Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Traveling Life

William Jr., known by his friends and family as Billy, works at a global business consulting firm called Protiviti. Originally from Michigan, he now resides in Chicago, Illinois sharing an apartment with roommates. He graduated from Notre Dame in 2005, and he now works in the Cost and Working Capital Optimization solution group, in particular the Supply Chain practice. “Basically we help companies save money by making sure they don't make duplicate payments to vendors/suppliers, like paying for something twice, they can negotiate the best prices for the products/services they're purchasing, they're not buying the same products from a number of different suppliers, like not taking advantage of volume discounts, think like buying in bulk from Costco vs. buying from a regular supermarket, and they have the best possible business processes in place to manage their supply chain from end-to-end,” explains Billy.

Traveling often, like everything, has both negative and positive consequences. Over the past year and a half Billy has traveled practically every week, with the occasional week off in Chicago. “Like any consulting company it really depends on the project [as to whether you travel somewhere or not],” says Billy. Although Billy enjoys traveling, like most things, the traveling can get old. “There is always the travel that takes me to small-town America, for example McPherson, KS, where there isn't a lot to do except hang out in the hotel room and grab a bite to eat at the nearest Applebee's. Those kinds of trips aren't always the most fun.” Traveling frequently means you are less likely to see your family and friends, and less time at home. “I definitely see my friends more often than my family. My business travel is usually Monday – Thursday, unless it's international, in which case it's usually 2-3 weeks at a time, so if I'm traveling in the US I get to see my friends on the weekends. I generally only see my family on major holidays, and even then it's 3-5 times a year; 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas most often. There are times when I miss seeing those that I care about, but honestly a lot of the time I'm so busy with work and seeing the different areas I travel to that there isn't time to miss anyone,” says Billy. Traveling often can also affect your personal life, excluding family and friends. “Traveling a lot for work can be a major drain on your personal life as there is just not a lot of time to relax when you're at home. When I come home from trips I generally have a lot of errands to do because I'm gone during the week, for example laundry and dry cleaning, picking up things from the store, packing for the next week or trip, etc. Therefore, my 'personal time' at home is really not that personal,” explains Billy.

Traveling does have positive aspects to it as well though. You get to travel to a lot of different places, meet different people, and experience different cultures. Billy has traveled both around the country and around the world for his job. Some foreign country’s he has visited include Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, and Germany. In America Billy has traveled to New York, San Francisco, Boston, Orlando and Denver just to name a few. Visiting new places can be fun and exciting, even when you’re there on business. “I had the most fun in Australia. The people are very laid back and the lifestyle seems much more relaxed than anywhere I've ever been. Everyone's attitude and outlook on life can be summed up in one of every Aussie's favorite phrases: "No worries." It is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen and coming from a largely cold-climate area, you can't beat the weather,” says Billy. New places can also be interesting, and you can learn about them in a way you never could through just study. “The most interesting place I've ever been would have to be Singapore. It's an entire country that is really one big city on an island. While it resides in a relatively poor part of the world, some of the largest international companies have offices there. They also have some strange and surprisingly rigid laws there. For instance, chewing gum, jay walking and spitting are all strictly prohibited and could result in as harsh a penalty as jail time. It's also one of the few remaining nations that still employs the act of 'caning' as a punishment technique,” explains Billy. Another benefit to traveling is having stories that you can tell to people, like the weird, exciting, or scary things that have happened to you on your travels. “When I was in Malaysia I was in a city area but it wasn't a very major town so I was one of the only white people walking around. The local people would constantly approach me and ask if I was a celebrity from America. While I told them no they were generally unconvinced and would take pictures and ask me to sign them--one lady insisted I was Josh Hartnett and followed me around for a few hours. It was funny at first, but eventually grew old as when foreigners think you're famous they hound you even more for money,” tells Billy.

Traveling for a career has both good and bad aspects, and depending on what’s important to you will determine which aspect outweigh the other. “If you like traveling and don't mind sacrificing some of your personal life then it's a great way to see the world without really having to pay for trips yourself. However, could I see myself doing it for an extended period of time? Probably not. Doing it for too long usually burns people out pretty fast and can lead to high stress levels,” says Billy. But for now, traveling for work is a perk for Billy, and a way to combine seeing the world and working.





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

iaomai said...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm
Wow!!! Very good piece! This article is very informative. It would be great to have "Billy's" job. Like Billy, I would enjoy the traveling.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback