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[P]
Some Thoughts on Travelling for Work

By codejack in Culture
Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 11:31:06 AM EST
Tags: Humour (all tags)
Humour

We have all been there. Well, maybe not all of us, but I am sure that the majority of readers have considered a job travelling (full travel, I'm not talking about you wussies who drive to the next city once a month for a meeting). There are, however, many issues with travelling full time, some obvious, some not. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind if you ever travel for work.


First, some background; I recently accepted a job travelling for a major computer manufacturer, upgrading computers at every location of a nationwide bank. I am currently in a hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma, about 750 miles from my home. I was last home 2 weeks ago, and expect to be home again later this week. My wife (Significant other? Oh hell, just go read my diary, it's too complicated to go into here) is 9 months pregnant, and scheduled to deliver April 1st (April Fool's Day baby, yay!).

OK, the first thing you think when you consider a job travelling is, "Cool, I can get paid for full time, and most of it is just driving around or flying on a plane!" WRONG. Unfortunately, the first thing your boss thinks is, "Hey, my employee doesn't have anything better to do, I can just pile the work on, and make him work 168 hours a week (169 if travelling across a time zone)." Also, flying is a royal pain in the ass since 9/11. I think the terrorists' greatest success is the millions of hours wasted every year by upgraded security, etc, in American airports. Add it up, I bet that the cost rebuilding the twin towers has nothing on millions of people spending hours in line hoping they're not the one getting the anal probe.

Next, hotels; If you have any say in the matter, try to stay in Marriott affiliated hotels. The Wingate Inn and Quality Inn are both alright, but the Choice hotels (Comfort Suites, Sleep inn, etc) would be great, if they could somehow merge them all into one. As it is, Comfort suites have great bathrooms, but the chairs are awful, and most of them won't let you smoke in them, and you have to light up your joint in the rental car, then you get all paranoid about taking it back to the rental place and having them smell it, so you just spray the hell out of it with air freshener; then you think that the guys at the rental place do this all the time, so they know what it means when a car comes in reeking of fake banana air freshener, so they'll get onto you about it, and charge your company for you smoking in their car, then your boss calls you up and asks what this was all about, because he knows you don't smoke cigarettes, so you have to make up some story about picking up a hooker, and she lit up in the car, but your boss turns out to be a pentecostal preacher and insists that you don't do that in the future, or at least have her smoke in the hotel room where they charge you less, but you can't do that because the whole hotel will know you're smoking the funk because you got that hydro from your cousin, and you can smell that stuff two states over, so now you're just fucked. The Sleep Inns have sucky bathrooms.

Ah, the rental car; Every traveller's nightmare. You see, all the good cars are always taken, so you always wind up with crap like a Dodge Stratus, which feels like a 5000 pound car mounted on a radio flyer wagon with 15 chipmunks pulling it along. Oh, you can try to wheedle your way into a better car, but if you get an "upgrade," it's usually because someone else took one look at it and asked for the chipmunk-mobile. Of course, there are worse cars than the stratus: You could get a Chevy "Classic," I think it's based on a malibu, but they've taken the handbrake out to remove the last vestige of fun from it. At least my Stratus has a hand-brake, although the hotels get a little upset after you spin out in their parking lot 5 or 6 times.

Food is another big issue; You get a per diem for meals, however, you quickly discover that after a case of Mountain Dew, a pack of cigarettes, a bottle of whiskey, and a bottle of white crosses, you will be eating value meals at taco bell every day. Of course, you will rationalize that, if you had a normal job, you would eat out sometimes, so you can afford a decent meal a few times a week, and this is where the problem begins. By decent meal, I generally mean a sit down restaurant, with a waiter/waitress (waitron?), etc. This means you will be eating a lot of O'Charlie's, Chili's, and such. Never ask for a local place, you will wind up in the worst run-down hole-in-the-wall piece-of-crap "restauraunt' you have ever eaten in. Last night, I ate some mexican that was recommended to me (granted, I asked the guy in the liquor store who didn't speak english, but still), and let's just say that you don't want to know the details after that. I have become convinced that no one outside of the southeast U.S. knows anything about cooking, and I think I am borne out by some of the responses to my chili article (sorry, no link, look it up your own damn self, I'm on a laptop).

Ah, the laptop. When you don't travel, a laptop is a status symbol, a neat toy to show off your position in the corporate hierarchy; Once you start travelling, you curse the day the damn things were ever invented. You just can't win; The three factors that are most important to you, low price, low weight, and large screen size, are mutually exclusive. Generally, low cost and large screen size win out, unless you're either rich or have much better eyes than I do, so you wind up lugging around an 8 pound "phone book," which, after you add to it the charger, digital camera, paperwork (always in your laptop case), etc, you are carrying around 25 pounds of crap, then you show up to a site, and it's a frigging auto plant, and you have to hike 2 miles around the factory with this crap hanging off your shoulder, trying to not get run over by VIPs riding around on those stupid carts. Add to this the crappy chairs in the hotel, and your back is screwed, while you're hunched over the desk, trying to sit up so your back doesn't twinge and knock over your whiskeyand spill it on this stupsdifp friggnig laptop kyborad wiht teh litlte tiyn kesy, and ouy cant' tyep no th\e dam tihng! AARRGHH!0

Laundry is an issue as well. First, never use the hotel laundry if you can avoid it. Of course, you don't have time to go anywhere else, so the hotel laundry it is. The washing machines aren't too bad, as you can almost get a decent load of laundry in one, but the driers never work properly, so you have to run your clothes through 2 cycles to get them decently dry. Second, never leave your laundry while it is running. this is not because it will be stolen, but because the hotel staff will walk in and "help" with it, like dumping bleach into your load of colors. In reality, the hotel staff hate you, and will do everything in their power to make your life a living hell.

And last, going home. The beautiful thing is that, once you get home, your significant other is so pleased to have you home, and so sympathetic about your having been on the road all the time, you can get whatever you want: Nice dinners, back rubs, kinky sex, you name it. And that's what makes it all worthwhile.

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Some Thoughts on Travelling for Work | 94 comments (82 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
I was sent to Denver on my birthday (2.75 / 8) (#4)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Mar 14, 2005 at 10:01:20 AM EST

I was sent to Denver to visit another subsidiary of the big corporation whose subsidiary I worked for. There was some bug in their software, and they didn't have any programmers on staff that could figure out how to fix it.

This was in February. Denver's not a very nice place during the winter.

I was lonely and didn't know anyone in town, but what was worse was that I had just started dating this woman who was a talented guitar player. I was expected to stay as long as was necessary to fix the problem, and I thought I'd lose her if I didn't return home soon.

But we spent a lot of time on the phone, and she gave me a very thoughtful birthday gift: she played her guitar over the phone for me.

In the end my employer Geonex, once "the nation's largest mapping company", which sunk millions, if not billions into buying up all the mapmaking and aerial photography companies in the United States, went out of business. I wanted to link to it when I wrote my first HTML resume, but the top search engine hit found Geonex in a list of publicly traded bankrupcies.

Things didn't work out with the guitar player either, but I'm much happier with the woman I did end up with.

You know what's really funny? While I was in Denver, I won a radio call-in contest, and got a VHS tape of Pee Wee's Big Adventure. This qualified me to be entered into a drawing for an all-expense paid trip to California. I told them that I actually lived in California, and asked if I could come back to Denver if I won, when the weather was nicer.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


Huh? (none / 1) (#32)
by miah on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 10:51:02 PM EST

What Feb were you in Denver? I've been here all year and this Feb we had temperatures in the 50s-70s all month long. I think we may have had one day where it snowed and it didn't even stick to the grass let alone the roads.

