Throughout my career as an Apparel Developer, I’ve traveled a great deal of times for my job. Starting in 2010, I took at least one trip every year to places like Istanbul, Medellin, Hanoi and many trips to the Guangzhou area of China. I found my breaking point in 2018, which was the year that I did fourteen trips in twelve months, heading home to see my husband between every single one. I think it was June of that year when I broke down in the middle of a sandwich shop, just so exhausted and jetlagged. I completed all of my commitments that year though, and I’m glad to know where my limit is now.
Traveling for work in my profession is extremely different from traveling for pleasure. Visiting manufacturers and suppliers to hold meetings and meet overseas vendors in person is crucial to building a rapport with these partners. Sometimes, we’ll wake up in the morning and drive two hours to our first destination, so we can hold meetings and have lunch with one group. Then, we’ll get back in the car to drive another hour or so to hold afternoon meetings with a second group, who will then of course want us to join them for dinner. The people are always extremely hospitable and treat us with respect and kindness when we are in their home cities. They love showing us a good time and helping us to learn about their culture, language, food and drink of choice. We are constantly considering our words and actions to make sure we’re not accidentally behaving in a way that would be offensive in a foreign country, and you pretty much always have to be “on.”