“Oh, you work internationally…that must be glamourous,” said no-one, who has held an international role, ever.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the work itself and there certainly are benefits – meeting new people, visiting different places, learning more about how people tick around the world (not to mention the airmiles) – but there’s little glamour in the logistics of it all.
I mean, how chic is it to start and end the day talking to a faceless phone in your PJs…or, in my case this morning, from the car park at the station? Talking to people who can’t see your animated face, or follow your hand gestures and whose reaction you can’t guage because you can’t see their nodding faces or bemused expressions and they’re too reserved or polite to ask questions or make reassuring noises.
And then there’s the ever so enviable middle of the night blackberry checks that turn into lengthy drafting of emails. If not careful, these can become so habitual that you wake at regular intervals to make sure that everything is OK in every time zone. Trust me, I’ve been there…and my cat got so used to it be thought 4am was playtime!
And when you add travel into the equation, there’s the uber-glamour of living out of a suitcase, in a hotel room which serves as office, lounge and bedroom – some have had amazing views, I grant you. But the city-hopping, in my case, resulted in the quirk that sees me need to unpack, set my things in the bathroom and hide the bag in a cupboard within five minutes (ideally sooner) of stepping into a hotel room so I feel less transient.
International co-ordinators and road warriors of the world, I salute you. It’s a tough life and I’m glad, as a Champagne Hippy, I only do it part-time.