Having promised reflective blogging, I'm instantly descending into frivolity with a meme on business trips. Before ordination I was mostly a mummy (I guess that's pretty much still applicable) so business trips weren't part of the picture, though there were a few day conferences which went with my job as a charity administrator. On the whole, though, business travel is something that other people indulge in...probably people with whizzy jobs and high incomes. Still, I'm always willing to have a go - so here's this week's Friday Five courtesy of Mother Laura
1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden? Most of my work related travels are between my two communities on the hill and in the valley - but I do get to go on the occasional clergy conference, and CME event - sometimes overnight, though rarely far afield. A glorious exception to this, of course, was my month in India in November 2006. To be sent to a country that I'd dreamed about, to live as one of the family with Indian Christians I could never have hoped to meet otherwise, and to get to call it "work" - quite amazing. I still miss it.
2. How about that of your spouse or partner? Longsuffering Clockmaker is self-employed so when he does do a business trip, it tends to be an overnighter to the Big City to collect and return clocks he is working on. He stays with friends and it all seems to work very happily.
3. What was the best business trip you ever took? Can't beat my month in India...an experience that was a huge part of my rather belated "growing up" as an individual, as opposed to simply a wife and mother, and also helped me to define what is really important in my ministry - priesthood beyond the walls of the institutional church, where people look to the church to make a difference.
4. ...and the worst, of course? Oh...that would be when I took a party of German teenagers to London to do the sights while I was working as a TEFL teacher, while I was in 6th form. The kids were only slightly younger than me, but I was responsible for two dozen of them, hauling them round the sights of London....counting them in and out of St Paul's Cathedral, umbrella aloft. It was August and there were dozens of similar groups swarming around the capital - so that I did at one point find myself minus at least one of my charges but with his place taken by no less than three random Scandinavians. It all got sorted out in the end, but I can still feel the knots in my stomach remembering. That evening we went to see The Mousetrap, and I treated myself to a gin and tonic in the hotel bar when we got home. I felt I'd earned it.
5. What would make your next business trip perfect? How about another trip to the US, to do a field study of the work contexts of blogging women ministers? Sounds OK, I think. More realistically, I have dreams of a sabbatical course in one of the Indian theological colleges - perhaps at Vellore or Madurai. I long to revisit that wonderful country, but would so hate to be "just a tourist" having lived there as family for a month.