Like many of my esteemed colleagues, I spend a great deal of time in the air and on the road. This leads to many nights in hotels during the week and once in awhile sleepless nights in one of the cities we’ve chosen to call home while I’m travelling away from my family. To be clear I’m a bit of a wimp. I determined many years ago that I would not travel for long periods of time without my wife and children, or at least my wife or a child. I hold to that rule pretty effectively when I am travelling for a period over a week. However, when it’s the period under a week and over 5 days that I am alone, it doesn’t matter if I am at “home” or they are, really the only true “home” is where they are, so if I am alone and without them, I find myself once in a while in a state of malaise. I’m alone and I just don’t like it. Often I find this will lead to a sleepless night, and often the night when I arrive at my destination, which isn’t really that easy to deal with. These are some of the pitfalls of being an air warrior.
It’s likely the product of an active mind, I’m not big on the whole sleeping thing, though I do try, and many times succeed. Just as often I’m up at the crack of dawn, going through my own personal “me time/routine” which includes; thinking about my day, talking to God, journaling, reading and focusing myself for the day. It also includes a good healthy run and then a 90-minute uninterrupted power session where I work on a priority before anyone has the chance to interrupt me for the day. You would think with all of this accomplished during the day that by the time the night comes around I would pass out and frankly most times I simply do. But not when I am completely alone, I seem to “miss” my sleep window on the first night and then struggle to get into a sleep groove the rest of the trip. All my normal bed routines simply just don’t work in these cases and calling back home so they can all lull me to sleep doesn’t make me father or husband of the year.
Funnily though, I don’t seem to have any trouble falling asleep on the airplane on the way to or from the destination location, nor do I have trouble sleeping the closer I get towards getting home i.e. the last couple nights. It’s like the first few that simply hold me hostage. I guess the good thing is, it’s also the reason why I am the red-eye king, always opting for a red-eye when it’s possible to get home to the family. Always opting to take everyone with me when I can. I’d prefer to be all together and do less, then accomplish more alone.
So how do I fix the Pitfalls of Being an Air Warrior?
As I mentioned I do tend to try to either fly with my family or if I cannot as is often the case, I make sure I connect with them for a solid period of time right when I land. Not at night time when the blues have me, but early on, to set a solid foundation of “us time” so it feels like we are together. FaceTime, Skype, telephone whatever is needed to give me that peace of mind. I also send a gift home to arrive the day I do wherever they are and I am not. So either flowers, or edible arrangements, so it makes the other side willing and wanting to speak to me as well! Finally, my wife and I will engage in date nights when I’m away, we’ll pick a night if I am away for anything substantial and watch a tv show together while skyping. It’s silly but it gives a sense of closeness to us.
So this is what works for us, how about you?