Months ago I signed up to take a training class for work during the second week of September. Back then I was really, really excited to get to take it. But as the second week of September approached I started to regret the whole thing because I was running around like crazy trying to get things done before leaving Phoenix for the whole week. Anything that I needed to get done at home had to get done before I left or wait for 8 days (more on that later). I thought about canceling the the whole thing because I was getting so frustrated trying to re-arrange my life to accommodate the trip. It had snuck up on me and I just wasn’t prepared for it.
It seemed like my normally peaceful life exploded into craziness during the month of September. I had to push back get togethers with people because I couldn’t schedule anything in Phoenix for that week and I’d already run out of time to schedule people the week before.
My granite counter top project that was in full swing got pushed to the back burner because I neither had the time to schedule measuring appointments nor the mental energy to make the final decisions.
I was going to be missing a meeting at my church that I had really hoped to go to. The list of things that were on hold for that week seemed to be continually growing.
Turns out that I needed a week away from all of that more than I had realized. I’m sure God knew that.
I sat in the airport waiting for my flight to Dallas feeling completely deflated and unexcited. Most of my business trips are whirlwind trips where you barely unpack your stuff before you have to pack everything back up again. They’re usually jam packed with meetings and book-ended by 2.5 hour flights.
Even when I travel for pleasure the trips are usually jam packed. If I’m going to visit a city you’d better believe that I’m going to make the most of my very limited time there. And those trips usually involve a lot of effort on my part to plan all the details and navigate and everything that’s involved.
But this business trip was different from all my other trips this year. After the first evening spent relaxing at the hotel, praying and journaling, I felt like a completely new person. I was able to settle in and prepare to spend the entire week there and it was a completely different experience.
The perks of being in Dallas that week were endless. The class ended up being way easier than I expected, so it was an extremely low stress week at work (and all my co-workers knew I was in training so I wasn’t getting bugged about projects hardly at all!).
All of my expenses were paid for, so food and gas were $0 out of my personal budget that week. I was able to stay at the nice Marriott that I really like where I have access to the concierge lounge (love my Marriott rewards) so I ate a real breakfast every morning (I tried to keep it healthy) and had access to snacks and drinks all day. And yes, I ate the dessert every night.
Various groups of my co-workers were there on different days, so I got to hang out with them after work which meant I wasn’t completely alone all week yet I could still go off and do my own thing whenever I felt like it.
Instead of commuting 40 minutes each way, I drove a mile from my hotel. Gaining over an hour of my day back made my days feel so much larger!
There were no dishes to do because every meal I ate involved a restaurant. No cooking, no loading the dishwasher, no trips to the grocery store.
I was able to explore the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the first time after numerous trips out here. Every other trip has never had time for exploring, but this time around I had time to leisurely explore the area.
I never got in the car and thought “Oh man, I forgot to go to the car wash this weekend. Mental note to self: go this Saturday”. I also never had to run any errands on my way home from work. Of course there was always the problem of me almost walking up to the wrong car on multiple occasions, but what can you do.
There was no TiVo to come home to, which was both a blessing and a curse. I wasn’t able to watch some of my favorite shows when they were on so they had to wait until I could get home and watch them, but at the same time not having my TV shows around for an entire week was nice because I used the time for other things instead.
I didn’t have an entire closet full of clothes to pick from, so getting dressed every morning took less than 60 seconds.
I think the biggest thing was that I truly relaxed in the hotel room at the end of the day because I wasn’t constantly looking around going “Man, I really need to clean the bathroom/dust the living room/finish that project/etc etc”. I got off work every day and either relaxed, went out with co-workers, or explored the DFW area. Basically, it was life without any of the responsibilities other than going to work. Plus all my food and gas was paid for and the work wasn’t really work!
Who knew that a business trip was going to be the most refreshing week I’ve had all year? I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be, but I’m seriously grateful for the blessing that it was. It was a much needed reminder to remember to make time in my life for slowing down, for spending extra time in the Word, and to journal more often.
God is good. =)