Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lonely Traveller

One the enduring sadness’s of my life as I reflect back is the thought of arriving in the Mornington Peninsula in the deep south of Victoria so far from my family one cold, wet, dark and lonely night. It had taken close to a day to get there. It was July 2002 and I’d only recently taken this ‘travelling’ job and I was learning very quickly that leaving family behind five thousand kilometres away was not really my caper.

I’d only finished a phone call home when this realisation hit. I recall vaguely having the same realisation a month or so earlier, yet I had a form of short term memory loss as it would only hit me in the moment—the very moment, usually, as the plane taxied down a runway. But by the time I arrived home from each trip away, all that loneliness I’d put behind me. I often thought of my family struggling without me.

I realised afresh recently that once you’re away, you’re away, and it’s too late then. It’s too late to realise that you don’t like this part of the job. So, it was this aspect of being away that I never liked. And it is this that directs me back to the initial call in my heart to be close to my wife and family, so far as it depends on me at least.

I never liked the jet-setting lifestyle I had in those twenty months during 2002-03. It was not only lonely, it was stressful—even in five-star hotels, with nice hire cars, corporate credit card with all reasonable expenses paid, company car etc. Travelling each week via air or road carries with it challenges we never think of up front. During this time I think I took about seventy flights and I clocked up about seventy thousand kilometres by road—in my view, with retrospect, it was all time away from home which was not of value.

I find it hard to identify with the “fly in/fly out” regime and I’ve concluded that it must take its toll on families, wives/partners and children.

For me, I know I am so totally over travel without the family unless it’s an absolute necessity or there’s some very important purpose to it. Others I know will view things at the other extreme and there are myriads in-between.

What this tells me is a lot about myself. It tells me there are things about my personality and my past that connects pain to being away from loved ones—a pain that’s hardly worth it.

And this gets us back to the purpose of our lives. Without a really in-depth knowledge of what we truly want in life, we can easily waste this precious journey—that is, this life we have. How can we go after that life we want without knowing what it is?

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