Please, please, please, tell me where you think the weather is good so I can move there. For now I'll take my 335 days of sunshine a year. I rode my motorcycle all but four days last month.

March is the month you don't want to be in Denver. We get about 80% of our precipitation for the year in the spring. So far we've had half an inch of snow this year and no rain.

Religion is not the opiate of the masses. It is the biker grade crystal meth of the masses.
SLAVEWAGE
[ Parent ]

Maybe it's global warming (none / 0) (#56)
by MichaelCrawford on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 04:47:14 PM EST

I was there in the late 80's, I think February of 89 or something like that.

It snowed the morning after I arrived, which I thought was nice, but what I didn't enjoy much, and still don't now that I'm in Canada, was how the city streets got to look after they were plowed and the cars had thrown mud all over the place.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

Stop Spamming, Crawford (none / 1) (#57)
by ReallyEvilCanine on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 04:52:16 PM EST

Noted Link Whore to Pay For Traffic
spammer spam fucktard abuse spam Link Whore Michael Crawford Goingware Go die.

[ Parent ]
I hate when I screw up the formatting (none / 1) (#58)
by ReallyEvilCanine on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 04:53:09 PM EST

I really do.

[ Parent ]
I don't understand why you say I'm spamming. (none / 0) (#59)
by MichaelCrawford on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 06:28:55 PM EST

I just commented on the ugly winter in Denver.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

-1, author eats cock. (1.03 / 30) (#6)
by fragmal on Mon Mar 14, 2005 at 11:37:49 AM EST




The content in this comment is protected under the Creative Commons License. Details about the Creative Commons License can be found here.
coq au vin? (none / 1) (#7)
by nkyad on Mon Mar 14, 2005 at 02:11:35 PM EST


Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
Nice career choice. (2.90 / 10) (#9)
by fragmal on Mon Mar 14, 2005 at 03:36:13 PM EST

I recently accepted a job travelling for a major computer manufacturer, upgrading computers at every location of a nationwide bank.

Ah yes, welcome to the 21st century equivalent of pumping gas for a living.


The content in this comment is protected under the Creative Commons License. Details about the Creative Commons License can be found here.

Pretty much (none / 1) (#16)
by codejack on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 01:48:30 AM EST

But the advancement oppurtunities are almost insane in this field; I just got through talking to my boss about taking over a regional manager's slot because another guy fell victim to "The Bug," as we call it when someone goes insane from the stress, and while this would involve about the same amount of travel and more work, the pay is nice, and the listing on the ol' resum looks a hell of a lot better than my last job, "Computer Support Specialist, Incomprehensible Municipal Government Agency".


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
Just wait.... (3.00 / 2) (#19)
by SDaskaleas on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 09:35:32 AM EST

till you get "the bug" yourself mate...

[ Parent ]
Amen brother! (2.66 / 6) (#11)
by whynot on Mon Mar 14, 2005 at 03:40:58 PM EST

I fucking HATE hotels! I have been spending three days a week in a hotel [in europe] for about 1.5years and this was one of the worst times in my life.

First of all you have to get a four to five star hotel to get something at least near the comfort you are used to at your home. I am not talking about the so-called "service", I am talking about the "living" space. Second is the fact that some underpaid cleaning guy / gall will mess through your stuff every day, displace all of the things you put somewhere on purpose or throw stuff away you still wanted to have. Third are the check in / check out times. Come on, who will check in before 6pm if you happen to stay at a place because you need to work there? If you work during the day you will travel in the evening / at night. This will result in having to deal with all the late check in crap and with the night portier. He will be very confused if you don't fit the "30 years old businessman" scheme but happen to be 20, looking like 18, and wear comfy clothes instead of business uniform.

Oh and also everything you get is in really small portions and if you change hotels you will have to change the brand of your soap/shampoo/whatever every time (also see fight club ...) unless you bring your own. If you happen to go to a very expensive place you can't even fully get out of the cab without some guy grabbing your luggage. Fuck you, this is my stuff, the reason why I use a backpack is that I can easily carry my stuff myself this way. I don't need this ego stroking.

And then the windows. Most of the times the fucking windows won't open "because of the AC". How am I expected to sleep then with no fresh air? The blankets are all to short, the cushions are way too thick.

I won't even mention hotels that have very bad      acoustic insulation so that you can hear the kids next door scream when it's time to go to bed or even better have the couple upstairs have a lot of fun while you try to fall asleep.

Maybe I sound like a really cynical old bastard but this really is the way I feel after this time. I am very glad that I hardly have to visit a hotel anymore.

water (3.00 / 2) (#44)
by CAIMLAS on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 10:19:53 AM EST

I was on the road in SD, NE, and ND two summers ago for about 3 weeks. A co-worker (who thankfully is an awesome guy and a good friend) and I were going about to damn near every rinky-dink gas station, fill station, and farm fuel pump and doing Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure plans, as per the EPA's requirements for such facilities.

The work wasn't too bad (mostly driving, with about 20 minutes of walking about outdoors, talking with the facility manager, and taking measurements), as each site was seperated by roughly 2 or 3 hours of driving in mostly remote boondock locations. I would have gone insane doing this work by myself - it would have been completely loathsome, even with a good stereo. Endless flat Midwestern plains and no human interaction for hours punctuated by short and unpleasant interactions with local hicks. Yetch! You end up getting a fairly unpleasant farmer's tan on half of one arm and your neck (or something similar) from driving in one direction (NWS or E) all day.

Despite all that, the most unpleasant thing about the job was the water. It would always be either one extreme or the other when taking a shower: too hot or cold, too soft or hard. Sometimes the water barely got warm (despite having few people in the hotel), and sometimes the water itself felt oily it was so soft. Other times you'd feel dirtier after the shower, and there would be a very visible grime in the shower from only a single person's water. Granted, we were out in the middle of nowhere, and were lucky for the consistency of a Best Western or Super 8 (which is where we would stay if we could), so I guess it's expected.

And the food out there was horrid, too. Yeck. We made good use of convenience store burritos. :-/
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

europe vs america (2.50 / 4) (#54)
by originalbigj on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 03:57:04 PM EST

No wonder you don't like hotels if you've been going to European ones. They're terrible. The old charming ones are that way because the building is about to fall down, and the rooms are all in bizarre uncomfortable shapes. There are no middle-ground hotels in Europe. American hotels are completely different because most lie between the shitholes and the $500 a night places. The rooms are all exactly the same, and they get the job done. Plus the beds are usually nice in the decent chain hotels.

[ Parent ]
you're making travel unnecessarily difficult (3.00 / 2) (#91)
by jcarnelian on Tue Mar 22, 2005 at 05:41:26 AM EST

Here are some hints:

  • Bring your own toiletries.
  • Bring earplugs.
  • Get a travel guide, see something of your destination, and use your hotel room only for sleeping--you'll like it better.
  • Don't let stuff lie around the room when you are out.
  • Layering works both day and night for feeling comfortable
  • Call ahead for late check-in.  Yes, it really works.
  • Carrying bags isn't for "ego stroking"--lots of people need that service.  It also helps you find your room.  But a simple "No, thank you" will stop them.
  • I have never had problems with checking in as a non-businessman-stereotype-traveler; they are used to seeing all sorts of people.  If you are friendly, give them a credit card and a passport, they are generally happy.



[ Parent ]
Wise up (2.80 / 5) (#20)
by omegageek on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 12:36:35 PM EST

In reality, the hotel staff hate you, and will do everything in their power to make your life a living hell.

