“Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder”
-Thomas Haynes Bayly Isle of Beauty
For the second time in the last two years I recently I spent a week in India for business. Last year my wife guest blogged during my last trip, so I never really got a chance to discuss the experience from my point of view. Obviously I picked that quote above for a reason. This is not to say I have to travel over 7,000 to appreciate my girls.
However, when you travel 7,000 miles you realize has much as you enjoy your “alone” time at home, you are safe in the knowledge your daughters aren’t far away. I like walking the dog, going for a run, heck, even cutting the grass because I get that time without the craziness and to be alone with my thoughts. My wife and I enjoy when the girls are spending the night at someone’s house, so we can have time to ourselves. But these are all short periods of time that you know are only temporary.
My trip was also just temporary, but it was almost a week and again did I mention 7,000 freakin’ miles? It wasn’t one or two days and when you are halfway around the world, you really feel halfway around the world and isolated from the people you love. Now that I have experienced this trip twice I have noticed a pattern has developed. I knew I had to take this trip and booked it months in advance, so it reality doesn’t hit you since it is so far away. It is sort of this thing that is going to happen but it is far enough down the road that there is no reality attached to it.
As you move closer reality starts to set in. The week leading up to the trip I begin to realize I really don’t want to leave my family for a week. I start to think things like “maybe I should fake an injury or sickness.” I am sure my work would love for me to pull something like that and cost them $7k+ of non-refundable money.
The week of the trip is like the Sword of Damocles, just dangling over you. Each day I wanted the week to take longer and longer in some kind of hopes that the trip wouldn’t come. The day of is a minute by minute count down until finally the car arrives and it all begins. To be honest I always end up enjoying the trip from a work perspective. When your job is to manage an offshore team, it is nice to actually meet face to face with that team.
People in India are extremely welcoming and kind. It is certainly a different world but truly a great experience. But, no matter how good the experience, I am still 7,000 miles away from my girls. Luckily the trip is a whirlwind and I don’t have too much time to dwell on how much I miss them. The last day is always the best part, knowing I am on my way home. Each part of the final day, leaving the office for the last time, checking out of the hotel and heading to the airport is all just bringing me closer to my girls.
The flight homes even though long, almost ten hours from Hyderabad to Heathrow and another almost 7 hours from Heathrow to Newark feels much shorter than the trip to India. Sure the incredibly slow moving customs line, and getting my luggage was brutal, but I was still in the right state within the right country. Walking through the door was a great experience, to see how happy my girls were to see me made me feel like a King. Yea, it lasted maybe 5 minutes but man were they a great 5 minutes.
No matter how happy my girls were to see me their enthusiasm paled in comparison to my dog Shadow. He totally upstaged them with his display of happiness and reacted like he won the Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, World Cup and a $500 million power ball lottery all at the same time, just five times greater. But I digress, I mean he’s a dog, overacting with displays of affection is kind of his thing. No I didn’t have to travel 7,000 miles to realize how much I appreciate my girls, but….it didn’t hurt.