I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my job involves travel. In the last 3 months it’s required extensive travel. What does that mean? Aside from being really sick for a week and a half and being out of work entirely for it, I’ve traveled pretty much every week, travel meaning spending more than two nights at a hotel in some other city.
I’m introverted and luckily my job only requires limited engagement with sales staff, existing clients, new clients and pre-sales engagements. If I’m at a client site, it’s usually only for 1-3 days, and not always back to back. I generally train a customer on the first day, which involves training the main person whom will be running the machine and possibly some of the others intimately involved with the process in some functional way. Once I’m done, I’ll contact them in 4-6 weeks to see how they’re doing and if they need any follow-up training. That can usually be done remotely via WebEx or some similar service.
The on-site part of the training can be pretty exhausting as it is usually a full day and to an introvert, that’s a really long day. Generally I’m done at around 3-5PM and can retreat for dinner somewhere alone, then head back to the hotel room. Work is work, so there’s no social component to it. I don’t see clients outside of work. I miss my wife terribly on these trips. We manage to talk every day, if only for a few minutes, but still.. For one I miss the physical contact. My wife works nights for 3 nights per week, and the schedule varies. Even when I am in town, on nights that she works we don’t cross paths at all. Every other weekend is a given for her, so when we’re both home I let her sleep. I snore quite loudly, so I don’t usually curl up with her no matter how tired I am unless she asks. It seems odd saying this, but with being gone so much, I miss my small social bubble.
Is it ok for an introvert to say they get lonely with extensive work travel? I don’t see many people at all when I’m actually home, but I still feel connected via geography. If I were so (rarely) inclined, I could call someone to meet up for dinner, or go see some family member. When traveling though, social contact is much more difficult. I’m not into the bar scene. and even if I were I have liver disease, so drinking isn’t a good thing. Come to think of it, though, I drink too much when I travel. The closest thing to social contact I have is at one of the hotels that I’m at every few weeks for several days. There’s a woman who works at “The Bistro,” which is in every Courtyard Marriott hotel. She works the afternoon shift and is usually there, except on Thursdays. We commiserate about in laws. When I check in she’ll see me and start my usual food order, complete with a glass of wine that she tops off endlessly while we sit and chat. There’s nothing aside from friendly chatting going on there, but still, that’s the closest thing to social contact that I have while traveling.
Can one join a book club that they may or may not be able to attend for weeks at a time depending on the travel rotation? My travel consists primarily of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati/Dayton and Columbus. There are a ton of other cities, but those are the ones I find myself in most often. None of them have much going on.. I suppose I could join a photo club via Meetup.com and see if my schedule allows for last-minute outings if there’s room. Would it be odd to somehow find a way to just meet up for dinner? Like, actually meet up for dinner only and to hang out without there being some sort of possible sexual overtone? I’m really not interested in that. I just want some good company and good conversation. A date without it actually being anything relating to romantic involvement? Surely there has to be some service or website for this sort of thing for busy professionals that travel, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to find anything. I suppose I could start a service. Web hosting is cheap and I have the IT skills to make it happen, but then I need to worry about liability and such. If some creep does something to someone, I don’t want to be held responsible. Maybe I could start a Meetup.com event in each city for a game night. Something like Cards Against Humanity at some venue (likely a bar) that could handle people laughing loudly. I’d need to get someone local to take the reins, though as my travel schedule can be inconsistent..
I’m only writing this as I’m thinking out loud about it and it is relevant to my sense of well-being. I can’t be the only one. The other part is the happen-chance that someone reading this might have ideas or know of a service to meet up as friends. Craigslist has the “strictly platonic” section, but part of me thinks that could also be the “torso found in a dumpster behind a Denny’s” section.