Maybe they just hate you. Could be all the donuts in the parking lot, sparking up your joints in their non-smoking rooms and spilling whisky all over the place. Just a thought.


Digital Rights Management? Hell no! The only person with any rights on MY computer is ME.

At least you get the hookers (nt) (none / 0) (#21)
by knight37 on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 01:18:32 PM EST




--Knight37

Once a Gamer, always a Gamer
Hi guys, (1.20 / 15) (#22)
by Harvey Anderson on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 01:23:18 PM EST

Check meee out!  So yeah, my name is Codejack but as you can tell from my story I'm not really a dork because of all that wild subversive stuff I do!  I like attention though (doesn't everyone?) so check out my diary for details on my Progressive Lifestyle!  And I'm going to be a dad, how cool!

Me smart but also love joints and I can joke about hookers just like any FOOTBALL PLAYER.  I'm no stranger to whiskey also!  Please get to know me; I love it when people get to know me; I love it when people get to know ME..

Did I mention that I'm going to be a dad?  how cool!

Dude (2.50 / 4) (#31)
by codejack on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 09:49:08 PM EST

Not feeling a little inadequte are we?


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
Not (1.33 / 3) (#33)
by Harvey Anderson on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 11:10:08 PM EST

at all.

[ Parent ]
Ah (none / 1) (#46)
by codejack on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 11:38:15 AM EST

So your perfectly well-balanced psyche feels the need to put down others for your own gratification, but your not feeling inadequate; I believe many psychologists would label you as having an abusive personality, with many deep-seated problems related to your childhood. I would recommend either professional couseling, transcendental meditation, or smoking marijuana on a regular basis.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
It's not that complicated. (2.50 / 2) (#48)
by Harvey Anderson on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 12:04:52 PM EST

It is indeed gratifying to not share in your behaviors and to sort of revel in that a little, but it's also for your benefit.  Your wankiness is not set in stone and you can change it if you want to, instead of sticking your head in the sand.

If someone makes fun of you because you are fat, maybe it's better to just lose weight instead of constructing elaborate psycho-arguments.  Same idea.

[ Parent ]

OK (none / 1) (#50)
by codejack on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 12:32:05 PM EST

So your problem is with my behaviour, as if your value system somehow supercedes my own. Sounds like your problem to me.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
Don't be gay. (none / 0) (#72)
by Harvey Anderson on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 09:54:56 AM EST

My problem is with your attitude.  And yes, my value system does supercede yours. : )

[ Parent ]
Well, that simplifies matters: (none / 1) (#79)
by codejack on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 02:33:22 PM EST

Bite me.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
no (none / 0) (#51)
by CAIMLAS on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 12:43:21 PM EST

He just has a terrific sense of humor and is able to capitalize on the general personality type of K5 and make it overt.

Bravo, btw. :P
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

Long term hotel stays can be surprisingly nice (2.50 / 4) (#23)
by benenglish on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 04:05:34 PM EST

If you get lucky.  

A few years ago, my employer put me up at a very nice downtown hotel in Dallas for a month.  Things got extended and I wound up living there for almost 6 months.  It was during a time when occupancy wasn't maxed, so the hotel would occasionally close one of their towers to save money.  When they did, it was inevitably the one I was staying in.  So they had to ask me to move.

On a couple of occasions, they had rented out whole-floor blocks of rooms to conventions and I was, once again, asked to move.  (Hint - Never stay in a hotel during a National Bar Association convention.  A ruder, stupider, more belligerent and louder group of drunken lunkheads you won't find anywhere else.)

The upside to this was that to compensate me for my troubles each time they made me move the hotel always upgraded my room.  Over the months I was there, I got upgraded 4 or 5 times, always for no extra charge.  I wound up spending the last 6 weeks in a "presidential suite" that normally rented for USD$1400 a day.  It was bigger than any apartment I've ever had, with a bar, kitchen, entertainment room with widescreen TV, gigantic master suite, servant's entrance, and more.  Dadgum, it was fun to borrow an LCD projector, screen, and some speakers from the classrooms I was supporting during the day and have movie parties at night.  With enough alcohol to act as a lubricant, you'd be surprised how many people you can cram into one hotel suite.

The road is what you make of it.  I love traveling on my job.

Long Stays (none / 0) (#68)
by Xptic on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 10:37:16 PM EST

I also like nice long stays.  Best I've done is about 4 months.

One word of advice:  tip the hotel staff like a mofo early and they'll treat you better the whole stay.

I was able to have the cleaners do my laundry, had access to the kitchen late at night, and even got into the comms closet a few times.

The hotel manager was very impressed when I fixed a WLAN outage in under an hour.  A few calls to their NOC for specific settings and some basic orentation was all it took.  Found a yellow alarm (t-1 alarm for upstream equipment failure) on their DSU and called the telco to resolve the issue.

They even offered me a job (pay hike, but too much travel *go figure)) but I turned them down.

[ Parent ]

Here's an idea... (2.62 / 8) (#24)
by WindowsSux on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 05:10:01 PM EST

My biggest pet peeve about being on the road is crossing paths with clowns like you, spinning out in the parking lot at all hours and your pot smoke seeping through the walls into my room.

Here's an idea. Try not spending your per diem on pot, booze, pills and cigarettes, then maybe you will be able to afford some decent food. Idiot.

I hope your boss reads this and can figure out who wrote it.

I hope so, too! (2.75 / 8) (#30)
by codejack on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 09:46:16 PM EST

He's supposed to be bringing me a dime bag.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
International travel (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by coljac on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 05:15:07 PM EST

Of course I completely agree that business travel sucks. It's exhausting, it can be high stress (when I have travelled in the past, it's often been to give a presentation at some high-powered meeting on a few hours of sleep).

Right now I have the worst deal yet. I regularly have to travel from Melbourne, Australia to San Francisco, a 14.5 hour flight or so, making for a good 19 or 20 hour trip with a connection and so on. Try doing that and see how you feel at work the next day. Plus I have to stay for 2-5 weeks at a time.

Of course, being K5 someone will have worse conditions yet, so I look forward to the pissing contest below.



---
Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey

My thoughts, based on my experience (none / 1) (#26)
by theboz on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 05:22:44 PM EST

1) Take the spouse with you when you travel. That way you don't have to fly home on weekends and it makes it a lot easier.

2) Stay at an extended stay type place (although not Extended Stay, because they are for drug dealers, prostitutes, and other miscreants) such as Woodfin (my favorite, but rare), Residence Inn, or Candlewood Suites. Stay longer than a month, so you get the taxes removed and save yourself money.

3) Eat food that you can buy at the grocery store. E.g. Lean Pockets, sandwich fixings, Amy's TV dinners, etc. Buy fairly healthy as much as possible, but easy stuff. You want to save money but not just eat shit all the time.

4) If you can stay long enough, drive your own car all the way there. If you can be there at least a month, it's worth it. Plus, if you're paid on a 1099 it's pretty easy to write off car payments as a business expense.

5) Avoid expenses. Don't go to strippers, don't buy a bunch of crap or go spend a bunch as a tourist. Just sit in your room and use K5.

Stuff.

My least favorite is the (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by neozeed on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 06:53:39 PM EST

Hey we have a problem in New York, can you take the next plane out & just fix the damed thing... Well sure it sounds fun, but New York in Jan is like FUCKING FREEZING (Im based in Miami). The other part that sucks is no time to pack clothes.. I used to joke about keeping a suitcase @ work, but now I actually do. The worst of these 'spur of the moment' trips was to Atlanta.. I was 3 days (ICK!) in the same clothes. It was DISGUSTING, but the office manager refused to open early, or stay late, so I had to work around their little schedule, and too bad for me, if I wanted to buy clothes. FUCKER

The best part is free booze, and p0rn! Not to mention all the computer gadgets you can sneak under the raidar as 'office equipment'. Im digging my DVD burner!

