Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pre-Mediation Fun aka Work Travel

One thing I've tried to focus on in the last 6 months or so is trying to make work travel slighly less miserable.

When it comes to food, it's a fine line -- sure I can eat tons of fancy and fatty delicious stuff on the road, but I usually end up kicking myself later.  But it seems to be a routine.  I can't seem to find room service that will make and deliver my morning green smoothie!  And I'm stuck with a fairly fixed menu when I'm in a courtroom or a mediation room -- usually there is one option that we can order from, and if I'm lucky, there's something vegetarian on the menu.

But dinners are even harder.  I either go out with other attorneys, in which case I often consume things I'd never have on a weeknight at home -- dessert and alcohol.  And even when I'm dining alone, in some ways I feel like I'm compensating for being somewhat unhappy about not being home, so I go ahead and order dessert.

It took me a while to add some photos, but I was in Montana a couple times in February and March and I made an effort to keep track of what I was eating and drinking so I'd have notes for my next trip there, probably in June.

Flying into Salt Lake City: 

I got some grilled tofu with veggies and brown rice for an awesome lunch at an airport in Salt Lake City.  Dinner was delicious (at Plonk) but way too cheesy to be healthy -- and the few cocktails weren't great.  No surprise I felt like crap the next morning and cut my treadmill run short. 

Breakfast at the hotel each morning was oatmeal and berries: 

Then it was all kinds of fun in an unusual office (complete with boards and a fun bookshelf), and of course doing actual work during the mediation (which featured a cheese sandwich for lunch).

Dinner after mediation was solo, since I missed my flight.  I went to "the best restaurant in Missoula," the Pearl Cafe. 

A couple menu shots (just turn your head sideways to read, sorry...): 

My soup (and wine): 

The best part of the meal -- my dessert was butterscotch pudding: 

But aside from eating, the main thing I'm trying to do to make work travel more enjoyable is to take advantage of down-time to do something fun. Usually, I'd work or watch TV in my hotel room. But part of me has been a bit mentally disengaged, given all the turmoil at work this year. That helps me recognize that I should step away more.

The most recent trip to Montana was perfect. My flight landed a bit early, I'd worked all 6 hours I'd been travelling, and so I had some free time.

Obviously, the pool wasn't an option: 

The primary entertainment seems to be gambling, which doesn't appeal to me at all: 
And even going for a morning run up to the M (which you can see toward the top of the hill in the picture below) wasn't an option since I was told it would likely be icy and snowy and dark: 

So instead, I decided to hit the slopes and buy a half-day lift pass to Snowbowl!   

Totally awesome and so much fun compared to a usual work trip!

But aside from having great snow to ski, the weather was the opposite of great overnight, when I had to go to the airport early the next morning: 

My rental car with the snow that accumulated during dinner -- and no scraper in the car! 

But safe and sound and onto a snow covered plane: 

And home toward Texas: 
So it's a fine line between not being gone longer than necessary, but getting to do fun things while I'm gone so I don't hate work travel as much. 


  1. That is always the challenge - when I would only do occasional travel it would be a challenge to find a rhythm' and last year I traveled way too much to the same location, so I was able to do grocery shopping to control my food, and find some nice trails ... I hate being away, but need to make it less miserable :)

  2. Totally off the subject, but if I can't run Burlington because of this injury I am actually looking at the Missoula Marathon in July. A Peace Corps friend lives there. He is an avid runner and triathlete. I saw him for the first time since we finished our service in Mozambique this April when he came out to run Boston for the first time. I just so happen to have that weekend off in July and there aren't too many options for marathons in June and July.

    I love that you took advantage of your time to do something seasonal, active and fun. I often wish I could travel even just locally for work. Working on a locked psych unit on the overnight shift is a bit monotonous after awhile. Of course the patients keep it interesting!

  3. I’m going to be driving thru Salt Lake on my road trip next month! I hope I pass thru during daylight hours because I remember it being gorgeous with the mountain backdrop when I was there before on a layover at the airport.

    I think your idea of doing something fun while traveling for work is a really good idea. Good job on picking skiing while you were in Montana! I used to love to ski when I was a kid. My family went many times each winter.