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Traveling for Work & Making the Best of It

Alright, starting this post open & honest… (Candice has been hounding me for this for “Weeks” oh and I promise my openers will get better).

However, I hold the privilege of picking our first topic of Balancing Hard Hats & Heels. This post means a lot to me because it’s what has kept me continuously interested in the construction industry. Of course, aside from having an amazing/awesome/cool “Boss”, work environment, and never ending challenges (both work & personal growth), the travel is what helps me truly find passion and thrive.

I am prefacing this with the following statement. “I do know and completely understand that my perspective on this topic is different from every single person laying eyes on this post; I’d like to remind you that no two stories or experiences are the same. I am opting to share the positive side of my some of my travel experiences. And I’d love to open this up to responses because your stories, experiences, and opinions are welcome. If you’d like to have your experiences shared anonymously you can email us your story & we can post on your behalf.”

A little background on “Younger Sydney”, while growing up I was the kid in the family that everyone thought would jump on a plane & never look back. It was my moms biggest fear when I was deciding on a college. She thought I’d go out of state & fall in love, get married, and basically never return home (Boy was she wrong… I’m not married… not even in a relationship). She mainly had this fear because I have a cousin who went to Alaska for a short trip & to this day hasn’t moved back to the East Coast. So in all honesty and if you know me even a little bit, then you know I would have gladly jumped on a plane, started a new life on a beach, and never returned to the Carolinas aside from the Holidays, however that was not the hand in life I was dealt.

Now, for all I know, you guys may travel for 1-6 Months at a time, half the year, year round, or like I do 1-5 days. You may have months to plan or a day or two. You may not even travel & your other half travels for work. Every form of travel comes with its own set of downfalls, stressors, & aggravations. I know that the main in your face negative connotations that go hand in hand with being involved in an industry or with someone in an industry that requires on the road travel can be a HUGE factor in determining your personal happiness. Trust me I know so many and I believe that my list doesn’t even begin to encompass the lists everyone else holds. But it also comes with an open ended amount of opportunities. It all comes down to the perspective you pick & how you chose to utilize the opportunities in front of you.

I personally am a roller coaster of emotions when I travel. I bounce from being excited to knock something off my bucket list, or visit a new museum/aquarium, war memorial, National Park, or try a new old historic steakhouse to being completely overwhelmed with this feeling of loneliness & pure awkwardness. Traveling alone will always bring its own. You end up having all these unique experiences when you travel alone that you can’t ever reminisce with anyone over. I don’t yet understand why that is important, maybe you can enlighten me, but I know that in my heart it is very crucial.

However, for the sake of this post as stated above I am going to focus on my most memorable & blissful experiences derived from things I’ve done with others during my travels and they are some of my greatest learning moments.

  1. My first trip to a Power Plant – Middle of No-Where WV – 6 weeks in the cold away from my family and the reasonable temperatures of the South in September & October – my first time away from my puppies - Candice drove me out to a national park & we took the short path to the overlook where she took some of the only pictures of me where I truly looked happy (At that point in my life). This is when I learned about taking time for myself during an outage. My mental health is just as important as the health & success of a project. I shouldn’t burn myself out just because I feel obligated or compelled to.

  2. Training in Mississippi – a trip I will never forget. I got a decent speeding ticket, had to take a ridiculous good drivers test (asked me how many deer I could expect to see on XXXX road at XXXX time of year), and was able to make good on a bet. About a year before I started working in the construction industry, I made a bet with my mom and the outcome was whoever lost owed the other a trip to New Orleans. So naturally she was right & I was wrong & therefore I owed her a trip. Being able to travel for work gave me a good reason to take off a day before &/or a day or two after my “Work Duties” and live life. This was when I realized that I could turn any trip into whatever I wanted. It could have been a work trip to the middle of nowhere Mississippi but instead it was a weekend New Orleans trip with some work on the front end. Not to be too cliché but “Life is what you make it”.

  3. I was in Nebraska & a colleague of mine (You know who you are) stumbled upon an old playground Merry-Go-Round. The kind where you sit on the bars, hook your legs around the rail & lean all the way back. You feel your body being whipped around, the wind blowing through your hair, & you find that natural balance and equilibrium so that you stay on but feel like you may fly off at any moment. This trip was monumental for me for two reasons.

    1. Because I had recently left a project feeling defeated & I was questioning what my path was. This trip turned my perspective around.

    2. I was reminded that it doesn’t matter if you’re 24 or 44; you should never be afraid to have fun & laugh like a kid. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you have to grow up & quit having fun.

All of this is to say that not every story is perfect, not every outcome is the best you could have hoped for. I could have told you every negative part about each of the above trips. Instead I pulled out the best parts, the highlight reel if you will for all you sports people. Within every single experience/opportunity/challenge, is a positive. It may be the absolute worst experience of your life, even if your only reasonable response to the whole thing is, “I’ll never do that again”, the positive is that you know not to do whatever it was again.

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