Thursday, May 22, 2014

Seven Day Whiplash

I have been traveling pretty extensively for my work and I have to confess. I love it, all of it.  I love that I can work without feeling like I'm compromising the immediate needs of my family and my relationship. I can put in a 14 hour day without even looking up and no one will feel rejected, hungry or lonely (that I can see.)

I love that I can drink a cup of coffee in complete silence in the morning, that I don't have to have any fruit, granola or whole foods as an example of healthy living. I can just sit there, drinking my coffee in silence. I love sleeping alone, surrounded by pillows as though to fool myself that there are three people in the bed with me but still alone.

All of this fills me with deep unrelenting guilt, don't get me wrong, but there it is. I love it.

Of course, the only reason I love any of this is because it is only for five days before I come home and get engulfed by my people. Anchored again. Since I don't believe in the myth of work/life balance, I work really hard at being in the moment no matter where I am.

The part I hate is the whiplash. Nothing demonstrates the extreme difference between my work and my local life like work travel.

Here is a 7 day photo journal that will accurately portray this difference:

Day 1: Arrive in Fort Lauderdale, go kayaking with a friend in the Everglades directly from the airport. It's so easy to get into a car with just another adult and drive off to adventure. We ate shitty road food. Stopped when we wanted to. Didn't have to amuse small terrorists in the back seat. Guys, I didn't even have diapers, water or snacks when we started this trip. Nothing but my own small carry on, bug dope, sports sandals and a camera.

It felt....light and almost obscene in it's easiness.

We went through Mangrove Tunnels and saw alligators, hatching storks/snowy egrets/white ibis/tri-coloured herons. After a four hour paddle we went to a little restaurant called the Camellia Street Grill in Everglade City. Sat on the deck next to the East River, ate fresh clams, crab and fish paired with the best Corona I've ever had.

It was perfection.

 Day 2-4: Partner Conference at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. This location was exactly why I spent the previous day engaged. It was fun, social work but it is a Casino and that shit ain't real.

In my line of  work it is so nice to get solid face time with colleagues and partners, we work geographically apart and I miss the face time. This will be a surprise to no one but I love social work time with coworkers. It was so much fun to go feral in a place designed for just that and by the end of it all I wanted was a raw vegetarian menu, 17 litres of water and a nap.

This casino is just about as far away from my community activist, gardening, Mothering world as you can get. Like candy, so much fun but too much of it can make you really ill.

Photo of me showing the guys how to light sambuca.Photo credit: Tim V

Days 5-7: Come back to my people and go North to open my cottage.  Freezing cold evenings. Mothers Day, an 80 km training ride (9 more weeks!) and some physical labour.  Here is where I am Mother, Sister, Daughter, Wife, Friend and ass kicking fire starter. Turned off laptop, muted the phone and lit the fire helped settle the sense of self.

The whiplash hits when I realized that I'd forgotten how much fun it is to take care of people and be taken care of them in the same breath.

How goddamned lucky am I?

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