Around here, it's not every work week that you can celebrate the completion of a big presentation by enjoying an afternoon at the beach. Then again, it's not every consulting firm around here that has a gig in the US Virgin Islands. Some musings from my final presentation to the board of their economic development agency:
* My direct flight from Philly to St. Thomas was over half empty. And on the return trip, the airport in St. Thomas was, shall we say, quiet. And remember: some of these trips were booked months ago, before we knew how bad of a recession we were in. Word down there is that fewer people are coming, and those who do are spending far less. Next go round, if we're still slumping worldwide, even fewer people will be coming. That doesn't bode well for a tourism-dominated economy.
* Was it hard to adjust from 10 degrees to 80 degrees? In a word, no. Between the temperate climate and the gorgeous scenery, let's just say one could get used to the island life.
* My reward for traveling 8 hours, working 8 hours on our presentation, sleeping far less than 8 hours, and then making it through the 2-hour presentation itself? An afternoon floating upside in Brewer's Bay, in complete solitude and quiet. Just what this introverted and harried city slicker needed.
* All that being said, it was good to get home and reunite with Amy and the kids. I told Amy my flight was in early enough that I could get the kids from day care, but she insisted she'd do it. We compromised and met up at a nearby McDonalds to catch up over dinner. The kids weren't as happy to see me, though Amy said they had missed me, but Amy was glad to no longer have to juggle them solo.
It looks like this assignment is winding down, so time will tell if we get follow-on work, or if we have the luxury of returning as leisure travelers. Until then, I'll always have the memories, and I'll ever be thankful that work brought me southward in January.