Monday, February 26, 2007

Ramblin' man

While cleaning out my office in advance of the move, I looked through all of my travel records and gleaned the following tidbits:

  • In three years I will have taken a total of 48 work trips, an average of 1.3 per month;

  • There were only 7 months during that period when I had no work trips;

  • It wasn't as grueling as it sounds, since 30 of those trips were within Europe;

  • I also went to North America (7 times), Asia (5 times), Africa (twice), the Middle East (twice...I know it's not a continent, but I've semi-arbitrarily counted Egypt and Lebanon as the Middle East while including Turkey in Europe) and Australia-Pacific (twice);

  • Since I bailed on a meeting in Brazil, that means I never made it to South America (or Antarctica, but that's not a very popular meeting spot);

  • Most-visited cities were Amsterdam (6 times), Frankfurt (a very exciting 5 times), and London, Washington and New York (4 times each);

  • Despite those trips to Washington and New York, I haven't been back to the States since late 2005 (I had a couple of trips scheduled last year but they were around the time Baby was born so I was on a self-imposed travel ban);

  • In addition to the countries of the cities listed above, I also made multiple visits to Spain (3 times), China/Hong Kong (3 times), and Canada, France and Poland (twice each);

  • Luckily my travel schedule has been relatively light since Baby was born;

  • Gretchen joined me on 16 of those trips (but oddly enough, never to Frankfurt);

  • On 8 of the trips where she joined me, we were able to take vacation and visit someplace else (Malaysia and Singapore after our trip to Vanuatu, Dublin after a trip to London, Kyoto before a trip to Tokyo, Wengen before a trip to Beatenberg, Norway after a trip to Amsterdam, Bangkok after a trip to Sydney, Capri after a trip to Rome, and Oxford after another trip to London);

  • The places I'm probably happiest I went because I'm not sure I ever would have gone on my own were Beirut (before the recent troubles), Vanuatu, Tokyo, Krakow, Cairo, Istanbul, Merida and Beijing (Frankfurt just missed the cut);

  • The places that had their own unique charms but I'm not in a big hurry to visit again include Warsaw (ugly), Brussels (good food but boring), Dakar(can't really describe why), Kuala Lumpur (not much soul), Nairobi (safety) and, yes...Frankfurt;
  • and
  • I have 47 trips down and one to go--Noordwijk, Netherlands (outside of Amsterdam) in a couple of weeks.

I have really mixed feelings about what will likely be a significantly scaled-back travel schedule when I get back to the States. On the one hand, I really feel genuinely blessed to have been so many interesting places that I never otherwise would have been, even if my primary focus was work rather than sightseeing--if I never travel again, I would still be lucky. On the other hand, not only is travel physically and mentally draining, but with Baby I also find it much harder to be away (which is not to say, of course, that I didn't miss Gretchen terribly in the pre-Baby days). I think the thing I might miss the most is accruing enough miles to have the frequent flier status to get expedited check-in and use of the business lounge...