It has been remarked upon by those who know me that I seem always to be traveling. Whether it’s trips to visit family, vacations with the hubby or my globe-trotting Dad, attending conferences or writing workshops, heading out for archaeological field work, or taking trips to visit friends, I get on a plane and head off for parts unknown an average of 2 weeks out of every 4.
In fact, I leave tomorrow for a trip to Seattle.
Though I have this off-hand notion that travel is disruptive and often think ‘oh, if only I had an uninterrupted stretch of time to settle in get some work done’…in point of fact, I’m far more productive when I travel frequently and have only short stretches of uninterrupted work time. The truth is, I find uninterrupted work time stultifying and dull and tend to spend it surfing the internet or inventing errands and household tasks. On the other hand, when I know I’m headed out the door on Wednesday, you can bet I work my little fingers to the bone tap-tap-tapping the keyboard on Monday and Tuesday.
I also find travel a great source of creative renewal. Every time I go somewhere new (or even somewhere not new), I find myself inspired by the people, the sights, the smells, the sounds, the colors, and the energy. Likewise, I tend to find myself cramming little writing sessions into chunks of time I would consider too short to be useful at home. When at home, I might deem a half an hour insufficient to get “real” work done and thus better spent reading, cleaning, or watching dross on TV (totally illogical, I know). Meanwhile, I’ve snatched half hour blocks of time and pounded out thousands of words while doing the following on the road:
— sitting in the lobby at Readercon in Boston
–waiting for visiting hours to start at a hospital in New Orleans
–waiting for my hosts or travel companions to wake up in places as varied as Miami, Seattle, Arizona, Las Vegas, England, and Scotland
–waiting for the plane at the Salt Lake City airport
–waiting for the power to come back on/rain to stop/bathroom to be free in Honduras
For me, I think it boils down to the fact that when I travel, time takes on much great weight and urgency and I subsequently find myself far less likely to squander it.
Drawbacks to travel include jet lag, cost, and…well, I can’t think of other ones! Can you?
What’s your view on travel? Do you do it a lot or a little? Does traveling and the time constraints it imposes make you more or less productive? Does it help your writing or hurt it?