Wednesday, February 06, 2013

You're never really alone in the Land of Far, Far Away

It's been a busy couple of weeks in Pitkinville, and I've been away more than I've been home. By the time I walk through the front door and get jumped on by a psychotic dog, I'll have hopscotched from home to Vancouver to Toronto to Montreal to Toronto and finally back to London.

It's a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of trip, with intensely scheduled days in each city, followed by dashes to the airport so we can set up in the next city.

Truth be told, it's a bit of a thrill. After getting off of a plane on the other side of the country, I meet new, almost-universally brilliant people and work closely with my team to share some really neat stories with them. It's work that matters to a lot of folks on this planet - over a billion people use our software, and we're doing this because we have a neat new story to share - and you end up every day knowing that much more than when you first got up.

It isn't easy. Indeed, it's hardly worth it if it is. Life should indeed be about challenge, about pushing things a bit further every time we step out the door, about growing. Which is why I look forward to - and embrace - opportunities like this. But it isn't without a broader impact. For every time I head for the sky, I leave my wife home, alone, to juggle the multiple balls that make up our family life. I leave our kids to hold their own in keeping the house functioning, the dog fed, walked and insulin-injected, the garbage put out.

They'll do this whether I'm there or not, of course, and they'll do it incredibly well. But there's an additional weight on them all when I disappear. Not that I'm all that vital, but remove a cylinder from any car engine and something's bound to change. It'll still drive, but it's a different experience.

I tweeted this as I sat in the airport a couple of days ago, waiting to set off on the first leg of my journey: "Airport observation: you're simultaneously surrounded by crowds, yet completely alone."

Indeed, whenever I leave home, I am incredibly alone as I journey wherever it is that I'm supposed to go. As I wander through airports and train stations, no one in my immediate surroundings has the slightest connection to me. Yet in the very centre of my world, I'm never really alone. Home may be thousands of kilometres away, but I'm just as connected to it - and the vital people in it - no matter where I may be. As long as I keep that in mind while I'm on the road, I'm never really alone.

Your turn: how do you stay connected when you're travelling?

1 comment:

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Since I am not anywhere near as technologically advanced, my staying in touch mode is texting. By tapping multiple times on my somewhat obsolete cell phone, I am able to share observations that I might otherwise forget about with people about whom I care deeply.