I am a creature of habit. When I am on the road I do pretty much the same things on the same days. Monday is unpacking of the suitcase and placing the DND door tag on my door. Tuesday is email clean up. Wednesday's it's expenses and timesheets. Thursday is laundry, packing and FedEx. And Friday is checking out, going to FedEx and then heading home. And when possible to write my blog every night. (This slide a little bit, but not by much)
Now the only difference in this routine is if I am out over a weekend, then laundry moves to Sunday as do the expenses. However Monday and Tuesday stay the same.
Because I have become OCD about this routine if I am unable to complete any of these tasks on the assigned day my entire week is wrecked.
Now I don't want to come across as a modern day rain man, but it's the habits we form day to day that turn into routines. Routines provide a built insanity check.
If I miss my expenses on Wednesday then it's 2 weeks before they get done. When it becomes two weeks, then the job from last week is not closed out and it just sits around in my head until I get it done. And if you've been keeping track, then you know my head starts to become congested and when that happens, I start to obsess and when I obsess I get irritable. Because the one thing the shrink has gotten through to me is I need to empty ye ole noggin out daily. Don't let things linger.
When I don't get the laundry done that means I go into next week with a suitcase full of dirty laundry and nothing to clean to where the next week. Which means now my week is screwed up because now I have to do laundry twice in the same week.
When I write I listen to the same playlist on my tablet. Because when I don't, then I lose focus and can't take out the trash. I also write pretty much at the same time every night. I do this because when I go to bed, my head is empty.
I have also come to recognize living in a hotel room is a lot like being homeless or like the college kid that backpacks across Europe. It's a very vagabond lifestyle that lends itself to knowing everything in life is temporary. The place where you lay your head at night belongs to someone else. But it's also why I set my room up the same way all the time. It's the illusion of permanency. When you go long periods of time where nothing stays the same day to day your soul loses just a little bit of it.
I hate changing hotel rooms and will frequently and willingly drive up to 2 hours at a job site just so I can have a small amount of normalcy and permanence. Nothing empties the tank faster than changing hotel rooms everyday. Because every day you are not aloud the ability to set up your little bit of normalcy your sanity suffers for it.
Most road warriors I know hold firmly to this belief. In fact, when I return to a city I have spent time in I always return to the same hotel. Because it's familiar. Granted its an empty shell of a home, but when your life resides in a suitcase you take your heart where you can find it.
I like hotels that are located away from downtown's and airports. I prefer hotels in the burbs surrounded by restaurants and people who have a permanent existence in the area. Downtown and airports feel very temporary and not at all like the virtual home you are creating for yourself weekly.
I prefer the Holiday Inn chains for a couple of reasons. 1st it's a national chain and I can find one just about everywhere I go. Second their rooms are pretty much all the same. The beds have the same blankets and the pillows are all the same.
In fact, when I sleep at night I put a pillow on each side of me. Because it gives the illusion I am sleeping next to my wife. Now hear me out on this I promise it's not as crazy as it sounds. When you sleep next to someone their bodies give off heat. Your body warms up the pillows and because its soft and now warm it feel like someone is sleeping snuggled up next to you. You see?? It provides the illusion you have a normal life.
I won't buy gas if it means I have to make a left hand turn. Because that means it is out of the way. Thus becoming a hassle. In fact, for the most part I buy gas at the same stations every day. And I have favorites. i like the Kum and Go, Quicktrip and Flying J. Loves is another one and you get the point.
Life is all about the habits we create without them we are just rudderless ships afloat in a sea of insanity.
Now I must sign off. My laundry is done and I have an early flight. Which reminds me, the other travel habit I have is this.
I never break the 2 hour window before a flight. Because you never know what security is going to be like or if traffic is going to be a wreck. Plus, I hate the stress of having to be in a hurry to make a flight I would much refer to get the airport with plenty of time to spare,
Cooling my heels in a Delta Sky lounge or just hanging out at the gate. Either way I know in mere minutes the stress of the week is just minutes away from falling away from my shoulders. And hours away from a temporary respite from the road.
To the waiting arms of my wife and kids. Their laughter and smiles recharging my batteries giving me hope of a day on the horizon where normal is just that normal. Knowing I am one day closer to spending the rest of my day resting comfortably in their warm embrace.
I don't want to do this forever and after nearly 25 years of suitcases, hundred of thousands of miles, and so many sites and countries that they have all started to melt together, I have earned a time when my home is more than stop over to another town, another state, another highway.
Because with each passing week when the time comes to say goodbye gets harder and harder to do.
The road is a jealous mistress. She's never so far away that she can't just reach out and take me away from the things that have become so much more important.
Robbing me of a life we all want. Robbing me of a chance to see my kids grow tall and strong. Robbing my wife of a husband that stands with her and not at a telephone length away.
Till next week I will bid you adieu.