It Feels Like Groundhog Day

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Every frequent traveler sooner or later experiences Groundhog Day.

I’m not talking about the pseudo holiday when a toothy little mammal forecasts the weather for the next six weeks with all the accuracy of a farmers almanac.  Instead I’m talking about that Bill Murray movie.  The one with the tagline “He’s having the day of his life…over and over again.”

Spoiler alert… he wakes up day after day on February 2 in Punxatawney, Pennsylvania doomed to relive the past.  No offense to the fine people of Punxatawney (and yes, I’ve visited more than once), but the idea is pure living hell.

And yet, no matter where we are, some business travel days can feel just like Groundhog Day.

Let’s start with the wake up.  First, a jarring iPhone alarm in a non-descript mid-market chain hotel.  I rested my head on a never quite comfortable pillow.  I fumbled my way to the thermostat and/or bathroom at least once in the middle of the night.  And then I drove somewhere in a nondescript rental car reeking vaguely of disinfectant.  Chances are it was a Chevy Malibu or Toyota Camry or an equally bland sedan that I might eventually find myself eating lunch in.  Thus my day often starts again and again, no matter which city I was in.

Then there are nights like recently where I was once again flying American Airlines to California.  I had the same problem trying to get an Uber to the airport.  Then I dealt with the same frustration in the security line.  I found myself staring at the same grey piece of steak with soggy asparagus that I’d seen three nights before.  The inflight wifi was just poor enough to minimize my productivity.  And then I got to my non-descript mid-market chain hotel and texted home to say goodnight to Jim.

When I wake up, who knows where I might be.  It doesn’t matter and it might as well be Punxatawney if it is going to be Groundhog Day all over again.

I can only hope that when I wake up I don’t see my own shadow and can finally return to normal life at home for a bit.


Phil and I are old friends so I'm not scared of the actual Groundhog Day.
Phil and I are old friends so I’m not scared of the “actual” Groundhog Day.





  1. What a miserable existance. Cannot you not talk about something you are grateful for in your life? This is exactly the reason I rarely read blogs. I am so sorry your life is so mediocre. Actually after reading your bio, I doubt any of what I have just said is true. However, that is what I thought after reading this. I know you have a good life and you do good things, so let me hear about that.

    1. Today is my 14th day of business travel over the last 16 days. The “good thing” right now is that I will fly home tonight and might not have to travel again for 2+ weeks!

      Our blog is about the realities of balancing travel/home. While I wish that were always easy – or fun – I’d be disingenuous to pretend that there isn’t a downside at times.

  2. I can relate. I sometimes wake up in a hotel and I’m not sure what city I’m in. I stay 100 to 150 nights a year on the road. My wife also spends about 75 nights a year so we are always traveling or getting ready to. We enjoy it but it does wear on you. I’ve found my self changing hotel brands lately. Not because I dislike the chain of choice but because I just need a change of pace. I guess I’m thankful that my company makes me use National rental car because I know what to expect but I think I’ve driven every National car at the Salt Lake City airport. Who picks out the options on these btw, don’t they know we’d like to have navigation since its 2017. Do they pay extra NOT to get that option?

    I have to challenge myself to be super efficient in travel to minimize my travel waiting time. For example I pay extra to park near the terminal at my home airport just so I can get off the plane on a Friday night and be in my car driving towards home in under 10 minutes instead of riding around on some random shuttle bus for 30+ minutes. Not checking bags, taking empty water bottles through TSA, having Precheck and Global Entry, Having at least some elite status on the places I stay or on airlines I use. At all adds up to valuable time at home 🙂

    1. I feel your pain. I find myself wandering the Emerald Aisle looking for a car with a USB port and hands-free built in.

      And yes, maximizing is key. I’ll bend over backwards to get an extra hour at home!

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