Thursday, 4 February 2010

Refreshingly tired

Couple of months ago I had the privilege of travelling on work for a day, alone (yes you read that right, privilege!). I did a day trip to Delhi and back. While it tired me out by the end of it, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

So what'd I do on this trip that was so enjoyable? I left early morning (6.30 a.m.) to get to the airport, reached Delhi, travelled to Gurgaon by car, ate lunch, met my aunt twice, attended two client meetings, zoomed back to Delhi, waited at the airport and then flew back to Bangalore and then traversed right through this city to finally reach home past midnight. There wasn't any shopping, no meeting friends, there wasn't any partying - why there was barely any point in the day when I could sit back and not look at the clock to make sure I kept my next appointment!

So it was an ordinary, reasonably hectic and certainly tiring trip. I asked myself why I enjoyed it so much. Here are my reasons. I travel rarely, so this trip still held a high degree of novelty for me. But the bigger reason is the time I got for myself. Where's the time for yourself, you will ask. After all, I was travelling on work.

Back home, I have a house to run, a family to take care of, office to get to. But when you travel you are freed from many of the responsibilities that you have back home. My husband got my daughter ready for school and took care of packing her lunch that day. Later in the evening, he helped her with her homework and studying, bathed her, got her dinner ready and put her to bed. So essentially I didn't have to do a thing around the house that day, neither did I have my family to take care of (save the phone calls I made to check that everything was all right).

Next, work. Since I didn't have much access to email that day (I could read the emails on the iPhone, but that format isn't very friendly for replying to too many emails) I knew that I couldn't do much about any work that came in that day. Plus my out of office response had indicated that I was travelling and hence not connected. So I didn't have much to get done at work either.

With two aspects of the routine of my everyday life removed for the day, I was doing something different that day. I went to new places (yes the airport can be new too when you haven't seen it for 6 months!), visited a new city, talked to people in a new city, observed them. Can be fascinating! For instance the office had organised for a cab and driver. I was so new to the place that even if the driver took me in the direction opposite to my destination, I would not realise for a very long time. Plus I was on my own, had to watch my back and didn't have anyone to talk to. Which meant that when I wasn't absorbed in watching the outside world, I had time to introspect, to think.

Between the way to and the way back I would have had 2.5 or more hours of waiting at the airport. It didn't get me impatient (something I'd have definitely been some years ago) and it didn't make me restless. I took the rare rare gift of Time and enjoyed it. I bought myself some coffee, something to eat. I surfed on my phone, I looked at everything going on around me - I understood that this was a my-time freebie thrown in when I took on a work-trip. And boy was I glad I recognised it for what it was and welcomed it! Then there were almost 6 hours of flying time. Phone was off - no one could reach me. On the way to Delhi I used the time to read and do some preparatory work for the meetings I was to attend. Because I had no email or internet or phone to distract me, I understood quickly and completely whatever I was going through. On the way back, I used to time to read my book, watch some inflight television while I ate dinner and used the remaining time to sleep quite soundly.

Oh and because I was so positive and happy about my solo trip, my meetings went off rather well. I came back home tired, but refreshed.