Frequent air travel, at the road warrior pace, becomes just another job over time. The only difference for us is that our work hours are incredibly longer, the effects on our bodies are harsher, and everything in our lives has a tendency to become one large blur.
On the flip side, none of us would trade it in for anything in the world. Like some type of infectious disease, it gets into your blood. There is a certain level of freedom that comes with having your office change from day to day. You also receive some great perks for your trouble; with free flights, hotel stays, and rental cars. Although most of us are not necessarily up for vacation time that involves even more traveling! Sometimes it is just nice to become reacquainted with your family and finally be in your home long enough to discover where that fourth bathroom is located!
Another perk is the royal treatment accorded you by the airlines. Top tier frequent fliers qualify on an annual basis, but when you hit the million mile mark, you have arrived! There is a newfound permanence to your status and you never need re-qualify. You are unique!
We do not do well when our wings are clipped either. It is always nice to get back home and to an office that does not look like a hotel room. However, about two weeks after our last round of flights, we find ourselves suffering from withdrawal. It truly is a wonder affliction!
If you have done some quick math already, it will strike you that I have spent some 2000 hours of my life in the air. That turns out to be almost an entire working year. Having been a traveling professional for some 25 years of my life, this translates to 4% of my working lifetime spent up in an aircraft somewhere over the planet. I have been able to visit over 70 countries, on six continents, in this span of time and consider myself fortunate for having lived the experience.
When we figure in items like airplane taxi time, delays on the tarmac, and the boarding and de-boarding process; I am sure that we could add another 1000 hours to my time tally. With connections and short commuter flights, I am somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 flights in my lifetime. That is quite a number of takeoffs and landings.
There are only so many crossword puzzles that you can complete on an aircraft. The television and movies at 35,000 feet are no better quality than they are on the ground. Musical entertainment systems provided by the airlines make for nice background noise, but they really do not make the time pass any more quickly. Unless I am pressed by a last second business need, I am not very keen on working while in the air. To my way of thinking, my employers have imposed on my time by seating me on the aircraft; it should be up to me to decide how I spend that time. My first choice is always the pursuit of leisure time.
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