This is the final day of our summer membership drive. If you've not already signed up to be a member, please take a moment today and do so. We need you and your support to continue to expand the reach of this movement.
One of the things I'm asked almost everywhere when I'm talking to people one-on-one is whether or not all the travel is hard. Yes,it is hard. Being on the road messes with your sleep, your diet and your mind. There are moments of overwhelming intensity interspersed with seemingly endless hours of monotony involved in getting from one place to another. And most of all, it's time away from the comfort of home and the people there that I care so much about.
As many of you know, I have two daughters. The long nights when I'm away are hard on them for many reasons. I tell myself that the counter to that is that, when I'm home, I'm really home. I generally have more flexibility with my schedule and can be intensely here for them when I'm here. Does that offset being intensely gone when I'm gone? I don't know. It weighs on me a lot.
My youngest daughter loves pandas and, as kids will do, has accumulated a collection of stuffed panda toys. A couple of years ago when I was packing for a trip she gave me one to take with. She told me it was so that I would not forget her, a plea that was just crushing for someone who spends nearly every minute away wishing she were there. I now often take "friends" with me and, to all of our amusement, will photograph them helping me out and keeping me company while I'm working to spread the Strong Towns movement.
Of course, every now and then the schedule allows me to bring one of them with. The upside for them is spending time with their dad as well as getting to see and do some fun things. The downside is that I have to work which means they are going to be forced to sit patiently through a meeting or a presentation. My oldest, Chloe, has done this a few times and is really a trooper when it comes to passing the time by zoning dad out. Generally when we're done with the work, I'll ask her if she liked dad's talk or found any of the rest interesting at which time she informs me that it was boring where she even bothered to listen. They keep me humble.
Being on the road is hard work, yes, but it is also a lot of fun. Spending time with intelligent, thoughtful people who want to make their place better is so incredibly invigorating. The amazing reality of what I do is that I'm often brought to a place as an expert but it is that act of seeing and learning about so many different places that has actually given me some expertise. And understand, I most often get the tour from the people who know the most about a place. It is a brain download -- an intellectual stimulant -- that I'm perhaps addicted to.
And, of course, sometimes we just have fun.