The bottom line I guess it that you have to like what you are doing, and find *some* enjoyment out of it. Other wise you just spend time in airports all over the world, and once you get there all the data centres look alike.

-----------------------
Unless you're alive you can't play. And if you don't play, you don't get to be alive.

Last-Minute Travel (2.00 / 2) (#66)
by Xptic on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 10:30:24 PM EST

I was working in Italy for a while.  One morning, I woke up, kissed my wife, and went to work.  By noon, I was on a plane for Athens with absolutely no notice.

I literally had tickets waiting at my desk at the office.  Tickets and a Fireberd-9000 (data test set for long-haul comm lines) and a note from the boss.

I spent the next 4 days on a shitty site with absolutely no support from the company I was servicing.

My wife was so pissed when I called from the Athens airport.

But, I went in and knocked the job out in no time.  Everyone was impressed and my boss told me to stay down there for a week and enjoy myself.  He said the customer paid for 4 days, so I might as well stay in-country.

Everyone was happy (except my wife) and I got a promotion out of it.  Ever since then, I've realized that being very flexible (and not complaining) gets serious browny points with the boss.

He doesn't ask much, but when he does, he knows it'll get done with no friction on my part.

[ Parent ]

I'm very flexible (2.00 / 2) (#69)
by codejack on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 11:40:55 PM EST

Which is necessary, considering where my head is.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
Well that much is true (none / 1) (#71)
by neozeed on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 09:03:03 AM EST

I know Im the highest paid in the department, that much I dont complain about, its more the complete disregard on the other side. You know the "Hi Im wearing the same underwear since Tuesday, Id really *LOVE* to go get some more", and the answer too bad, you should have come prepared... On another note they NEED clothing stores in aiports..

Although is it me or are airports looking more & more like malls? Esp London Hethrow?

-----------------------
Unless you're alive you can't play. And if you don't play, you don't get to be alive.
[ Parent ]

Excellent (3.00 / 2) (#28)
by stigmata on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 07:10:31 PM EST

This describes exactly what I want to do with my life.



"But like all puppets you think you're actually human. It's the puppets dream, being normal. "
Cool. Until Your Baby Looks Like The Mailman (3.00 / 3) (#29)
by JosephK on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 07:58:15 PM EST

Nice dinners, back rubs, kinky sex, you name it. And that's what makes it all worthwhile.

That's all cool and good, until you realize your baby looks like the mailman!
HTML is Dead.
Try ensure for emergency food. (3.00 / 3) (#34)
by Sen on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 11:57:41 PM EST

Ensure with fiber and you can't go wrong. You can take it in a sturdy can and it goes everywhere. One cup of the liquid and you are set for everything (don't even need vitamins if you take it regularly).

Ensure. (none / 1) (#49)
by grendelkhan on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 12:09:42 PM EST

You know, junkies use it to stay alive. It's like a really, really low-maintenance version of feeding yourself. I know this because I worked at a Federally Qualified Health Center, and the stuff used to get stolen all the time. I asked who would steal old-people food, and that's what the doctors told me.

Also that homeless and very poor people use Foreman grills a lot, because they're simple and portable and whatnot.

--grendelkhan
-- Laws do not persuade just because they threaten --Seneca
[ Parent ]

Local Restaurants are fun (none / 1) (#35)
by selkirk on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 12:26:44 AM EST

I disagree on the local restaurants.  How many time can you actually eat at Chili's or one of its chain restaurant clones?  

Its been ten years since I had to travel regularly, but I still remember some cool local places to eat.  Homemade pies in South Carolina, BBQ in Texas, unbelievable tomatoes in Hungary. One favorite was the test kitchen for a cookbook publisher in Iowa.  Locally brewed beer and wine can be interesting.

You are missing out if you don't sample the local color.  Its the stuff you will remember later.

Watch out for the whores.  One of my colleagues was fired for running up a $20,000 worth of "entertainment" expenses on his corporate card.

Another colleague was fired for jacking off in front of the maid, who called the company and complained.

Watch out for the internet porn.  A couple more coworkers (that I didn't personally know) were fired for having internet porn on their laptops.

Use your judgment.  Don't be afraid to walk out of a questionable restaurant.  Don't stay two nights in a bad hotel.

Most of my travel was to company towns.  The local hotel would have a rotating handful of people from our company with them all year round.  Don't like something?  Tell them.  They want that business and will listen.

Also, travel is a good way of building a social network outside your discipline in a company.  Often times the people who regularly travel will run into each other all the time at far away places.  When you get back to the corporate headquarters, it doesn't hurt to have had drinks with the VP of this or that at the hotel bar in buttscratch.

Best fajitas (none / 0) (#77)
by Harvey Anderson on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 01:27:51 PM EST

are from Chili's!

[ Parent ]
The most important thing (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by jolly st nick on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 01:07:03 AM EST

the city you're going to. You want good climate, some place to eat other than Chilli's, and maybe even something to do in the evening if you don't feel like working (rare for me, but it happens). California is pretty good to visit -- generally good weather, culturally interesting.

Most Florida cities are pretty bad -- terrible weather in the summer, horrible sprawl and traffic, and I don't think you'd be able to find a bookstore in most Florida cities if it weren't for the big box outfits like Barnes and Noble. Tallahasee is the pits -- how can a small town with something like fifty thousand students in it be so dull? Gainesville is more like what a college town should be like. There are other bright spots in Florida too: Key West, Sanibel Island, Tarpon Springs.

In any case, I like a have "my own" places in a town -- the restaurants I like to go to, the places I like to spend down time. It makes it more like home. Sometimes I show places to clients living there that they've never been.

Second most important thing -- a good bed in a room that doesn't smell from some weird industrial "air freshner".

After that, I like a hotel that has public areas like a good lounge or an outdoor pool area with patio if the weather is fine. Mostly I spend my evenings working and it's nice to have some place other than your room to be. I like to have a pool and gym, although usually the gym equipment is broken. Sometimes if you're staying at a high end resort, like the Tanaya Lodge at Yosemite, the gym will be in good shape. I've found chains vary quite a bit, so if you know of a hotel that meets your requirements, stick with it. For example many Best Westerns are pretty medicore, but I know of several ones that are quite good. I even stayed at a pretty good Econolodge recently; while I normally avoid them this was in the boonies and choices were limited. Marriots are of course reliably good, but usually too expensive -- I usually roll into bed late at night after work and get up before the crack of dawn; if I do take a break, I'm not going to spend it at the hotel, so why pay the money?

I've never found that a car makes any difference at all. Most of the time I get some middle of the road Japanese sedan -- they're alike as peas in the pod in the unvarying, uniform quality. Occasionally I'll get American cars, which vary widely from excellent to awful. The Chevy Cavalier is like stepping into a time machines to the crappy American cars of the late 70s. But it doesn't matter -- it'll still get your from point A to point B.

The one place where your choice of car makes a huge difference in severe weather. I had to drive from Reno to Sacramento, or from Eastern Oregon to Idaho in the snow. Those Ford Explorers are positively frightening in the snow, because their suspensions are tuned so squishy you have no road feel at all. I'd rather drive an old rear wheel drive sedan. A Jeep Grand Cherokee is about the best thing in those conditions that is commonly available. I've also run into problems renting cars in California when I'm heading to the mountains -- they don't provide a snow shovel, ice scraper or brush, so while you can get around, if you park you might not be travelling thereafter.

