Thursday, January 21, 2010

Up In The Air -- For Real

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

I haven't seen the new George Clooney film Up In The Air yet, but I understand that Clooney's character is a man who has no home but travels from place to place for his job.

Well, the DH and I met a guy on our recent flight who is just like that character. Everything he owns is in two suitcases, he travels from place to place every few weeks for his job, and lives in hotels where ever he happens to be. He'd finished a two week stint in Seattle, and had just spent the weekend with his girlfriend in Tampa. Now he was off for a month long assignment in Washington DC when our paths crossed.

After parting ways with your young friend (who looked about 30), my DH began to rhapsodize about what a wonderful lifestyle this guy was living. Yes, sick man that he is, my DH thought it would be FUN to have everything you own fit in two suitcases (never mind that he's the world's biggest pack rat and still has clothes he wore in college decades ago)!

Wouldn't it be great to see all those different places? To meet all those different people? To fly everywhere at somebody else's expense?

Of course, I had to play devil's advocate and point out that some of those places were not that terrific (after DC, the guy was headed to Iowa in the middle of winter -- BRRR!). Hotel beds are notoriously uncomfortable, and since you didn't know anyone in most of the places you went, you'd eat a lot of meals alone (my own personal bug-a-boo). Also, most of the people you met and conversations you had would only be on the most superficial level.

Finally, how could you shop?!?! I mean, with only two suitcases, every time you bought something you'd have to throw something else away. The DH had to admit that even he would have a hard time with that one.

So my bottom line to the whole scenario was that I'd grow mighty tired of this lifestyle pretty darn quick. As much as I like to travel, I like returning home even more! Still, I wondered how many others are like this guy? With increasing mobility and scattered business, will more people live this way very soon? And he was a very interesting study for future characters.

What do you think? Would you find traveling to a new location every few weeks FUN? Or not so much?

29 comments:

  1. I think it would be fun for awile, then is would be to be a hassle. That might take a bit, but living out of a suitcase, the constant packing and unpacking, yuk!

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  2. I love to travel, but I also love creature comforts. And a routine. A home to sprawl out in. A place to call my own. I've done the living out of a suitcase for months at a time while in the Army Reserves. While I loved seeing the sites in other places while I was there...living out of a hotel room is not comfortable or close to being home.

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  3. Could this be our modern-day version of a gypsy? Thanks for the food for thought, AC!

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  4. I would HATE to live like that. I can't even go away for the weekend with only 2 suitcases. And what about putting down roots? How do you even keep a girlfriend, much less get married, have kids? Not for me!

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  5. For a couple of years, everything I owned would go in two suitcases. I didn't move every three weeks--more like every three or four months. I lived in furnished rooms, and for a while, in the tiniest little furnished apartment you ever saw.

    I wasn't totally up in the air. I was in grad school so there was continuity of relationships despite my unmoored condition.

    There is a coziness--odd word, I know--to living unpossessed by a need to possess. Sometimes I wish for it.

    But even if I could pair down my clothes to two suitcases, there would still be the computer, the printer, the filing cabinets, the desk chair (comfort matters) the humidifiers for winter, the Cuisinart--I like to cook--the Mixmaster...Things I can hardly go to the beach for a week without wishing I had them with me.

    One other observation. My impression of people who live up in the air is that they spend a lot of time in bars.

    I quit wanting to go to bars a lot of years ago.

    For now, I will assuredly keep my feet on the ground.

    Funny that this topic has come up today. The hero of my work-in-progress, a Navy SEAL, wants to get married. He's tired of living up in the air--but not ready to leave off operating--and looking for alternatives.

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  6. You're right, AC. No shopping because you'd end up with a third suitcase, a fourth and so on.

    I love travelling, hotels, eating out, but it would get old after awhile.

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  7. Having no place to call home, Cindy? That sounds downright scary to me! Like others have already said, I love to travel, but I want to know my home and my family are waiting for me to return.

    Amelia

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  8. Morning Jessica! (yes, it's still morning here on the West Coast)

    You bring up a good point about the constant packing and unpacking. That's one reason I like cruising so much. You only have to unpack once but you get to see all these different destinations!

    And another thing about the packing... Why is it that dirty clothes take up so much more space than clean clothes? I'd probably need a third suitcase just for the dirties. :-(

    AC

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  9. Terry, thanx for your perspective from one who has been there and done that.

    I do like site seeing, but I also like the weather to be relatively mild, hence my comment about Iowa in the middle of winter. I also hate trying to see things in pouring rain and wind like we had here yesterday. UGH!

    AC

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  10. Hey Kathryne, you're RIGHT!

    Modern day gypsies, but without the fortune telling?!?!

    AC

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  11. LOL Shana on needing more than 2 suitcases for the weekend!

    I travel pretty light, but only because I know I'm only going to be gone X number of days and I'll probably never see most of the people I meet again. :-) Or if I do, I'll tell them that woman in the rumpled clothes and messy hair was NOT ME! HA!

    AC

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  12. Hey MM,
    You are so right about needing those continuity of relationships! I tend to do that on cruises, when I meet someone at a meal or function, I always say hi and stop to chat with them whenever I see them. A familiar face is very comforting somehow.

    Maybe the Up In The Air folks go to bars because they are lonely or bored?

    AC

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  13. Morning Linda!

    Hope you are high and dry today in SoCal!

    I love the travel and hotels and restaurants and sites too. But they do grow old for me after a couple of weeks. I'm always glad to get home and back to my usual routine.

    AC

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  14. Hey Amelia!
    We all seem to be in agreement today about liking to return to our home. Maybe it's a 'girl thing?'

    AC

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  15. I'm definitely a homebody and not a big traveler. I'd be happy going to the beach a couple times a year and maybe down to DC, up to CT to visit relatives.

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  16. Hi Aunty Cindy

    I am with you I don't think I would like it at all where would I keep all of my books ? LOL. I suppose the only thing I can see that wouldn't be too bad is there would be plenty of me time but seriously I think too much me time. I love the comforts of my own home.

    Have Fun
    Helen

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  17. I have enough trouble fitting everything I need for a week into one suitcase, AC! I'm always so glad to get home after a few nights in a hotel. Takes a different mindset than mine. Simplifying my life would be good, but I'm not sure I'd want to make it THAT simple!

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  18. Actually, looking around at the house that now counts dust bunnies as pets, I kinda wouldn't mind hotel living. I wouldn't have to cook or clean, I could send my laundry out - all on someone else's tab.

    Right now it sounds mighty appealing.

    My question though is, where does he go for a sick day?

    (and with electronics getting smaller and smaller these days, you will soon be able to fit what you own in two suitcases...)

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  19. It's seem like a glamorous lifestyle to be able to travel for work, but I do think it gets old. You're probably always be tired and eventually all you'll really want is get home.

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  20. I could never travel all of the time. I am a homebody.

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  21. Hey Libby,
    I love the beach too! Any beach, I'm not that picky. :-) I love the smell of the salt in the air and the sound of the waves is soothing to me. Let's GO!

    AC

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  22. Hi Helen,
    I guess if I'm only allowed 2 suitcases then I'll have to buy an ereader, because I could NOT be without my books for very long. :-)

    AC

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  23. LOL Cheryl on the one suitcase for one week.

    I can manage an 11 day cruise with only one suitcase. But then I need to have a tote bag (or 2) to bring home my purchases. ;-)

    AC

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  24. LOL Judi on the pet dust bunnies!

    Having someone to do the cooking, cleaning and laundry would be very handy, but VERY GOOD question about the sick days...

    AC

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  25. Thanx for dropping by Jane!

    You know how much I love to travel, but when I used to have to do it for work, I didn't really like it. Travel for work just takes all the FUN out of it! ;-)

    AC

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  26. Thanx for stopping by, Estella,

    I think it is unanimous today. We'd all rather have our homes, so I guess we are all homebodies at heart!

    AC

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  27. I would find it very tiring - and not to have roots - not a good feeling.

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  28. That is a life style I would hate. Same with older people who sell their houses and most of their possessions to live out of an RV. I wouldn't mind doing that sort of traveling, especially if I had one of those mega diesel pushers, but I would HAVE to have a home base! Does not sound glamorous at all.

    Have fun with your travels, Cindy! Be safe. :)

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  29. Hi, Cindy! I'm very, very late for your blog. So sorry.

    Actually, I'd like that -- travelling every few weeks to a different place. I guess it depends on how big an expense account I had and what I'd have to do to get that job!

    I love flying and spending time alone in 5-star hotels, but I imagine, like anything, it would get old fast.

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