Letter #466: Vacation can be stressful…

Dear vacation,

Next week. I’m going on you next week!!!! Two of my best friends and I are headed to Charleston, SC. We have heard nothing but raving reviews about the food, King Street and endless neat sites to see.  Oh, I’m just so excited!

While you are filled with anticipation, did you know you create quite a bit of havoc and stress as well?! As a kid I never understood how this was possible. Hello, we’re going to explore and have fun…what’s so stressful about that?! Mom, Dad, I get it now. Leaving for you entails so much more than just preparing for you. The preparation for you takes time too…packing (I loathe this step), itinerary, phone calls to book things, all appropriate paperwork and times for flights, etc.

I never realized how much other forethought occurs. Home life: time out groceries perfectly so things don’t expire and go to waste. Leave the APT orderly and clean for roommate and so it’s ready to come home to upon return. Do all laundry so every option is available to pack and so you have clean clothes when you get home. I’m not a home or pet owner so my list is short!

Work life: get everything done for the current work week I’m in. Work ahead so things for the week I’m on you are completed. Set myself up for success on my return so I’m not drowning. This is the component that never once crossed my mind as a kid…except when I had my lawn mowing business. Sometimes I had to mow seven yards in one day, leave for a few days and mow seven again upon my return!!!! Yes, I had my own lawn-mowing business! This is a phenomenal way to develop work ethic and make good money!

Then you add in the fact that I’m actually paying for you rather than Mama and Papa Roth. Worth it…absolutely. However, it was way less complicated when my only responsibility was to throw some clothes in a bag (mom double checked it!), have a good attitude about all the things already planned for us to do, try to fight with my sisters as little as possible, get in the backseat of the minivan and sing at the top of my lungs!

All this being said, I’m sure excited about you…actually ecstatic, but you do add a whole new component to the week before and after you. May my forethought and focus be on point so I can enjoy you thoroughly while flawlessly missing work for a week.

Any Charleston suggestions are welcome and appreciated,

Vacationer at heart

Letter #414: End of the Tunnel

Dear traveling,

Today is my last day of you, at least work related, for 2011. This deserves all sorts of celebration!!! For eight of the past 10 weeks I’ve been from Texas to Tennessee, Missouri to Mississippi and everywhere in between. The ninth week I was in Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. So for 50 of the past  days 70 days, I’ve been doing you for work. At least eight of the extra twenty days were doing personal you. Holy smokes! When I think of it like that, I now understand why my life is so chaotic.

Today, all of you for work purposes comes to a halt…well, until January. For this I am thankful. I can get my feet under me with everything that’s been slipping through the cracks of my job at the office. Maybe I’ll actually think about Christmas. I’ll finally get to go to the grocery store after a two and a half month hiatus. I can hang out with people who live in Branson as well as sleep in my own bed for more than one day at a time.

You are really fun, but you are tiring. I’m looking forward to creating a little stability in my life, but definitely not before I head to Stillwater this weekend for Bedlam!!!!! Go Pokes!!

Stability starts Monday,

Seer of the light at the end of the tunnel

Letter #374: Where’s Next?!

Dear trail,

The first 15 days we spent together were an absolute blast. I can’t think of a better way to have started this year’s traveling. Before that stint of you was said and done, I spent significant time in five different states and drove through at least three more. Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. I don’t even want to begin calculating the number of hours I spent in a van! Regardless you were a blast, and I’m excited to tackle more adventures on you.

Today’s my last day in Branson after a week off from the road. I pick you back up tomorrow. Laundry, school, friends and OSU football will be at the top of my list of things to complete today. Tomorrow I head out on you again. The question is where do I get to go next?! Well, I’m here to tell you…

  • Oct. 17-21st: St. Louis (family shows and I think I’ll interview at St. Louis University and Greenville College the 18th and 22nd respectively)
  • Oct. 22nd: Branson
  • Oct. 23rd: University of Tennessee
  • Oct. 24th: Tennessee Tech
  • Oct. 25th: Carson Newman
  • Oct. 26th: Lee University
  • Oct. 27th: Covenant College

Here’s the glimpse into our next two weeks. Lots of people I’m excited to see and tons of adventure calling my name. You sure do make my life exciting and fun.

