his standard office view.

Don’t get me wrong – I love seeing new places, but unless it’s a completely different country where I get to hang out in a lavish villa and soak up the Mediterranean sun for 3+ weeks, the exhaustion of air travel doesn’t always sound fun anymore.

To be fair, traveling for work does come with a few perks…

  1. For instance, as a loyal airline customer I now get to board with the 2nd to last group of flyers, rather than the absolute last group (scoff). We call this the “perk of getting to feel superior to all the other humans who are waiting to get on the same flying tin can you are.” Since you got to board 15 seconds before them, the laws of travel state that you are now allowed to feel better than them.
  2. Other perks you may enjoy include complimentary upgrades. I have been fortunate enough to receive the occasional first class upgrade during my travels. If you do receive an upgrade, the laws of travel state that this will only occur on the shortest leg of your journey (like the 38 minute flight from Iowa City to Minneapolis) and/or on a 5:30am flight so you end up sleeping through the entire experience anyway. You will get to board first though which significantly enhances point #1 (see above).
  3. You will also become “that person.” Traveling for work has made me super efficient in airports, but now I’ve become that person – basically anyone who can’t get completely undressed for TSA in under 8 seconds is irritating to me. (I’m so sorry. Sometimes I like to pretend I’m not a judgmental person, but I’ve been losing that battle for 20+ years now.)

But ultimately there’s nothing like getting your 5th upgrade in your 9th airport of the week to make you realize you’d much rather pay the $25 to check a bag if it meant you could be home in your pajamas right now.

Anyway, I’ve been contemplating how this pertains to hobbies and although I haven’t figured out yet how I’ll maintain certain hobbies, like playing the flute, during these extended trips, I have come up with a very specific way to occupy my time on the road.

The Solution:

Instagram.

No. Really. As discussed previously, I enjoy photography (though the level of innate skill may be questionable) and my phone takes better pictures than my DLSR anyway so there’s no need to bring bulky extra tools. (Occasionally I’ll get ambitious and take my knitting bag. I have never once touched it on any of my travels.)

The result? I now have 2 personal and 1 professional Instagram accounts. You’re probably like “woooooooah lady. What could you possibly need 2 personal accounts for?” but it actually totally makes sense (at least it does in my brain, so maybe it doesn’t make sense to normal people at all).

This #todaysofficeview was the result of waking up at 3:30am to catch a 6:00am flight. Worth it.
This #todaysofficeview was the result of waking up at 3:30am to catch a 6:00am flight. Worth it.

First, I have my personal/general account.  It started as an account called @todaysofficeview, but I sort of ran out of office views to post during my 6 months in my home office so I changed it to a regular ol’ personal account in order to justify posting more photos of my cats. I do still primarily post using the hashtag #todaysofficeview regardless of what day it is or if I’m working or not. This hobby has also had the unintended effect of forcing me to spend a little time outside of my hotel room in order to find the perfect picture.

My second personal account is called @hotelfloor. I know it sounds stupid, but hear me out. When you start paying attention, there is some pretty interesting carpet out there. (If you think that’s weird, I’d like to see you keep yourself entertained in your 80th Holiday Inn Express in however-many week and we’ll see if you don’t end up a little off your rocker!) This account is exactly what it sounds like – photos of all the different carpet patterns I find (and a few wallpapers if they’re particularly festive).

I’ve thought about starting other themed Instagram account from things I find on the road (like taking pictures that dispelling stereotypes about the Midwest), but I stopped myself at 2 because in my mind, that made me seem less weird than having 3. Now that I say that out loud, I realize I may have been wrong. It’s not a super time-consuming hobby, but it gives my life some purpose on those days where my life is totally consumed with work.

Another #todaysofficeview from the Smokey Mountains in October. Found this one on the side of the interstate in Kentucky.
Another #todaysofficeview from the Smokey Mountains in October. Found this one on the side of the interstate in Kentucky.

P.S. I also listen to books on tape when I drive and research shows that your brain process it the same way as reading traditional books so HA!

4 thoughts on “I Have Too Many Instagram Accounts (Or How To Find Hobbies If You Travel For Work)

  1. I found your blog in the community pool, I’m a bit jealous- you’re figuring stuff out much better than I am.
    The blog set it is great as well as the content. I can relate to you in many ways– save I don’t travel for work. I’d love to travel but lately I find it hard to want to leave my house, the nothing has got me. Or maybe it’s only the winter. My only hobbies are reading and writing, and what would you know, I can do both of them on my couch:)
    I’m only 35 and all three of my children are almost grown– I feel I had better get myself together before we have an empty nest or I may actually go crazy:)
    I started my blog– all of only two entries this far– so I can help promote my upcoming memoir.
    Reading and writing is enjoyable, I’d like to make myself do something more exciting, however.

    Anyhow, Thank you for inspiring me to search:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just remember that social media only shows you what other people want you to see. I spent 3 hours tonight looking at nothing on Facebook. Probably should’ve read my book but I didn’t and I’m obviously not going to write about that so you would never have known. (Can’t win ’em all!) Plus, like you said, you’re only 35. You have so much time to figure out what you like and then change your mind and then find something completely new all over again.

      Good luck on your search! You’re going to do great.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In regards to your hotel floor photography… when I was younger and rode charter buses pretty frequently for school sports and field trips, I would make it a point to take a picture of the seat upholstery and that was back in the day of old disposable cameras and no such thing as Instagram. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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