"Why do the wrong people travel, travel, travel, while the right people stay at home?"- El
When I first heard those marvelous Noel Coward lyrics, I assumed they were directed at me. You see, for those who know me well or view my endless posts on Facebook and Instagram (and when YOU have wonderful parents in their 80s who are computer savvy, you will understand exactly why I do it...) it probably seems that I'm always on a plane to somewhere. This is true. My parents gave us a choice growing up- travel or country club- we couldn't afford both. The fact that we could afford even one of them was pretty special, but for us kids, the choice was clear. For me, with the exception of a snack bar, the stuff that went on at a country club was the same thing as gym class but in better clothes. No thanks.
So off we went- Ocean City, Maryland, a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to San Francisco complete with Hearst Castle, all of New England, Montreal for Expo, the Virgin Islands, St. Moritz, London, skiing in Colorado and frequent visits to grandparents in Miami Beach. After college in Pittsburgh, Chicago and New York (yet, another story) my work started to take me frequently back to Europe- Paris for the Haute Couture shows, St. Tropez and London for trend spotting and Milan for sourcing.
When I married a fellow road warrior, things got even crazier. My other half Rich works for a global software company, and his office truly is the world. Decades of work-related travel have given him more frequent flier miles than most people accrue in a lifetime. So I made up my mind to reset my life so that I could see the world with him, which is why I am writing this from a desk in a hotel room in Singapore as we speak. And while it took every ounce of courage to make the leap from earning a living by working in a design studio or shop or showroom or office somewhere, now that my office is anywhere and everyplace my laptop will work, I'm kinda loving it.
People constantly ask, "Isn't it exhausting?" And the answer is: yes. But this kind of breakneck travel won't last forever and, truth be told, we have the privilege of traveling pretty well. This is helpful, as no one hates to fly more than I do. And for those of you who think that business travel, albeit in business class, is glamorous, I challenge you to strap yourself into a seat for 10-16 hours at a clip and watch "Mrs. Doubtfire" for the hundredth time and see how you feel. I am no longer amused by the little dish of warm nuts or the cheese cart. The ice cream sundaes and duty-free shopping are wasted on me- all I want to do is get off the plane.
But oh, the places we've gotten off! London, Paris, Hong Kong, Beijing, Dubai, Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, Sydney, Melbourne and, for the second time, Singapore. While Rich conducts training sessions for colleagues or calls on key clients, I tend to write in the mornings and explore in the afternoons. But my greatest pleasure is to plan out-of-the-ordinary dinners. I read a lot, and chat up hotel concierges and fellow travelers. I search for the authentic, the unique, the stylish and my true favorites, the establishments that have been in continuous operation forever. I think the most memorable experience will always be the Sichuan Provincial Government Restaurant in Beijing. It was a boisterous, brightly lit, filthy dining hall where we were the only westerners in the crowd. But to this day, all other Chinese food will be reductive.
I'm sure there will come a time when I will relish waking up in the same place for more than a week, to become one of those "right people staying at home." But for now, I will remain one of the "wrong people" who "drag their bags to Zanzibar instead of staying quietly in Omaha." It suits me just fine, and it's my pleasure to share these journeys with you for as long as they last.