Why I Didn’t Tell You I Was In Town (An Open Letter)

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Dear former classmate/distant relative I haven’t seen in years/social media acquaintance:

Its been awhile, I know.  So I understand the excitement you must have felt when you saw I was going to be in/near/within a half days drive of you last week.  And I totally agree that it would have been a blast to go on a day long tour of your town/do some shopping/swing by the house to meet your family/grab a few drinks and reminisce about old times – but it simply wasn’t meant to be.

That’s because I never called you or tell you I was in town.  And yes, that kind of makes me a jerk.

But before you write off our friendship or put me on blast on social media, let me explain my side of the story.

I just couldn’t do it – my schedule didn’t allow for it.

Okay, yes… you are correct that I could have taken a different flight.  And I had to eat, of course.  And it certainly looked like I had plenty of time to post that Instagram photo that was taken right down the street from where you could have met me.

But that wasn’t going to work for me.

You see, when you live life out of a suitcase quite frequently, there are a lot of things that have to swing to balance that out.  It’s not like going on vacation where there is infinite time to explore and relax.  I still have to squeeze in my 8+ hours of work (realistically 10-12 or even more on some road days) – and the time I spend running through airports or sitting out delays or driving between locations doesn’t count.  That means what looks like “free” time really becomes my “catch up on 120 emails” time.  Or my “I need to get this expense report in tonight or I won’t be able to pay my credit card bill” time.  Or my “I can’t believe they moved that deadline” time.  Or my “yes, I’m really having a conference call with my colleague at 8 pm” time.

And that, on many evenings, is why I didn’t call you.  Although I’m sure your husband DOES grill a mean steak, I was eating takeout at the local Courtyard and catching up on my day.

Oh…. but you saw that photo taken from the cool restaurant downtown.  The one you’ve been dying to try and would have gotten a sitter and everything just to come out and meet me while I was in town.

I’d have loved to invite you…. but it was a work thing.  Maybe this time I was catching up for dinner with a colleague from another office.  Or entertaining a client.  Or attending a networking event.  Yes, sometimes my game face stays on late in the day – although I’m sure it would have been more fun with you (and I probably could have ordered that extra glass of wine I really needed!)

But while we are being honest with each other, I’m going to confess something else too… sometimes I just want to be by myself.  I might need a bit of gym time.  Or I want to catch up on Netflix.  Or I just want to put a mask on my face and eat room service in my pajamas.

It’s not you, it’s me.

Everyone needs a good night to themselves occasionally.  And sometimes, a hotel room on the road is the only place I’m going to get it.  Yes, I realize I might only have this one night in your town…. but my schedule can often be one long string of “one nights”.  After a long day of dealing with travel or meetings or deadlines, sometimes I just need to unwind.


I hope you understand that my not calling has nothing to do with you – I had my reasons for not telling you I was in town – namely that I didn’t want to explain all of this.  But I still value our friendship.  And perhaps NEXT time we can make plans… as long as you understand that when I’m there, work does have to come first.

Until then,

the Jetsetter






About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last nineteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 48.5 US states. Once an "every week" road warrior, she now only travels around 100 days a year. She resides in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and playing with her Border Collie/Great Pyreness mix puppy Harley Quinn.

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  1. I really do not believe that some people understand what it is like to be on the road traveling constantly.

    For those who do not travel, they think that just because we are more mobile that things are simply easier for us. They are not…

    …and I also believe that people underestimate the importance of that “me alone” time — especially while traveling. Traveling can really sap energy out of you once the activities of the day have concluded. Having that “me alone” time is necessary to become re-energized.

    I will make a deal with you: I will forgive you for not contacting me the next time you are in the Atlanta area if you will forgive me for not contacting you the next time I am in the Dallas area — assuming either of us are even around at that time, that is…

  2. Man can I ever relate to this.

    The last time we went to visit my sister in Houston my wife posted an innocent comment about some landmark on Facebook. Before we knew it we had dozens of invites from all our Houston friends (I’m from Texas originally) and what exactly is the polite way to say “thanks, I’d love to see you but there are 25 other events that have to take priority this weekend”? We agreed to never post on Social Media again when we are traveling somewhere we have personal contacts – until we have left the area.

    I also travel for business a lot and totally relate to the business side as well. Whoever the first commenter was that LOL’d at this comment…ha…I can tell he’s about to take a job and hasn’t actually experienced it yet. I wish I found your article funny, but I would describe it more as bittersweet, relatable, and cathartic 🙂

      • Yes, I’m referring to the change in RDMs – I’ll edit for clarity. I try to avoid connections in CLT (and PHL for that matter) but connect a lot in ORD and LAX. If a ticket DFW-FAT was $100 more expensive, I used to take DFW-LAX-FAT instead. I’d pick up extra segments and an addition 1,000-ish miles each time. It may not seem like much but one round-trip like that a month saved money (when I was paying for travel myself) AND it earned me at least an extra ticket per year.

      • And I say I avoid CLT as I type this from my seat at the gate at B7. At least they have sushi.

  3. “Hey! So sorry we couldn’t connect while I was in town. I was wiped out from travel and meetings. That restaurant was great- I was there for a work meeting. You should definitely try it some time. Hopefully I’ll have a more relaxed schedule next time I’m in town and we can meet up.
    Hope you are well!” – how a nice person would react

  4. Context is so important. Every single human leads a life trying to juggle dozens of things. And certain priorities will rise or fall. Part of life is understanding how to determine which friendships are of the casual / fun type versus deeper connection. The good ones are worth fighting for and sometimes worth sacrificing and evening to yourself. But others aren’t. And that’s part of the hard truth of life.

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