Actually, this was my first experience on travelling for work. Until last Wednesday I had never flown or worked outside my home office. The flying seems to be the #1 question I'm asked and yes, I liked it fine. It was ok. Besides the fact that the landings seemed kind of rough and there was some turbulence, it was ok. I wouldn't hesitate to fly again, if need be. And it would have to be "if need be" due to the high cost of airplane tickets!
As for the rest of the experience, I'd rate it as a solid neutral. I rate it as such because frankly, I found an equal amount of pros and cons to the situation. For example:
Pro - I got to meet a lot of people that work in my field and it was good to share experiences, insights and knowledge.
Con - I was still working, the same as I do at home. The difference is that here I can go home after work. There, I went back to a hotel room, and every night I was checking e-mail for the office online to make sure I didn't get railroaded by an emergency or swamped with simple questions that I could answer "on the fly."
Pro - I didn't have to cook, as meals were either covered or will be reimbursed.
Con - The food in Miami is awful. Sorry folks, and I mean no offence, but they even managed to mess up mashed potatos with funky spices. Everything is either 5 alarm spicy (which is suicide with my acid reflux) or so bland you might as well chew on cardboard. I know now why the girls in south Florida are so skinny - the food isn't edible!
Pro - The weather was great! It was in the 80's and felt like April/May around here. That definitely agreed with me, especially when I found out that it rained here all day Friday while it was sunny and warm there (although I didn't get to enjoy it until 4:30 p.m. when my meetings broke for the day).
Con - The traffic was awful. Add to that the fact that President Obama was at the University of Miami Thursday (which happened to be my first day of meetings), which pretty much put things in gridlock during the late afternoon.
Pro - Lots of things within walking distance.
Con - Because you don't park for free in Coral Gables or Miami. I see why downtown is so opulant! It's $2 just to part for a few minutes, and an average of $10-$20 if you need to park for any length of time. They do not waste time, money or public resources on parking lots. It's meters everywhere. McDonalds and the hotel we stayed at were the only places that had free parking.
Pro - Flying really is the fastest way to get anywhere. Our trip home Saturday, including layovers, was roughly 4 hours. That's a fraction of the time it would have taken to drive.
Con - Miami International Airport must be about 20 miles long, and I walked every bit of it. I (unwisely) wore boots with a slight heel on the way in Wednesday, and had huge blisters. I wised up Saturday and wore socks and well padded shoes for the return trip Saturday.
Given all of this, I rate travelling on business as a "church camp experience." What does this mean? Well, when I went to church camp as a kid, I came home and told my parents "I had fun, but it's the kind of fun I only want to have once." I never asked to go back and never did. It was a perfect "once in a lifetime experience."
And that being said, it brings up a point that may be awkward for some - overall, travelling on business is the same as church camp. I'm glad I had the experience, but really don't care to see it again. And if this is going to be a requirement of my job from now on, well, I'm not aiming to become a high-power, globe trotting career woman. It might be time to pursue a mid-life career change. But that's a whole other issue to be discussed at another time.
So that's my impression and analysis on travelling on business. It's opened my eyes - some in good ways, some in bad ways, and some in ways yet to be determined, as I'm still processing a lot.
Take care all. More later.