Thoughts Below Zero 

As I type this, I am waiting for my next appointment in the press center at the PALEXPO in Geneva, Switzerland. I'm dressed in severe business  black, my official press ID hanging from my neck. A far cry from the usual shorts and t-shirts I wear to my 'office' at home (must say that I love the opportunity to wear my leather knee boots though -- they don't fit  my home office dress code). The temperature outside hasn't cleared the zero mark on the thermometer since I got here four days ago.

I've been doing this for four years now, twice a year, traveling to  Switzerland to cover the watch fairs for the  magazine that I  work for. Each year, I both look forward to and dread the trips. 

I do appreciate the chance to travel, and it is an exciting industry. I love having dibs on the latest and greatest in the watch world. And I can't deny that I enjoy the press perks. I also always learn something new. This trip, for example, I finally understood how a fusee and chain work to ensure a steady release of energy in a watch. Moments like these, I feel that my brain still works, despite having been immersed in things like menu planning, lesson scheduling, bedtime  stories, settling sibling wars, Shopkins, Percy Jackson, and Lego for the  past half decade (and for another half decade before that, it was all  about breastfeeding, potty training, diapers and mush).

What I  cherish most about these trips though, is the opportunity to be alone. Totally alone. During my Geneva trip, I have a hotel room all to myself. I rarely turn on the TV. There is silence. 

The Hubby and I differ in this. He likes being surrounded by us to recharge. I need solitude. That's the way it's always been, even during my single days. During the weekend, I would hole up in my apartment without seeing or talking to anyone, and I would relish it. Since I  got married, and especially when we had kids, I am rarely alone long enough (I really appreciate  it when The Hubby takes the girls out for errands or  walks without me though). 

So these trips, tiring as they may be (because from the airport, I usually go to the hotel just to drop off my  stuff, then straight to events and back to back to back meetings and interviews, sometimes with barely  enough time for lunch, then back to the hotel just to sleep, before doing it again the next day. And the next. And the next), these trips are an  opportunity to savor the silence, even just for a few hours.  Plus I  really love just standing under  the hot shower in hotels. 

Of course there are drawbacks. Missing the  girls and The Hubby, mainly. I see  something and I  would think, oh Raine and Breeze would enjoy this. Or when I eat something new, I'd remember The Hubby and our food adventures. It's paradoxical how I relish the alone time, but wish the rest of the HPs were with me. And due to the annual schedule, I usually miss Raine's birthday, and their school programs. 

Then of course there's all  the preparation involved.  In the previous years, I would make   the menus and shopping lists and schedules and reminders for the days that I would be gone. Then this  year, there's lesson planning too. I am blessed because The Hubby picks up the slack while I'm gone. This year, he's even taken over the menu planning. 

Also, I always stress  about packing the right things, preparing for interviews and doing pre-event research. Then it's being surrounded by people and needing and to socialize ask intelligent questions and actually understand the's exhausting .

Is it worth it?

I am grateful for the experience. For the learning. For the travel.  But also for the opportunity to show the girls that career and family can mix, should they want that. 

So is it worth it?



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