This is the start of a new series where I interview people I know who are able to travel for work. Theresa is someone I’ve known since middle school who fell in to her current job. We had a catch up last year and I realized we actually have a lot of similar experiences (you can read about my traveling job here). I hope you enjoy hearing her story!
HOME BASE: Concord, NC
JOB: Trackside salesperson for a communications company affiliated with NASCAR
PREVIOUS JOB: Baker/Cake decorator at bakery in DC
How does your job allow you to travel?
I travel to wherever the NASCAR race is that weekend to sell and rent electronics merchandise at the race track. My company takes care of travel arrangements, accommodations, a food allowance (per diem), and any gas or maintenance required for company vehicles.
I have two favorite cities for very different reasons.
- Las Vegas, NV. I never thought I would love Las Vegas as much I do because I’m not a gambler and I do not like very over-crowded places. However, I found there to be so much more to Las Vegas than just the casinos and crowds. Every hotel and casino is so elaborately themed. It’s sort of like an adult Disney World (and I love Disney World). There are also so many shows and concerts to go to and so many sights to soak in. My favorite show is the Beatles: Love show at the Mirage (the Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil). I do always have to brace myself for how much I am going to spend in Las Vegas, whether it be on the food or shows, or simply taking the High Roller Ferris wheel 550 ft in the air above the Las Vegas strip. It is never a cheap trip, but well worth all the money spent there.
- Watkins Glen, NY. Watkins Glen, NY is located on the Finger Lakes and is one of the most relaxing weeks of the year for me. My company rents big houses right on the lake to house more of our employees at once. In my downtime, I relax and fish right off the dock in the backyard or rent a boat and travel up and down the lake. I have also visited many of the world renowned wineries and distilleries in the Finger Lakes area. Bully Hill Vineyards in Hammondsport and Chateau LaFayette Reneau are two of my all-time favorite vineyards in the country. It is just a very relaxing week, even at work, and makes it feel like a mini vacation in the middle of the season, when we can really use it.
Favorite hotel chain:
I am a big fan of Country Inn & Suites and Comfort Inn & Suites. They always seem to be clean with big enough bathrooms, comfortable beds, and good customer service. The Country Inn & Suites always has warm cookies at the front desk, too, which appeals to my sweet tooth and former baking soul.
We mainly travel on American Airlines and I don’t have too many complaints about them. We have only had snags in very specific airports across the country, not necessarily having to do with the airline itself.
Favorite mode of transportation:
Honestly, I prefer driving to destinations rather than flying. I am more in control of my arrival and departure times, and I stress less about whether I am going to make it to my destination on time because of mechanical delays. It may sound cheesy, but I can also take in more of the country and sights by driving to my destination.
There are two huge perks to my job that I would never be able to take advantage of by having an office job.
One is, I get to see all corners of the country and experience the culture of so many different states and cities that I wouldn’t normally have traveled to on my own. This country has so much beauty and diverse environments that I get to experience that I almost feel guilty that other people don’t get to go out and explore the way I have had the opportunity to.
There have been relationships that I have built at this job in which the people have brought me outside of my comfort zone and pushed me to try activities that I now refer to as some of the best times of my life. Some of those activities include driving side-by-side at 80 mph through the desert of Arizona, white water rafting down the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania, being in the audience on a Price is Right episode in Los Angeles, watching the cattle run at the Stockyards in Ft. Worth, Texas, and even having a company dinner in the owner’s suite at the Miami Dolphins stadium and getting a VIP tour of the whole facility.
The other major perk, in which I would never be able to repay my job for, is being able to see extended family and friends scattered throughout the country who I seldom got to see otherwise. For example, we travel to the Poconos in Pennsylvania twice a season where I get to see my 92 year old grandpa, and when I go to LA I get to see one of my cousins whom I barely saw much of growing up because he moved out to that area, across the country. Family is the most important thing to me, and I have a huge one and this job has provided me with the opportunity and the means to see a wider range of my family more frequently than I ever have before.
What’s a downside to traveling for work?
There are very obvious downsides to traveling for work but the biggest one is not having a stable enough home life to get married or start a family. I spend so much money on rent for a place that I spend very few days in during the season, which runs from early February to late November. I am also getting older and starting/raising a family is the number one thing I want to do in this life and it is nearly impossible to start one or maintain one with the lifestyle I currently possess. I can’t even picture trying to plan a wedding while I am on the road.
Outside of work, do you ever travel for pleasure?
I love traveling for pleasure outside of work. During the offseason, I still do a lot of traveling. I guess it is hard for me to sit still when I am not traveling for work. Part of the reason is because I know I can’t do a lot of things for pleasure during the season, so there are so many things that I plan during the offseason that involve traveling.
Do you enjoy cities you travel to for work?
There are a lot of cities that I enjoy going to for work and look forward to every season, however, there are a few that I do not enjoy and that I dread going to every season.
What’s something that’s always in your suitcase?
Some things that are always in my suitcase are my eyeshades and my custom-molded earbuds. I am an extremely light sleeper and having to room with other people with different habits and snoring patterns in tight hotel room quarters has made it impossible for me to sleep without those items. With my eyeshades and my fully custom earbuds, I barely see or hear anything at night which allows me to get a good night’s sleep for work.
Any tips you’ve learned from traveling?
The biggest tip I can give anyone with the opportunity to travel is to take advantage of the places you go and the activities that the environment, your age, and your mobility allow you to do. Don’t wait for a potential future trip to do the things you want to do, to ride that zip line, to visit the Hoover Dam, to hike up a dormant volcano. You never know what tomorrow brings and if you will have the means to make memories like that again. I will tell my future kids about many of the experiences I’ve gained over the last 4 years traveling with NASCAR.
How do you balance home and travel?
There really is no balance right now between home and travel. For example, I am currently on a 7-week work trip and will only be home for a couple days until the next work trip. That is not enough time to get everything done and see everyone I want to see at home between trips. I am fortunate, though, that I have two months off during the offseason (November and December) to spend time with my family, enjoy the holidays, and relax before the next season starts back up. That is the time that I get a lot of my home projects done and visit the people that I have missed while I’ve been traveling.
Dream destination? Fiji