Mother Laura over at RGBP writes:
I spent a good bit of time today registering and making travel arrangements for the American Academy of Religion meeting in Chicago at the beginning of November. (Anyone up for a meetup? Shout out, okay?) I'm not presenting this year, so I'm busy sending out resumes and cover letters, but at least I'm not stressing about getting a paper written.
I'll see friends and teachers from grad school, try to resist temptation in the book hall, attend some presentations if time permits, and, God willing, have some preliminary interviews in the everlasting college-teaching-job-search process--prayers welcome, as always. And, thanks to my dear Mom who agreed to babysit and donated some frequent flyer miles, it will also be a busy-but-happy getaway with my sweetheart.
So for today's Friday Five, you're invited to share your experiences with the exciting, challenging world of business travel....
1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden?
Typically, I don't travel at all for my job as associate pastor - but the church where I work is 35 miles from our house, so I do commute! The commute is becoming a burden more and more as I spend more hours there, as gas prices go up (and thankfully recently came down) and as I want to be at more of the congregational activities...
2. How about that of your spouse or partner?
Ah, this is different. Starman is an experimental astrophysicist (sounds impressive, doesn't it?) and his current experiment is in Argentina, a long way from the upper midwest US where we live. He has always traveled for his work, from South Africa, to two three-month stints in Australia just before we were married, to Albuquerque where his last experiment was. Because he works with international collaborations, he often goes to meetings overseas - last month he was in Switzerland for a week working at CERN, where the Large Hadron Collider was turned on and then broke right away (nope, he didn't break it!). It is because of his extensive travel (up to one week every month) that I have chosen to dial back my career to half time or less while our three daughters are young.
3. What was the best business trip you ever took?
When I was an environmental engineer, I spent three weeks in Kalamazoo, Michigan, floating down the Kalamazoo River in a small motorized rowboat, doing oversight for the EPA while another group took sediment and water samples. I became good friends with the crew I worked with, and we had a great time together, joking and laughing and getting to know one another on the river, eating and even dancing together in the evenings. That was the time I loved my job the most.
4. ...and the worst, of course?
Hard to say. I like to travel, but I guess the hardest time for me was the month I spent in Detroit, living at my inlaws and working in the city an hour away on a sewer mapping project. I was working by myself, in another consultant's office, and they were not as friendly as my rowboat crew, so I spent my long days alone, poring over maps, and my nights trying to get some sleep away from my new husband and not put out my in-laws (who were very gracious). I was exhausted and bored.
5. What would make your next business trip perfect?
Well, I leave Monday for three days at an Order of St. Luke Convocation/Retreat - but I don't have any close friends in the Order, so I will not have any joyful reunions. I am looking forward to attending the Lectionary Homiletics gathering in the spring, when I hope to be able to meet some RGBPs, see some old friends, and stay with a friend from our Chicago days...springtime in Atlanta sounds just about right!
Thanks Mother Laura!