Frequent Traveller



The best part about my job is sometimes also the worst part of my job. Growing up, I yearn to see the world and had a job that allow me to be that "glamorous frequent traveller". Now as an adult, I did make part of that childhood vision true. I am a frequent traveller but at no angle of my travel is it glamorous as I have envisage as a child.
What I thought it would be like when I was young.

The Job
I am one of those that people call a "Management Consultant". In university it was one of those roles that many, many apply for in hope for a prestigious career with endless opportunities. Part of the role also entails consultants to be client facing and hence the travel. In the 4 years I have been a Consultant. I have been fortunate to travel all around Australia, Shanghai, USA and Canada. As I said, the travel part is definitely true, but with corporate Travel polices and companies tightening on spending, the accommodation and flights is far from glamorous. 14 hour work trips on economy class is a far cry from what I had hope for (don't get me wrong, I fly economy in all my personal travels). As I write this, I know
how much of a "first world problem" it is, however it still doesn't change the fact it fell short from my personal expectations

The work is hardly every easy, the job comes with long hours and it is normal to work past 8 or 9pm each night. The days I get to finish at 5pm, I consider that finishing early. Most nights when away from home, dinner would consist of hotel room service or take out. What I would do for a home cooked meal after working for 12 hours straight!

The Travel
Waking up Monday morning at 4am to catch a 7am flight to Sydney can become the norm for about 3 months (average length of projects). Then come back home on Thursday night around 10pm each week. You start to fall into a routine and then BAM project ends and you are sent elsewhere. Since I am from Melbourne, the Sydney projects aren't too bad and if anything I do quite enjoy them. The ones I tend to dread are Brisbane. As I need to fly up on Sunday afternoon in order to show up on 8.30am on Monday. So there goes part of my precious weekend. As you can tell that can fast become boring. However whinging aside, there is perks, I can choose to stay in the city I am working in for the weekend, which then allows me explore. Or visit friends from other Australian cities.
Alone on Valentine's Day in NYC. Only keeping me warm was a coffee from Starbucks

International projects are also on the cards for me. (As I am writing this, I am in Canada on a 3 month project). This obviously has its pros and cons. Obviously due to the distance I don't fly home every weekend. Fly-backs only happen every 6-8 weeks. This can make me very home sick at times. I have lost count of the times I have wished so hard to sleep in my own bed and wake up next to my partner in the morning. I have missed many, many birthdays and weddings. I try to make it home for special milestone occasions but with so many friends and family to account for, it is hard (almost impossible) to not miss out on some of those special occasions. While we are allow to say "no" to projects, it is normally frowned upon when you first joined (I'm talking about the minion stages) to decline project and be difficult to resource out.

I should also mention, we don't always go to big cities. Sometimes you could jump on a small commercial or charter plane and end up in the middle of nowhere. We always go where the client wants us to go or are based.

With all the cons I stated above, there is also a list of pros. I have had the opportunity to work overseas and explore different countries. I do enjoy the idea that I can enjoy a overseas city on the weekend without the stress of thinking how much I am spending on accommodation and flights (ok yes I still do need to stay within budgets set out by work, but you get the gist). I get to assimilate into a local lifestyle for a short period of time without actually having to "move overseas". My weekends can be quite adventurous. I was in Washington 2 days ago and the weekend before that I was in NYC, next weekend I will be Miami. With all the travel you also learn to travel solo and the benefits of it. I went to Universal Studios in LA by myself and was able to finish the park in 4 hours, I was able to take advantage of all the single rider lines and go for round 2 on the rides I like. When I am flying I am also more likely to get upgraded as I am on my own and I have status on the airlines I travel with. Speaking of flying, I also have a lot of frequent flyer points from the flying and being savvy on my credit card points. I have managed to fly myself and my partner to Europe on points on our last holiday. Of course it goes without saying that I also get lounge access, and I am not accustomed to taking the priority line at airports so I can skip the queue (yes I very much need that, as I am always running late). However as fun as it sounds, the novelty does wear off and it's not long before I miss my mum's cooking and my dog coming to greet me when I get home.


The Life
Random weekend exploring NYC
So there you have it, the summary of my so called "consulting" life. Would I change the experience I have? No, it has provided me some of the best work experience I could ask for. Would I still be in this role in 5 years time? Unlikely, you do burn hard and that "work hard, play hard" mentality can't last forever. You do reach a stage where you just want to stay home. However for now, I will continue to allow my adventurous side take over and find new cities to explore and more hotels and cities I can contribute to TripAdvisor.




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