I've never found laptop weight an issue. In part because I've been travelling so much for so long, I'm the lightest packer I know. I'm fortunate that I don't need a garment bag with multiple suits. A small carry on bag will do me for a week, and any longer (which is rare for me), I can do laundry. I basically pack one change of underwear and socks per day up to a maximum of five days, one polo shirt or dress shirt with undershirt per each two days (plus what I'm wearing on the plane), one pair of slacks per three days, including the pair I'm wearing. Add to that gym shorts that double as swim trunks and lightweight running shoes and a couple of pair of tube socks if the situation allows. Everything gets rolled up/packed tight, and I'm bringing running shoes stuff get stuffed in there. Plus I won't take a book, instead I'll read eBooks on my treo smart phone. I'm never even close to exceeding the maximum regulation carry on size, and since I'm not carry much weight, a few extra pounds on the laptop I don't even notice.

Meh (3.00 / 3) (#37)
by GenerationY on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 01:57:02 AM EST

The beautiful thing is that, once you get home, your significant other is so pleased to have you home, and so sympathetic about your having been on the road all the time, you can get whatever you want:

Thats the worst thing about living alone I think. I like it most of the time and even when I'm ill I'd rather not be fussed over to be honest being of a slightly irritable disposition at the best of times. But when I come back from a long trip it just feels bad. Forget the kinky sex, I'd just love to sit on the sofa while someone brings me a cup of tea! (Yeah, English stereotype #732, but its true). The main problem is if its a last minute trip you leave the place in disarray and return home to the mess you left, dirty laundry and a fridge full of rot which is really depressing after XX hours of travel. I once returned having been up for nearly 48 hours desperate for bed only to remember as I walked into the house the mountain of stuff I'd dumped on my bed desperately searching for some documentation before my taxi arrived to go to the airport (For all this whining its true that I'm quite lucky to be very close to travel links). I ended up on the sofa, I just couldn't face it.

So if I get time now the day before going away I get things really neat and tidy and make sure there are food and supplies to return back to. Its very much worth it.

website link (1.03 / 29) (#38)
by ginozhu on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 05:07:50 AM EST

ҳ վ վά վƹ vi ci googleƹ ¡ ÷ Բ в ӹ Ʋ Ⱥ װе ҩе ϲ ѯ Ʊ ߵ ֹ ı ձ ͱ ̱ ƶ ģ ģ ѹģ ģ ̼ ܷ ʹ ѹ ŷ ҵ ¯ ë չʾ ֯е ѹ Ӵ ʳƷе ˮ豸 עܻ װ peĤ mba emba pmp ccie ccna Ӣѵ ѵ erp crm scm ͻϵ Ӧ г Ʊ ƱԤ ϳ ʵ ȵż ¶ȼ ѹ ѹ ѹ ̵ ŷ ֻ ñ ͷ ͷ ܵ ±ص ޺ Ƶ Դ豸 л ޻ ҵ ɫĸ ޻ ϱĤ Ϳ Ӽ ˮ ϳ ճ ʳƷӼ ߻ Ʒ Ʒ 칫˾ Ʒ ϴ ϴ ҵ ʼDZ ʼDZ ߶ 칫Ҿ Ҿװ װ깫˾ Ь׻ Ȼ Ϳ ˮͿ ש ذ ϵذ ذ Խ Ȳ ͱƷ Ƶ cpu Ӳ ups ͶӰ 洢豸 · վ Ʒ յ д¥ չ˾ ѧ ǩ֤ ˾ע ֽͭ ֽ ǩֽ ֽ豸 ͨѶ vpn ӵ绰 ŵ绰 gps 绰Ʒ ˮͷ ұ豸 ְ ְ Ʒ ͨʾ · ǽ Ƶת ¼һ ̨ƾ ż

Not One of Your Links Work (nt) (1.00 / 3) (#40)
by Gruntathon on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 05:25:23 AM EST


__________
If they hadn't been such quality beasts (despite being so young) it would have been a nightmare - good self-starting, capable hands are your finest friend. -- Anonymous CEO
[ Parent ]
Tips for smoking weed in hotel rooms. (2.81 / 11) (#39)
by Psycho Dave on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 05:18:35 AM EST

I work as a night auditor for two hotels in the Denver metro area. As a fellow occasional pot smoker, I don't really care if I smell la mota coming out of your room. I have four co-workers that smoke like Cheech and Chong and they don't care either.

Unfortunately, everyone else (that means the day people and management) are EXTREMELY zealous "good citizens" and will treat the presence of pot on the property the same as if you started a meth lab. The same situation probably exists at most other hotels, so here's how to get away with it.

Try and get a smoking room if you can. Marijuana smoke is very stinky, but it lingers less than cigarette smoke. Let a cigarette burn in an ashtray while you toke up, and you should be fine. Remember, non-pot smokers have a harder time distinguishing between the two because they don't do it.

Assuming from your article though that you can't get a smoking room, the next best place is the bathroom. They are equipped with fans which should help clear the air, and give an extra barrier for the smoke to have to clear before it gets in the hall (towel the outside door as well, but don't rely on it keeping all the smoke out.) You are also close to the toilet in case you have to flush evidence. The best way is to smoke your J while taking a nice warm steamy bath. The steam will also bog down the pot smoke, and there's nothing more relaxing at the end of the day.

If the place has exterior doors (like a Motel 6) don't worry too much. Those doors are usually insulated really well to keep in hot/cool air. The smell won't linger outside much.

Keep in mind though, if you're doing this in a non-smoking room, that many hotels will fine you for smoking in a non-smoking room. I agree with that, seeing as we almost always have smoking rooms available if you ask (even if we're sold out) and people nowadays cry like little girls with a skinned knee if they are anywhere near the smell of cigarette smoke. Oh, and always keep the Do Not Disturb sign up at all times. The Mexican housekeepers usually don't care about la mota, but have to cover their ass for when the manager inspects rooms. Better not to even let them in the room at all unless you regularly trash the place.

Most of all, try and stay off our radar. We ain't stupid. I can tell with almost 90% certainty who the call girls are and which room they are going to, so the trick is to make us not care. Don't disturb the other guests because they disturb the desk, and then the desk has to disturb you. You wouldn't believe how many Dudley Do-Rights there are in the world who want to get someone else arrested just because they can.

someone will do it... (none / 1) (#41)
by epicedium1 on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 07:03:17 AM EST

To me, all this article (and the comments) says is this-- No matter how shitty a job, or how disagreeable the terms, *someone* will do it. And then, in some backwards form of self-appeasement, bestow on themselves the right to passively bitch about it to their friends and social circles.

Half-right (none / 0) (#47)
by codejack on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 11:39:26 AM EST

I bitch to my boss about it, too.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
Travelling can be good, wierd.. (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by claes on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 09:08:54 AM EST

I've gotten to a lot of far-away places I'd probably never have visited on my own (Japan, Alaska's north slope) which is cool.

As for the wierd part, most of the time we just work ourselves silly, from morning to very late at night, sleep, and start over again. On one particular trip we managed to get everything done early in the afternoon, and had nothing to do! So there I was with 2 co-workers trying to figure out how to entertain ourselves. The wierd part was that even though we spent countless hours together working, we had no idea how to socalize together. It was wierd, we were like junior high school kids "Wadda you want to do?" "I dunno, whadda you wanna do?".

