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.
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.)
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…
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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).
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.
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!