duty travel facts and myths

I love travelling. Some people enjoy travelling while working, but not so much for me. While working with EY, I had my fair share of duty travel. It was fun for a while, being able to board a plane and stay at hotels for free, sometimes for weeks at a time. But after sometime, after all the glitz and glamour had passed, the entire experience became really daunting.


Many times I had to wake up at 5am to catch the speed train to KLIA, check-in and board the first flight at 7am. When I reached the destination I had to start working immediately and only got to rest when day ended. Sometimes, if I had a bit of luck (if the firm was willing to pay for an additional night at the hotel), my travel started on the previous day after I finished my office hour in KL. I would board the next available flight (usually at 8pm), arrived at the destination late at night, went straight to the hotel, went to bed and began my outstation duty the next morning.


Once the outstation duty began, life wouldn’t exactly be a traveler’s dream. For someone who loves everything to be matchy-matchy, living with a suitcase as my wardrobe had proven to be a tremendous challenge. The only way I could optimize luggage space was to stick to the same color palette i.e. black-grey, earth tone. I also had to lug along my entire facial set, cosmetics, personal hygiene care, among other things. Remember, I was on duty travel, I needed to look presentable.


Then there was the work itself. I needed to ensure that the fieldwork is 100% complete before I returned to KL. That was the most stressful part. At times I didn’t have time to enjoy the view outside my hotel window, let alone cherish the place I travel to. It got a bit annoying when people started telling me that should I go and eat here and take pictures there, when all I had in mind was to quickly finish my work before my flight home.


So those of you that envy people that have the chance to go duty travel often, think again. Duty travel is not a vacation. Some people are fortunate to be able to mix business with pleasure, but not many are that lucky. Most of us come home from duty travel all exhausted, telling everyone how we have been so busy we don’t even notice what’s there outside of our hotel room or our so-called outstation office.


So yes, I do love travelling, but for now it’s only for pleasure. I don’t mind duty travelling once in a while, but if you ask me to relive those days when I had unconciously memorized every word of the cabin crew’s safety briefing after hearing them so often, I shall gladly pass.

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