-- claes (not much travelling now-a-days, for better or worse)

Wow. (3.00 / 7) (#43)
by mindstrm on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 10:14:22 AM EST

Okay, first, lay off the booze, weed, and whatever else you are doing. I'm not saying don't do it at all, but that shoudln't be your main form of  entertainment, not if you are doing this long term.

Second, find healtheir places to eat, ,or rent places with kitchenettes at least, and cook for yourself. It's much cheaper. Try the local food.

Third, if you rent that many vehicles, you should be able to get preferential treatment if you stick with the same rental company nationwide.

As for smoking weed in the hotel.. are people really that fussy in the US?  I woudln't think this would be an issue.  If it is, however:

- Try to get a smoking room, should be easy.
- Smoke in the bathroom, it's usually got forced ventilation.
- If you must, cruise some pothead sites for ways to disguise your evil habit...  the cardboard tube from a paper towel roll or similar with some fabric softener sheets covering one end (use elastic bands or something) can be exhaled into and filter out the smell quite well, or so I've heard.

Well (none / 1) (#45)
by codejack on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 11:32:12 AM EST

In order, first, that isn't my main form of entertainment, video games are (evercrack, ahhh!), but I can't play games and work at the same time, so I do what I've always done.

Second, I've been working on eating healthier, but in the U.S., especially the midwest from what I can tell, your choices are either national chains, or local plces where their only form of flavoring for food is salt, and lots of it. As for kitchenettes, you really have to either get an expensive hotel, or an extended stay type place for that, and I'm rarely in one place long enough for that to work out.

Third, if I were using a decent car rental company, I could get free upgrades and such after a while, but I'm not and I have no say in the matter.

As for the weed, yes people are that fussy in the U.S. (see dipshit poster below), many cities have no smoking ordinances in public places and outside, many bathrooms do not have forced ventilation, and the other stuff is just too much trouble (note: This story is humorous, and therefore engages in much hyperbole).


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
haahahaha (none / 0) (#76)
by Harvey Anderson on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 01:26:46 PM EST

that isn't my main form of entertainment, video games are (evercrack, ahhh!)

hahaaaa

[ Parent ]

Necessity: Pack slippers/flip-flops (3.00 / 4) (#52)
by MonkeyMan on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 01:04:25 PM EST

Never ever walk on a hotel/motel carpet or floor in your bare feet or even sock feet.

If you do, chances are that you will be walking in the tracks of some prior occupant who walked around barefoot with a bad case of athlete's foot and you can pick of a flaming case.

As someone who flies less than a dozen times a year I found out this correlation the hard way.

While you can use anti-fungals to treat such infections, they really are not all that safe health wise and definitely should not be used 365 days a year. It is best to avoid the infection in the first place.

A few helpful hints I've learned from moving: (none / 1) (#53)
by Kasreyn on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 01:32:21 PM EST

First off, if you're ever driving around the bizarre land known as "the South", you may find yourself becoming hungry for a Rallyburger and growing desperate, as there are no Rallys to be found. You're in luck! For some reason they are called "Checkers" down here, but the food is substantially the same, and you can even buy pot from the drive-thru windows at some of them. I am not making that up. Rumors that the chain was renamed in honor of Nixon's dog have yet to be verified.

Another restaurant tip in the south is, learn the difference between a real Waffle House (from the Midwest), and a Greasy Spoon. Real Waffle Houses have the half sunface, half moonface logo, and they serve decent filler fare on the level of IHOP, at an affordable price, assuming the country music doesn't ruin your appetite. Now, in the South, you will see restaurants purporting to be Waffle Houses. Don't be fooled! They are properly termed Greasy Spoons, and serve fare whose gastric effects are best described as a slapdash mixture of roach poison and Drano. Unless you enjoy bleeding from the rectum, you need to learn this critical difference.

Also, the hapless driver from the North needs to be aware that due to deliberately bad road design inflicted by someone of tormented evil genius, it is impossible to successfully reach any destination without making U-turns, turning right on red, and occasionally sideswiping an elderly grandmother in a Buick. Since all these tactics are against the law in various areas of the country, it's common to see someone with northeastern plates being dragged out of their car and beaten to death for failing to turn on red. If you try to apply the polite driving skills you learned in more civilized parts of our great land, the southern driver who flattens you like a bug will be able to claim provocation in court.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
I could answer each point individually... (none / 0) (#87)
by codejack on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 04:02:57 PM EST

Or I could just point out that most NASCAR drivers are from the South; There is a reason for this.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
This is because (none / 0) (#88)
by Abominable Abitur on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 05:23:23 PM EST

You don't have to know how to read to drive a car on an oval track.

"Terrorism is only a viable "political activist" method for marginalized nutjobs, bottom line. The backlash that it causes makes it intractable for any reasonable ideology. Which is why you don't generally see wild athiest suicide bombers in america's streets." - lonelyhobo
[ Parent ]
Ironically... (2.50 / 4) (#55)
by localroger on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 04:36:22 PM EST

...I just got home after a 250 mile drive from a catfish plant in the Delta, and here's this article. Very nice.

One thing to add, if you get a significant part of your entertainment out of a bottle, is to be aware of the blue laws wherever you go. Being from New Orleans where bars can be open 24/7 and grocery stores sell Jack Daniel's, I was 24 years old before I learned it ain't that way most places. It really sucks to arrive at a place on Sunday afternoon and find that there's no movie theatre, no good restaurant, twelve channels on the cable TV half of which are always showing TV preachers, and you can't even get a six pack of beer without driving forty miles.

Good luck with the rest of your travels. Meanwhile, my next mysterious absence from teh intarweb will be due to a bona fide vacation for a change.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer

ha! (2.50 / 4) (#60)
by lizter on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 06:29:43 PM EST

curiously, I've just picked up on the same exact job...only in europe. dido on the rentals. and be thankful most american cars have automatic gears... I drove a vauxhall sticky with virtually no 1st gear for a week, quite a challenge to pick up the pace trying to start that car on an up-hill. In this part of europe (portugal, acctually) there are no laundry rooms. we are pretty much forced to hand over our nastys to the hotel's staff if we want anything cleaned up. (I suppose that enhances the hotel staff grudge) and what's up with the dust under the teller's desks?...whats up with this people? what happens down there? are they trying to build a small ecosystem over there? christ! it's amazing how sparkling clean the bank looks to the customers, but once you cross that door... and yes, this is the 21st century version of pumping gas... and we now wear suites that by the end of the day look, feel and smell like shit. of course I can't help feeling it's a mac-job.

LOL - you Americans! (3.00 / 5) (#61)
by onealone on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 10:22:22 AM EST

I did a job like this for a while installing PCs and networks around Europe. Mostly in hotels but also in museums and exhibition centres.

You talk about culture differences in the south of the US but that's nothing compared to countries where half the population don't know any English and those that do really resent using it.
Directing a taxi around Paris is great fun when the driver doesn't even speak French, let alone English.

If you want to have a smoke why don't you go for a walk? Go sit in a field or something, you'll enjoy it more. I can't believe you're travelling all over your country to places you've not been to before and all you do in the evening is sit in your room drinking whisky and smoking weed.

I really enjoyed doing this sort of work. You just have to approach it differently. Once you've finished whatever work you've got that day, then treat the rest of the day as a holiday.

Ha! (none / 1) (#65)
by codejack on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 06:51:04 PM EST

You've never been to the U.S., have you? The thing about being from the South is that the rest of the country is culturally non-existent by comparison; I've spent the last three weeks in the midwest, and unless I wanted to go to a Native-American casino, or to see the World's Largest Ball of Twine or whatever, there just isn't a lot to do. Now, there are some interesting places I will be going soon, such as Chicago and St. Louis, but next week is Iowa, and in addition to not speaking English, I'm not sure most of these people have figured out the wheel.

As for "Once you've finished whatever work you've got that day," that's usually around 1 am, and so not much time left for sight-seeing.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
i work (1.00 / 2) (#62)
by circletimessquare on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 02:34:07 PM EST

20 blocks away from where i live in midtown manhattan

we are going to move soon, and when they announced the move a few months back, i said, "oh well, so much for paradise"

i wondered depressingly where were going to move: downtown? the subway cattle car in the morning?

new jersey? traffic or cramped trains or buses?

my commute used to be free and quick and a cheerful healthy walk, and now it would be expensive, lengthy, and depressing

and then they announced where they were moving...

2 blocks from where i live

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Are you concerned about gaining weight? [nt] (none / 0) (#63)
by vera on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 03:40:52 PM EST



[ Parent ]
i run marathons (nt) (none / 0) (#64)
by circletimessquare on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 03:44:48 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Still (none / 1) (#75)
by Harvey Anderson on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 01:24:09 PM EST

a dork.

[ Parent ]
Perhaps. (2.33 / 3) (#78)
by vera on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 02:04:33 PM EST

But I bet his ass is firmer than yours.

[ Parent ]
Discourage, discourage (none / 1) (#89)
by zecg on Sun Mar 20, 2005 at 09:34:02 AM EST

Who knew "discourage" could be so literal?

[ Parent ]
Interesting... (3.00 / 2) (#67)
by absurdist on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 10:31:56 PM EST

Been doing the travel thing for about 12 years now. A few comments:

Hotels: I've never had a hotel staff really care two hoots in hell about me smoking dope in my room, and I've stayed in some VERY conservative small towns. Just make sure you get a smoking room (smoking in a non-smoking room WILL piss them off, whether you're smoking weed or tobacco) and put a towel down to block the smell seeping out of the room into the hallway. A little discretion goes a long way. And remember, the ONLY safe post 9/11 place to carry dope through airports is in your shorts. Believe me, any place else and it will be discovered.

Rental Cars: Always ask when being picked up by the rental car bus (you ARE a member of their preferred program, aren't you?) for a vehicle with XM or Sirius satellite radio. Usually they'll just give it to you, and satellite radio can make most horrible cars at least remotely tolerable. And it usually comes with a much better class of car. If they do charge for the upgrade, as long as you keep under the radar on the rest of your expense report, most bosses won't notice or care as long as the job gets done.

Also regarding the car, if it really sucks, there are always things you can do to disable it. Shifting into reverse at a moderate rate of speed will usually take out a transmission. Less violent remedies can include flexing ignition primary wires till they break. When you call the rental company and feign ignorance, they'll not only bring you a new car but will apologize for your inconvenience, usually including an upgrade.

BTW, I've yet to have a rental car grunt receiving the cars do anything other than smile bradly when I've returned one reeking of weed.

Laundry: Agreed, stay out of the hotel laundry. Local laundromats are cheaper and a good place to meet bored housewives who are fascinated that you travel for work. Which can help ease those long boring periods of being in the room drunk and stoned, and beats the hell out of looking at porn.

Food: If you're eating at chain restaurants, you get exactly what you deserve. 90% of them suck. Local places are usually much better, and the cost/value ratio is much higher. Find a good local deli and eat sandwiches if you need to stretch the budget because you've been drinking heavily.

Finally, the laptop and portable office: If you don't have a backpack to carry all that stuff in (yes, there are leather professional looking ones out there) then your chiropractor will thank you for years yet to come.

smack. (none / 0) (#74)
by Harvey Anderson on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 01:23:00 PM EST

Also regarding the car, if it really sucks, there are always things you can do to disable it. Shifting into reverse at a moderate rate of speed will usually take out a transmission. Less violent remedies can include flexing ignition primary wires till they break. When you call the rental company and feign ignorance, they'll not only bring you a new car but will apologize for your inconvenience, usually including an upgrade.

Is this something you have done or are you just trying to sound cool?  Your answer determines if you are classified as a total loser or a moderate loser.

Laundry: Agreed, stay out of the hotel laundry. Local laundromats are cheaper and a good place to meet bored housewives who are fascinated that you travel for work. Which can help ease those long boring periods of being in the room drunk and stoned, and beats the hell out of looking at porn.

I think you forgot a 'desperate' somewhere in there.  Don't let the fact that you are picking up bored (fat) housewives (trapped) in laundromats (poor) make you think that you are any less of a total pathetic dork.

How absurd.

[ Parent ]

*yawn* (none / 0) (#80)
by absurdist on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 02:36:43 PM EST

...the trolling comments of someone so tasteless as to think that "The best fajitas are from Chili's" couldn't possibly mean less to me.

[ Parent ]
not a trolling comment, (none / 0) (#81)
by Harvey Anderson on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 02:48:16 PM EST

unless it is indeed myself who is being trolled?  In that case you are like acquitted of murder and convicted of obstruction of justice.

But if you aren't trolling, I'm still curious if you broke a rental car transmission on purpose.

[ Parent ]

IAWTP (none / 1) (#70)
by fleece on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 04:33:05 AM EST

i worked 20 hour days (literally) for up to a fortnight at a time, every 3 months - it's not worth it... I aged 10 years in 18 months.



I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
Do what I do (2.33 / 3) (#73)
by Anonymous Howards End on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 11:04:10 AM EST

Just hide at home for two weeks and occasionally send in incoherent emails babbling about how someone stole the upgraded machine while you were out hunting a squirrel for lunch.  This is indistinguishable from the tangible results you would achieve from actually making the trip.
--
CodeWright, you are one cowardly hypocritical motherfucker.
Indeed (none / 0) (#90)
by twickham on Mon Mar 21, 2005 at 11:15:22 AM EST

In fact, with some of the technicans/admin Ive worked with theyd improve their productivity by doing this.

[ Parent ]
Some of us live in Europe (none / 0) (#82)
by Homburg on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 08:20:11 PM EST

Obviously, I'd never consider a job in another city unless my employer payed my removal costs. I'd be interested in hearing explanations, from anyone whose in that situation, as to why you allow yourself to be fucked up the arse by companies who live a whole fucking plane journey away from you.

I recommend remedial reading 101 (none / 0) (#83)
by jandev on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 09:41:50 PM EST

The dude doesn't work in the same place all the time. He *travels*. It happens. Even in Europe (I've done it).

Jeez... Even for a Canuckistani Dutchman the US-bashing here goes too far every now and then.


"ENGINEERS" IS NOT POSSESSIVE. IT'S A PLURAL. YOU DO NOT MOTHERFUCKING MARK A PLURAL WITH A COCKSUCKING APOSTROPHE. APOSTROPHES ARE FOR MARKING POSSESSIVES IN THIS CASE. IF YOU WEREN'T A TOTAL MORON, YOU WOULD BE SAYING SOMETHING LIKE "THE CIVIL ENGINEER'S SMALL PENIS". SEE THAT APOSTROPHE? IT'S A HAPPY APOSTROPHE. IT'S NOT BEING ABUSED BY SOME GODDAMN SHIT-FOR-BRAINS IDIOT WITH NO EDUCATION. - Nimey
[ Parent ]

helpful tip (none / 0) (#95)
by trav on Tue Apr 12, 2005 at 06:12:01 PM EST

Remedial classes are usually numbered under 100.

[ Parent ]
working nomad (none / 0) (#84)
by 5ifty 2wo on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 10:43:32 AM EST

I used to love to fly.  Then after I had done it enough I thought it was just OK.  Then 9-11 happened and it is more of a pain in the arse.  After spending the night in Midway Airport, Chicago, because I couldn't get on a standby, travelling was less than OK.  After having my bags lost by the airline, TWICE, I have no tolerance for many of these companies (2 thumbs up for Jetblue though).  And what is up with all the people that are petrified to fly after seeing the twin towers get hit?  Flying has never been so safe, and there is a much greater chance of dying by being hit by a car when you cross the street than flying cross-country.
Travelling is great, it's too bad we don't have the technology to just be beamed to the next location yet.
I just returned to the states from Amsterdam, and as you can imagine they (US customs) pay extra special attention to us.  Word of advice: these people have no tolerance for humor or sarcasm.  When I was checking in at the gate and they did their routine question, "Have your bags at any point been out of your site or possession since you packed them?", I responded literally and said, "Well, I was looking out the window most of the time on the train, and I normally sleep with my eyes closed so they weren't in my sight then..."   They did not like that very much.  The guy looked at me and I thought for sure I was about to be tackled.
All in all, travelling is great, although a compromise, and if you can get paid to do it, that's terrific.  Better than being in the same boring space all the time, right?  I laugh at the incompetence of airline staff, motel staff, rental car agencies, etc. and move on to the next location.
Flying is a good time for good pills, foreign motels are good for smoking Js, and rental cars are......, well, they are not yours.

Comparisons (none / 0) (#85)
by MorePower on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 02:29:19 PM EST

Hotels: Hampton Inn all the way! Their breakfasts rock. Every once in a while I end up in a cheap roach motel that calls itself a Hampton Inn (seems to mostly happen on the east cost) but generally they are mega nice upscale places. Talk them into upgrading you to a suite.

Cars: rental cars generally suck, I haven't found any tricks to fixing that yet. Use your own car (or in my case, my company car) for any locations less then 400 miles from home as flying ends up taking longer overall with the showing up 2 hours early (why do we do this? you just end up playing your game boy in the terminal for 1:45! but still, Murphys law dictates that the one time you come "late" it actually will take 2 hours to go though security), flying, waiting for luggage, waiting to get the rental car, and driving out to wherever your hotel is.

Food: avoid the local stuff, just like you would at home. You get per diem?! You should just eat top ramen then, you'll be able to retire in like 5 years. I have to charge all my meals back individually to the company, but then they don't realy care how much you spend, as long as they know from their credit card bill that it was food.

Laptop: I don't get your talk about choices in laptops. There are no choices, you get whatever clunky piece of crap your company decides to buy for everyone. The only other option would be to use your own money, which is generally unthinkable. Buy your own harddrive though, that way you can have all the porn and video games you want at the hotel without anything incriminating on company property.

Laundry: disagree about using hotel laundry. Laundrymats are the refuge of horrible dirt-poor fat women with 86 kids in tow. Highly unpleasant places located in the worst parts of town. I've never had the hotel staff mess with my laundry, but if you're that paraniod just take your gameboy to the laundry room and guard your clothes, just like you have to do at the laundrymat to keep your clothes from being stolen.

Some laptop and hotel thoughts.... (none / 0) (#92)
by cryonet on Tue Mar 22, 2005 at 11:56:30 PM EST

I think that most of what you say is true base on hotel level and discretionary spending. For one, I spent years traveling the good ole USA, bunking in the same 3 star dingy hotels as most, but found that as I moved to international travel predictability became an even less likely friend. In the last 18 months, I have been in Egypt, throughout China, and four trips to Saudi Arabia. The sole redeeming factor is that in the Middle East, safety take precedence over cost allowing me to bunk in the Hilton. Where laptops land, arguments with executives who barely know what e-mail is, in my experience, are often negotiated with pleas of past travel woes. I am fortunate to travel with a 3.5lb laptop, only because my company relies on me to offer tech info related to acquisition of hardware.... By the way, my comforts of Hilton stays and light laptops are offset by the lack of female faces and no booze in the country for a month per trip..... Peace and kind regards.

A Few More Tips (none / 1) (#93)
by czolgosz on Sat Mar 26, 2005 at 03:06:40 AM EST

1. Don't mix la mota with air travel. Google on "John Perry Barlow" for further details. The short of it is TSA will gladly act as narcs and the courts won't stop 'em. Welcome to the jolly world of random, warrantless search and seizure. Enjoy your bud in the comfort of your own home until it's legalized. Spend your road time working out instead. It'll help postpone that heart attack as well as keeping you out of stir.

2. I've been on the road on and off for over 20 years, and almost 100% for the last six. One thing certain is that road food will kill you. It tends to be fatty and low in fiber. My total cholesterol hit 300 due to road food. Unless you pay a lot of attention to what you're eating, you can gain a lot of weight too. Keep an eye on those LDL's.

3. Get into an extended-stay kind of place and leave your main luggage there on weekends if you can. That way you have nothing to check on your flights home and back.

4. Get a backpack-type laptop case. Easier to hump around and it also makes the 'puter less conspicuous.

5. Break up the Chili's hell with ready-made food (OK, upscale TV dinners). If you're in a city with a Trader Joe's, go there and nuke something in your room a couple nights a week. If no Joe's, hit a supermarket and be selective. If you have colleagues staying in the same digs, you can make it into a little party. And bring granola from home-- comp breakfasts are usually horrendously unhealthy. And buy lots of fruit. You don't get a lot of it in Chili's.

6. If you're eating restaurant food, avoid fast food entirely. Sit-down chains are a known quantity, and there will always be phobic colleagues who will eat nowhere else, but it's also worth venturing out a little. Vietnamese places can be found in most cities, and offer reasonably fresh and tasty options. Same goes for Thai. If you want to do Mexican, get Chile Colorado and lay off the burritos, enchiladas and chiles rellenos.

7. Your spouse, family, lover, friend-with-benefits, whatever, will get used to your not being around. When you're off the road, it'll take a while to get settled again. It can put a strain on relationships. But it can also provide time apart that both of you need. Up to you to make it a positive outcome.

8. The real car nightmare is when you have to share three cars among a team of seven. Absolute, utter shite. Avoid it if you can. Usually I get my own car, but once in a while some bright spark beancounter wants to save a few bucks by forcing us to double up. I told one manager that they could save even more by forcing us to share beds too, but the principle I learned while incarcerated would then apply: shit on my dick or blood on my blade. Although I never really did time, this guy was feeble enough to take me seriously and fell into spluttering denials. Great fun.

9. If the conditions become intolerable, tell them to fix it or you're going to walk. They WILL deal with you if they know it's for real. The only thing to keep in mind is that you had better mean it. I've called people's bluffs before and sent them home when they were just seeing how much they could milk the system. But the costs and risks to employers of replacing a road dog are high, so they'll usually make reasonable accommodations.

10. Avoid hookers. There are usually local women who will have sex with you for free. Believe me, I do well and I'm neither handsome nor particularly charming. It's infinitely less depressing than whoring and can be a satisfying experience for both parties. And if you're getting road nookie, don't lie to your partner about it.

11. It's a great life travelling (well, except for the airport security idiocy). Not necessarily something to spend your whole working life doing, but definitely worth passing through.


Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
The 1st thing I do when I get into my hotel room.. (none / 0) (#94)
by m42gal on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 03:50:52 PM EST

..is take off the heavy bed cover - they rarely get washed! Let your imagination run wild on this one and then think about laying on it nekked...nice, eh?

St.

Some Thoughts on Travelling for Work | 94 comments (82 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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