I was listening to Conde Nast Traveler’s “Women's Who Travel" podcast the other day. I started having a bit of a fantasy thinking about the day when they invite me to come chat with them, and I started to think about how I define myself as a woman who travels. I am a woman who travels for business. I love to travel for pleasure, and my experience traveling for business has allowed me to find more rest and relaxation on true vacation trips than I ever did before. But traveling for business is a very different kind of travel and I wanted to acknowledge some of the major differences while honoring the amazing women who continue to professionally travel every year, quarter and month.
Traveling for business is a non-stop whirlwind of constantly being on your game. Very few people jump on airplanes for their jobs without having an important meeting or an important task to go complete. As women, that usually means our wardrobe needs to be on point, our hair needs to be done, and our entire makeup kit needs to come with us. The ability to appear fresh and put together while battling jet lag, exhaustion, dry skin, thirst, hunger and sometimes even homesickness is a task in and of itself. When I pack for a business trip, my same methods of choosing one pair of pants for every two days, a shirt for everyday, dry toiletries and fitting everything into a carry-on still hold true. It is much more difficult to fit my professional trousers into that carry-on than it is to fit my vacation bathing suits, but I worked on getting it down to a science. It is not easy. There were years and years where I packed giant suitcases full of my best work clothes, and ran into several times where those bags were lost for the first few days of my trip. So not only did it make me feel more frazzled, I was also wearing whatever I could find from a local strip mall instead of looking my best. While nobody else in the room maybe cared about that, my own comfortability was jeopardized. There is a certain level of confidence I feel when I'm in an outfit that makes me look my best. That confidence is difficult to find when you're wearing men's jeans because they were the only thing that fit you when you went shopping in Vietnam.
I've had so many people tell me how lucky I am for having the opportunity to travel for a company. And while it is absolutely true that I've had amazing adventures traveling the world on a work budget, the lifestyle is often anything but glamorous. The women who travel quarterly, monthly or sometimes even weekly are genuine superheroes. The toll that it takes on your body and your mind and emotions is difficult to describe to anybody who hasn't experienced it personally. I can tell you that in 2018, when I traveled 14 times that year, I had a quick stop at home for just a few days in the middle of July. My husband and I went to lunch and I just broke down in tears for no particular reason. I was exhausted. I missed my husband. I missed being able to have lunch wherever I wanted and eat whatever food I wanted. I was jet-lagged and my body was telling me I needed a break.
If you know a woman who is rarely at home with her family, constantly jumping on planes to attend business meetings, make deals and represent her company, send her a little bit of love today. She may look strong, beautiful and glamorous to the outside world, but there's also a good chance that she's just looking forward to a lazy weekend at home with her family and misses them even when she is at home because she knows the next trip is coming up so soon.
If you are a woman who travels, I want you to know that I am working on building out a bigger, better support system for women just like us. The RTQ Apparel website is going to evolve over the next several months, focusing more on travel advice for professional women who travel for business, building out a community for us to share our experiences and knowledge while continuing to innovate product ideas that can make our lives easier. Stay tuned, and be sure to sign up for our email list, which will start growing and sharing more and more this year. I very much look forward to meeting you and learning from you.