I just did the math and realized that I’ve been away from home for fifiteen out of the past twenty-eight days. I guess it’s no wonder that I’m feeling less than on top of things and this is the first time I’ve written or posted anything personal for three weeks.
My recent travels have all been business related and the last two were different than any experience I’ve ever had. There are a couple of things that made them unique, although I suspect these two things will soon become the norm for my trips.
The first one is that I rented a car and drove to the location, in this case, it was Altoona, PA. Altoona is a little over four hours west of Philly, which translates into driving through three scary mountain tunnels, more country western music stations than you can count, and $21.50 in toll fees if you take the turnpike.
The lack of radio stations that appealed to me turned into a nice opportunity to make some phone calls and catch up with friends and family that I hadn’t talked to in a while. There were several times along the way that I thought my Nissan Versa was going to be blown off of the road. The last time I’d driven through the mountains of central Pennsylvania was during the final stretch of a three day drive from Nebraska to make the state my new home.
Surprisingly, I made it without getting lost and there was only one “incident” the last morning of my stay.
The young gal at the front desk looked up and asked, “Can I help you?”
“I sure hope so, I ummm…I locked my keys in my car and it’s running. Can you call a locksmith for me?”
“Oh no! how’d you do that?” she asked.
“Well, I started the car to let it warm up and I closed the driver’s side door to keep out the snow. When I tried to open the back passenger door to get the snow brush out I realized that the car automatically locks all the doors,” I replied.
Five phone calls and forty dollars later I was on my way.
The receptionist waved her hand toward the hall, “Welcome back Beth, they’re set up in the training room for you, no need to sign in today.”
Which brings me to the second reason the trip was different for me. I was in the role of the trainer not the student. The students were the eCommerce team for eztuse.com, an online local directory company. The company hired me to conduct a five day training class on search engine optimization, or in other words, how to get found on Google. We split the class into two sessions and I was blown away by how much the team accomplished during the ten days in between them.
It was nice not to have to make my bed in the morning and to forget about the question, “what should I make for dinner” for a few nights, but I was more than ready to hit the road and head home on Thursday when the class was over.
Diet coke and adrenaline kept me awake during the drive and also probably explains why I stayed up until 2 am drawing another abstract dress made of brightly colored ribbons.
The selection of radio stations was the same on the way home as it was on the way there and every mile felt like ten as I snowflakes splattered out of the dark and onto my windshield.
The songs from the eighties faded and crackled; I pressed the seek button on the radio once again. This time it stopped on 104.5, Christian’s and my favorite station. Suddenly home didn’t feel quite so far away. I think I’ve always associated the moment that the home radio station is in range with the last stretch of a long road trip and a welcome home hug.
There really is no place like home.