I used to have to travel to France for work on a regular basis. Usually in the beginning of the year, when organizational changes had been announced at Paris HQ, and I needed to get some “face time” with my new French colleagues.
I know… life is hard. “Having” to travel to France for work is a wonderful problem to have.
Unless it’s in the winter, when the weather starts to turn really bad at home.
Just look outside. If you’re in the northeastern U.S., like I am, things aren’t looking all that great. There’s friggin’ snow everywhere, with more on the way. Right now, it’s coming down in soggy little “blops” that won’t be much fun to clean up before I leave for work, later this morning. I hear snow plows driving by my house. It’s still dark outside. This doesn’t look promising.
I wouldn’t mind being in Paris, right about now. It’s 39 degrees (F) and sunny. It
seems is unfair that I’m stuck here in below-freezing temps. Within a few days, though, that will change on the other side of the Atlantic. It’s going to warm up even more, but it’s going to get cloudy. And while Paris can be quite beautiful even on the most overcast of days, cloudy skies are still cloudy.
No matter how attractive your destination, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, it’s not much fun. And if you’re going for work, rather than pleasure, it’s even less entertaining. You take the red-eye, show up jet-lagged and disoriented, and all the romance in the world is pretty much lost on you. The sights aren’t nearly as exotic, and even the most beautiful language starts to sound like gravel. Firing on two out of six cylinders after 7 hours in a flying tuna can, surrounded by all sorts of folks, doesn’t make for great sight-seeing or epicurean delight. Jet lag will suck the joy out of anything and everything – including Paris.
Plus, leaving your family at home to fend for themselves in multiple snowstorms and power outages… that’s not much fun. For those who make enough money to hire maintenance companies or plow guys to keep their property snow-and-ice-free, it’s one thing. And for those who have a bunch of family members who are ready, willing, and able to clean up, it’s not necessarily so terrible. But if you’re the one who normally cleans up after the latest storm, leaving the country on business can be stressful for everyone.
You can check in with your family upon arrival at CDG, only to learn that Mother Nature has dropped 24″ of white stuff on them… and for the rest of your trip, you hear all about what you’re missing. You put in 18-hour days, covering your duties on two continents, coordinating efforts across the Atlantic, eventually giving up on the idea of sleep until after you get home, walking through your days in a daze.
And when you return after nearly a week away, you come back to a driveway that’s been partially cleared and then frozen over (and possibly with another inch or two of snow on top of the hardened slush)… outside stairs that need to be aggressively salted… and a roof that hasn’t been properly raked. The icing on that cake is your cabin-feverish family members, who may or may not harbor resentments over your “working vacation” in Paris, and who may or may not absolutely love the souvenirs you brought back.
Of course, the proper cleanup must commence, the errands need to be done, the chores must be caught up with, and family ties need to be refreshed — while you’re trying to bounce back from the second round of jet lag… fighting off a cold you picked up on the flight back.
Winter’s here… and Paris has nice(r) weather…
Actually, it might make more sense to stay home.