Go Pokes,
Professional Traveler
P.S. What do I need to do while I’m in St. Louis?! I’ve never spent time there and am excited to experience it first hand! World Series game?!?!

Letter #356: Trail Beginnings…

Dear trail,

It’s time to release our traveling schedule again. Where oh where will my travels take me this year? Well, for now I’ll divulge my first two weeks. Based on these places and even more the people I’ll get to spend time with at these places, we’re going to be off to a good start this year!

I had the choice of going to interview at either A&M/Baylor or OSU/OU for my first week out. Seriously, what a choice. Of course my loyalties lie in Oklahoma, but probably 40% of K-West’s staff goes to school in Texas. I was hardcore struggling to decide, but then my scheming side took over. I realized OSU played at A&M this past weekend. The second this hit me I started dreaming up possibilities. What if I flew down early and could make it to the game? I let the idea stew for a bit, ran it by Beth, my director, and she thought it was awesome. The second she told me I wasn’t crazy for thinking up this scheme, I took it more seriously. After a few conversations with A&M friends, we decided it was doable. I found a flight; they graciously found me a ticket; here I am in College Station having a blast! The rest of my team will arrive Wednesday to interview staff and begin trail for real! This explains my huge stint in College Station and my 15 day journey!

  • Sept. 23-28th: Texas A&M
  • Sept. 29th: Baylor
  • Sept. 30th: Dallas Kanakuk Staff Reunion (Watermark Church, 8-11 p.m., be there!)
  • Hang in Dallas with friends
  • Oct. 3rd: Auburn
  • Oct. 4th: Samford
  • Oct. 5-7th: Catalyst Conference, Atlanta (I’ve heard raving reviews about this guy and am stoked to see what it’s all about. And Dave Ramsey’s one of the speakers!!!!)

So there you have it. The first two weeks of you look to be an adventure filled with fun reunions, meaningful conversations and unforgettable memories. In the midst of all this, I’ll be praying for three specific things: discernment and direction while interviewing; purposeful and intentional time with friends/staff; refinement and growth in my walk with the Lord in the midst of my crazy schedule.

On the road again,

Texas, Alabama and Georgia visitor

Letter #82: Interaction, Boundaries, Balance

Dear working from home,

You have been a huge blessing this week, but I don’t like you too much. Kanakuk graciously allowed me to work from home for a few days so I didn’t have to drive to Oklahoma for our extended family Christmas’s, drive back to Missouri, then drive back to Oklahoma for actual Christmas. Thank the Lord! After traveling 8,000+ miles in the last three months that is the last thing I wanted to do.

So, here I am, at my parent’s house in Oklahoma, getting stuff done while also getting to be in the mix with my family. I’m thankful for you currently, but I could never do you full time. I NEED interaction with people. I miss my coworkers. I NEED boundaries in my life. I like being able to go to work, then come home to the APT and separate the two. Sure, I think about various work-related things some after coming home, but I believe there is value to removing myself from the sphere of work. I’d literally work constantly if I didn’t consciously set boundaries for myself.

Positives about you: I can work in my pajamas with hair unbrushed or workout clothes all sweaty, and nobody knows (i.e. the above picture: phone interview with unbrushed hair in my pjs!). This is probably my favorite part of you. I get to get dressed on my time. This would also probably turn me into a slob, so it’s a good thing you aren’t an actual part of my life. Another plus: Factoring in a lunch break is unnecessary. I can eat whenever and whatever I want. Currently, I’m working through Brueggen Christmas leftovers…turkey, dressing, hashbrown, fruit…all my favorite food! Not sure if these and Insanity go hand in hand!

It’s also easy to throw a load of laundry in while in the middle of a long phone call or to put the dogs out between checking emails. This all creates huge distractions in my world though. I see 12 things that need to be done around the house in the midst of the 15 things I need to be doing for work. There is no balance in my world. When I leave my APT in the morning for the office, I’m at work until that evening. Then, I can take care of home projects.

I NEED interaction, boundaries and balance, and I just don’t get it from you. I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to be your kind of girl. If I ever have kids, I might change my mind. As of now, there is no way. In the mean time, I truly am thankful for you because you’ve allowed me to maximize family time during my first legitimately grown up Christmas.

Needing an office and coworkers,

Slob of an “I work from home’ woman