Gentle readers, please forgive me for my tardiness to post, as well this all-text post. Just over three months ago, I returned to the United States, and I must say that there are both good and, well, challenging points to address in my repatriation process. I moved back into the Atlanta area, but my new job includes a great deal of travel. Being close to a major airport is a real bonus, even if the airport is about two hours away sometimes due to traffic and distance.

I hope your holiday season has been bright. I know mine has been excellent so far, and I am looking forward to the new year ahead!

One of the things that makes my travel more enjoyable is listening to podcasts (basically online radio shows) that keep me entertained for hours. A favorite podcast is Sowerby and Luff’s Big Thing, developed by a British couple and is filled with funny news articles and keeps my heart light with their categorization of things that are “good things” and “bad things”. So, in homage to their idea, please see the following:

Good things:

  • The Atlanta airport. Yes, it may be big and a bit gnarly, but the ATL Hartsfield-Jackson airport serves up lots and lots of direct flights to most of my destinations. Definitely a good thing.
  • The job. I like what I do, which is working for a large educational publisher as a curriculum specialist. My travel supports both sales and training activities, and I work with a great team of folks. Our territory? Thirty-seven states… more on that, later. Usually, I fly in, spend the night, work with the client, and then fly out afterward. There’s not usually time for sightseeing, although that would be a nice treat.
  • Family. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to see my family. I was even able to connect with my daughter who lives in New York during a recent trip there. Spending time with my daughters and my parents is so, so important.
  • Friends. As you might expect, coming back to the US and traveling 3-5 days a week makes spending quality time with friends a bit of a challenge. You would be right. But for those folks who have taken the time to hang out with me, whether on the phone or in person, according to my crazy schedule, I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate that.
  • Location. I am really, really lucky in that I live with a dear friend and rent a room in his place. When I am not in Atlanta, I am pretty much anywhere in our territory. So far, I have been to the following airports and the surrounding communities for different work activities: Detroit, Columbus, Providence, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Hartford, Richmond, Denver, Pueblo, Newark, New York, Pittsburgh, Sioux Falls, Madison, Coeur D’Alene, Spokane, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Houston, and Marshall, Minnesota.
  • Books and podcasts. Whether I am waiting in a line at the airport, driving a couple of hours to a destination, or in a restaurant, books and podcasts keep me company and make the time fly by.
  • The holidays. I am very, very thankful to be here during the holiday season. In addition to catching up on my sleep, the time at home has allowed me to relax and enjoy the holiday season.

Bad things Not so good things:

  • Eating out. I know, eating out is supposed to be something fun. Not when it is every meal… and while I do the best I can, it is very hard to eat properly on the road. I am getting better about eating the right things, but I still miss cooking and making healthier meals.
  • Ridiculous traveling experiences. The idiots having a pre-flight picnic on the floor in front of the gate desk. The crabby people who feel such a burden when I get up to go the bathroom on the plane… trust me, I didn’t choose a middle seat for fun on a six-hour flight. The car rental company that couldn’t find the car they rented me that did not work the following morning and after they had it towed to their repair facility… that’s about three hours of time on the phone that I will never get back. The Minneapolis and Newark airports. The woman complaining that her favorite brand of coffee was not available in the airport like it used to be (but kudos to the guy behind the counter who only smiled and did the best he could). The delayed flights that I only find out about when I am already in the airport to take off.
  • Time alone when I could use a friendly face. I am rarely shy about calling friends when I need to hear a friendly voice. There are times, though, when a few moments with a friend would be welcome, especially when a flight has been delayed or I arrive at a destination much later than I expect. Being lonely occasionally is to be expected, but it still isn’t a nice feeling.
  • Missing Valencia. This is probably the most significant of all. I really, really miss Valencia and my friends there. There have been some pretty black days when my heart was breaking and I was homesick for my adopted city. Never having experienced this before, I guess this is normal. That doesn’t make it any easier.

So, gentle readers, that brings me to the next question: What next? I want to continue blogging, but need some ideas about what would be the most meaningful to you. Let me know… send me a comment and give me some ideas!