How long can you stay on the road without crashing?
Conversations among international businesspeople generates lots of advice, rules of thumb that make life on the road work. One good bit of guidance holds that two weeks of airplanes, hotels, and meetings is a practical limit: travel loses its charm, meetings become simply tiring, and and resentment builds against the treadmill beneath the schedule.
Similar ups and downs accompany expatriate life. There are many days that settings, people, language, and events are wonderful and stimulating. There are some days that the same things are tiring, pedantic, frustrating, and difficult.
This week it has just been cumulative. Work has been unrelenting: we are working through some critical phases, I’m worrying the details, and there’s nobody to talk with. Some folks are inappropriate; others are long-distance. This leads to a sense of separation, then alienation.
I’m feeling a long ways from family.
Time with friends is spent catching up, not making plans: I’m becoming a drop-in everywhere.
Corporate colleagues jet first-class while stand in the rain, waiting for buses.
I’m seeing an older face in the mirror.
A lot of expat friends seem to be headed home, closing blogs and moving on.
In the end, I feel more ranger than wizard, more janitor than miracle-worker, more of a visitor than a friend. ‘probably a sign that I need a break, a re-balancing, better connections with people.
Maybe a sign things have to change.