I went to Oslo and back on Friday during our first winter storm of the season. As I got delayed and ran for trains and waited in endless lines, I thought about how much my time in Daddyland has changed the way I worked.
First, I traveled to Oslo and back on the same day, leaving little to no margin for error (hence the running for the train). I left as the kids ate breakfast and returned to put them to sleep.
Second, I had no wanderlust or sense of relief. Of course, it was Oslo on a wet dark December day, not, say, Bali. But still, I only went on the trip because it really, truly will make the story I am writing better. That is the best judge of business travel, one that gets lost otherwise.
Third, I really liked my subject, and I got the idea I could have spent more time with him. We were talking big, important ideas, and he was talking about how committed he was to them. It was a little tempting to get caught up in that visionary world for a night at least. And then I ran for the train.
And when I came home, I felt this rush of relief, that I was home in our tiny space with the little Christmas tree and two giggling children in their bedroom waiting. This is where I wanted to be, not just home, but home and putting the kids to bed and then getting up with them at 5 the next morning for a long session of obsessive crafting.
I think that was maybe the most crucial point. Lots of Dads try not to travel so much. Lots of Dads don’t like business trips. I just feel more grounded in the home than I would have without my 18 months on paternity leave.
And I think it helps the story too. I spent the weekend pondering the interview as I made oatmeal or did beads with my son or exercised while they watched a little Blues Clues. I don’t get that kind of time on the road, and that semi-occupied downtime is key to my creativity at least.
Of course, now it is Sunday night, and I got out of the apartment for all of two hours this dreary weekend. And, yes, going to the office will be kind of nice …