Balancing Travel for Work and Travel for Fun

I’m very fortunate to have a job I love. I’m also very fortunate to have a job that allows me to travel.

I work as a design consultant for a human-centered design firm. But what does that even mean? Clients come to us with some sort of need, and our teams will do research to understand it better--to uncover the pain, desires, and motivations of the people they are intending to serve. Then we’ll take a step back, synthesize all these findings into a first messy arrangement of data, organize these arrangements into areas of opportunity, and eventually build and test solutions to meet real, human needs. As a designer who is deeply curious about the world, human behavior, and actually making a real impact, it’s really fun, I must say. I’m one lucky girl.

What’s even better? The job takes me all over the country. The current engagement I am on has taken me to San Antonio, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. And traveling this much sure racks up those airline miles up quickly.

While the weekly travel can be physically draining, what I’ve realized lately is that in order to not get burnt out, travel for work and travel for fun have to be synonymous. To avoid the mental and physical blow that traveling can have on the body, it’s important to reframe the mental assumption that “ugh, I have to go to the airport, again?” as an “oh! What's something new that I can I discover this week?”

Yes, it can be difficult to be away from your home city and best friends every week, but it is also an opportunity to explore new places, connect with old friends, and practice a life of consistent curiosity.

So, what have I been up to when not ‘on the job’? While in New Orleans, I got to see a college friend, went for morning runs along St. Charles Street, spent hours wandering the French Quarter snapping photos, and indulged in some very delicious southern comfort food. While in San Antonio, I listened to my morning podcasts along the Riverwalk, and was serenaded by a mariachi band in a lively Mexican restaurant. Philadelphia--the city of so many murals-- inspired my design sensibilities; and Baton Rouge, well you gave me an appreciation for dry heat.

What else? The corporate perks also fund my obsession with travel outside of the workplace. What and where else is on my list for this year? A girls weekend in Seattle, a half-marathon in Acadia National Park, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, a hiking trip to Zion, and one international trip later in the year (any recommendations?).

A few photos from my recent trips are shared below. If you’re curious about some of the places I’ve been, where I’ve stayed, and what I’ve done, feel free to reach out at team@herworldover.com.

 

Keep carrying the beautiful!
-rachel