Work Travel and Family Life

As I was adding my latest work travel itinerary on my TripIt calendar via LinkedIn, something caught my eye when I saw my work travel stats:

Work Travel Stats

The number of cities and countries I've been to for work over the last year or so was astounding. But, as I was looking at these travel stats and reviewing what 2012 work travel stats look like, the one thing that struck me was my reaction.

I felt a twinge of something. It's not quite regret or sadness. Maybe a mix of both.

And no, I did not feel that twinge when I noticed that I had much less travel time this year. I felt that twinge when I saw the number of days that I was away for work. Considering I only put actual work/event time in my TripIt work calendar, I was shocked to see the total number of days that I was away.

39 days. Possibly even closer to 50, as I don't include travel time and extra days that I took off on TripIt.

I have been away from my family for over 40 days due to work. I've missed those many days of my kids' and husband's lives. That includes my son's second piano recital, a Valentine's Day, my husband's birthday, my own birthday, an Easter holiday weekend, and more. I wasn't around to help them to get ready for school, or to look after them when they were sick. I was going to miss a couple of other events too, had I not said no to one or two more work-related travel.

Best. Sight. In the World. Missed this bunch sooooo much! <3

When people asked me how I managed to travel so much for work, while I had a 7-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter at the time (in 2011), I can only attribute it to a very supportive husband who's possibly one of the most amazing dads around.

You see, hubby doesn't just look after the kids. He's really involved with their lives - taking the girl to ballet practice and French lessons, coaching my son's soccer team 2-3x a week, teaching them to ride the bike, guiding them in their Oliphant science projects, volunteering as a guest teacher in my son's class and helping to co-organise class excursions, and more. And he LOVES it.

He even does it all on top of doing a PhD in Construction Law AND a full time job as a lecturer at the university. And yes, he has consistently received top feedback as a lecturer and published in prestigious academic journals too. This week, he's handing in his dissertation and I will be married to a Dr Coggins soon enough.

So yeah, I think no one in our household knows how to take things at half-speed. 🙂

Week 13/52 (2012): Family Fun! :) <3

Anyway, the thing is, in all those work travels, we've never had the opportunity to make the most of it by going together as a family. That's why I ended up spending so much time away from them.

You do end up sacrificing a lot when you travel for work.

In fact, when I told my kids that I'll be at home more because I left my old job, they kind of cheered.

No more days where my only contact with them looks like this:

The different faces of family video calls...

Well, at least, I hope not as much anymore.

I mean, I am grateful for all that work travel opportunity. It has been a great experience and a boost to my personal and professional development.

But, I am also relieved that this year, I don't have to be away so much from my family. That I'm not missing any more piano and ballet recitals, and other events. That I'm getting to pick them up from school and dance lessons. That I'm baking and cooking more. That I'm getting to go on family brunches, and much more.

Yes, more moments like these:

Happy Mum Moments in June 2012

In fact, in my next work-related trip, our family is going away together for a much-needed holiday. It will be our first time to visit New Zealand - and our very first skiing trip. The kids have never seen snow before and they're so unbelievably excited. And so am I.

About the Author Shai Coggins (MTeach, MSoc Sci App Psych)

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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