Travel Trials: My Friends And Family Think I’d Rather Travel The World Than Spend Time With Them
Before Christmas my mom lost her sh-t — literally, lost her sh-t– over the thought of me not being home on Christmas morning. Due to a combination of airline greed, personal procrastination, and increased workload I texted her that I’d be coming into town a few days before Christmas and leaving Christmas Eve because those dates best accommodated by wallet and my work schedule. What followed was a slew of dramatic and over-reactive texts about how “we do Christmas on Christmas Day” and this attempt at counting my coins after I explained my dates of choice: “With all the traveling you do, I’m sure none of it is that cheap. Is there something else going on that you don’t want to tell me?”
There were a lot of things I wanted to tell my mom in that moment, not the least of which was reiterating a fact she already knew: I don’t pay for half of the trips I take. In 2016 I traveled more than I ever have in one year. I went to Houston, Costa Rica, New Orleans, New Orleans again, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Orlando, and Miami (which she didn’t even know about). The only trips I paid for were Houston, Puerto Rico, and Miami. The rest of the voyages were press trips that I went on for my job — a perk I never take for granted and always take advantage of.
Because I couldn’t express my frustrations to my mother like I wanted to, I shared them with any friend who would listen, one of which was my best male friend who reminded me that my mom just missed me and wanted to see me. Funny enough, exactly one month later he and I were having a conversation about the fact that he’d yet to come visit me on the East Coast. And though for years he’d always said the reason he hadn’t come was because he lacked sufficient funds, suddenly he revealed the real reason he hadn’t visited was because he didn’t think I would do the same. His exact words were, “C’mon, with all the traveling you do, if you really wanted to see me you could have.”
Wait, what just happened? How did the person who met up with me on one of these said press trips and who enjoyed the perks of the travel my job allows start acting brand new about the travel I can and can’t afford? I thought if anyone would understand that although the line between work and pleasure may be blurred on many of these press trips, what could never be misconstrued is the fact that my funds don’t supply the fun, it would be him. And that my choice to take advantage of these opportunities doesn’t have anything to do with not wanting to see my family and friends, I am literally taking advantage of opportunities to experience things I otherwise would not be able to, certainly not in a 12-month calendar year. My friend and I haven’t spoken since that time, partially due to this conversation and partially due to some other differences of opinion, but I’m still floored at both he and my mother’s lack of understanding. (By the way I changed my travel plans and took a 15-hour train ride home to accommodate my mother’s need for me to be home Christmas morning.)
Have you ever had a hard time explaining your travel choices to family and friends? How did you make them get it?