Thursday, April 2, 2015

Missed holidays: just part of doing business

Whenever I tell people what I do for a living, they often express their envy.
It's not ALL fun and games. Especially when deadlines loom.

But that's because they're not really aware of what being a travel writer can involve.

The image at the right gives you an idea of just a few of the misconceptions people have about travel writing.

I won't go into a song-and-dance about the woes of what I do, because I do choose to do it, after all. If I didn't like it, I'd do something else.

However, one aspect many people may overlook is the missed holidays due to travel.

I realize many other jobs crucial to our well-being, involve working holidays. Doctors, nurses, EMT's, firefighters, cops, et al work on holidays. We all owe them our gratitude.

For a travel writer though, it's a bit of a different situation. You're often in a foreign country, days away from your loved ones. And while it's certainly not like being in the armed forces, it can still be a wistful time. Even soldiers, sailors, and pilots have their comrades-in-arms; unless they're in a group press trip, travel writers are more often then not, going solo.

With Good Friday right around the corner, I started to ponder the times I've missed Easter due to being away.

One year, I had to leave the day after Good Friday to fly south, by myself to do a two-week trip in the southern U.S.

Lucky for me, alligators don't take holidays.

Another year, I just got back from a two-week trip padding in the Florida everglades and Fishing in the Keys on Good Friday. At least that one was a shared trip.

Yet another time, I was just returning - alone - from Thailand the day after Good Friday. I guess if you combine this one and the other one to the southern U.S., it counts as one weekend.

And while it's not really a holiday, I have missed several Valentine's Days due to travel... one I was in Calgary for a trip; another time, I was on a train going to Toronto. Yet another time, I was sick as a result of travel, and couldn't celebrate it.

One of the more memorable absences - from a humorous standpoint - occurred because while I was on a trip, I had an opportunity to visit with a friend who used to be a serious girlfriend years ago. We're now friends, of course. (I like to kid about that one, saying, "Well, I spent my Valentine's Day having breakfast with an ex!" Luckily, the Divine Ms. K has a sense of humour about these things!)

I missed both our birthdays at times, once in Wales, another time in Borneo.

Luckily, I've never been away during Christmas or New Year's. I don't think I'd like that much. But if an opportunity comes up that's impossible to turn down, I'll be there.

So what's the point of all this?

A trip to Alberta's southern Rockies took me away
from home one Valentine's Day.
Well, in pondering this, I realize how lucky I am to be in a relationship in which my partner understands and accepts all this (even if my parrots don't!)

Although she has accompanied me on some of my trips to places like Belize, Africa, Ecuador, the Everglades, there are far more trips I take where she stays home and looks after our birds and patiently waits for my return.

So this Easter is more like a spring Thanksgiving for me.

Because while I wouldn't change what I do, when I think back to all the amazing travel experiences I've enjoyed, I'm grateful for that - and for having a partner who supports the kind of vagabond life I sometimes lead.

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