will-work-for-travel

It's our first morning in Newmarket, Ontario—just outside of Toronto. We flew in via Atlanta yesterday—two flights, one plane. And even though we were in the very back of the plane the whole time, it was a fairly comfortable flight.

I'd rather sit in the back of plane anyway. How many times have you seen an airplane back into a mountain? Hmm? Never? Defense rests. 

This week is going to mostly be about Kara doing some training while I hit my daily words and then do a bit of exploring. I have some writerly friends who live nearby, so I'll try to meet with as many of them as possible. And the Kobo offices are in Toronto, so I was thinking of dropping in, making an introduction, seeing if I could get a tour. Generally being a nuisance. 

The thing about trips like this is that they almost feel like "cheating."

Kara and I have this grand master plan to travel full time, and we plan to do that in an RV. And the idea there is to be in a space, to experience something new, and to entwine ourselves a bit in a different culture. We want to pull into a slip and make it HQ while we go out and find all the things worth knowing about wherever we happen to be. The goal is to have the biggest front yard on Earth.

Trips like this one—where we fly in, where one or other of us has an event or something work related to do, where the other one is kind of just tagging along—they aren't exactly what we were thinking when we said we wanted to travel more. So yeah, it kind of feels like cheating.

But turns out, it's not cheating after all. 

As my writing career grows, I find myself going to all sorts of places, usually to speak at events or schools, or even to do book signings. Officially, those are "work events." I get to travel to a place on someone else's dime and spend a little time there, exploring what I can once the work obligations are done.

And Kara—she's still working for her company, and that company still needs her to travel from time to time. She has projects to oversee and training to attend, and the company puts her up in these places so she can do that work. When she wraps up her work day, she finds herself in a new place, with new things to explore. 

So it's pretty much a given that some of our travel time is going to come with obligations and strings attached. We'll find ourselves some place new, but it isn't technically a "vacation." It's just part of the work. And it's always been like that. 

What's new, for us anyway, is the ability for either of us to tag along with each other on these things. Having the money and time and flexibility to join each other as we move about on business is kind of cool. Maybe not the full-time travel idea we're working toward, but close enough for the two of us. We can enjoy the sights and local culture of new places along with enjoying each other's company. And it doesn't hurt that some of our travel expense get reduced. We can even write off some of the trips.

So it's not cheating. In fact, Kara and I will be working the whole time we travel in the RV anyway. So this is a bit of practice—a way for us to figure out how we work best when our routines and our habits are shifted or disrupted entirely. We can use trips like this one to get ourselves used to the idea that not every trip is a vacation—there's still work to be done.

Basically, we can use these trips to train ourselves to live between the lines. Our careers are always going to be a part of our lives, so it's best if we know how to squeeze experiences in between obligations. 

We're here in Ontario for the next few days, and I plan to keep up my writing schedule and word targets the whole time. Kara will be hanging with co-workers during the day, and the two of us will go find the highlights of Toronto at night. And when it's over, we'll have a new stamp in our passport and a new part of the world in our heads. That's winning all around.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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