If you found this article at 11:58pm on February 14th, you’re almost out of time! Stop reading this and call or text your significant other right now!

If you’re reading this before Valentine’s Day, you’ve come to the right place. It can be tough to be away from family and friends on holidays, and if you celebrate Valentine’s Day, that’s no different. But don’t worry, you have plenty of time to do something special to show you care. Most of my suggestions only require a few taps on your phone and a few minutes of planning.

Let’s get into it.

Send An Email Or Text

Sending an email or text is easy and can be done quickly. These aren’t as personal or intimate as some other options, but they can show your loved one that you care.

If you’re feeling fancy, write a short poem. My go-to poem to write is a Haiku. They are short and they don’t need to rhyme, so it’s perfect for me! Here’s a quick explanation on how they work.

Writing a haiku

It’s not silly if it works

Just give it a try

Send A Card

Just about every convenience store in America sells Valentine’s Day cards. I find that Papyrus cards often have my favorite designs.

In addition to writing a note, print a few of your favorite pictures of you and your partner, or a recent picture of yourself on your travels. If your partner is sentimental, they will appreciate being able to display the card and photos on a refrigerator, desk, or nightstand.

Of course, make sure to get it in the mail on time!

Make A Phone Call

Did you know that hearing a loved one’s voice can improve your mental health? Whether it’s a holiday or not, if you need a pick-me-up, a conversation with a loved one can really hit the spot.

If possible, plan a time for the call so you are both free from distractions and can have a nice conversation.

Video Calls

We all have smartphones, tablets, and computers so it’s easy to make a video call. I challenge you to throw on a funny filter to see if you can get a cheap laugh out of your significant other.

Virtual Date

I kind of buried the lead here. If you can block out a few hours, a virtual date is a fantastic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Actually, you can do this any time you’re away from home and want to spend some quality time with your partner.

On a virtual date, you can do most of the things you might do on a stay-at-home date. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Cook or order the same meal and eat together. If you’re going for romantic, set the mood! Get dressed up, light a candle, and dim the lights.
  • Make some popcorn and watch a favorite movie or TV show together. Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have watch party features built in. And apps like Teams, Zoom, Skype, and Discord allow you to share your screen while on a call.
  • Have a game night. If you both play PC or console games, that’s an option. Otherwise, there are dozens of free games you can play in a browser or on your phone.
  • Go on a walk together. Use your front facing camera while you’re chatting. If you see something interesting flip to the rear camera so you can share the experience. Just be extra careful crossing any roads!

Sending A Gift, Flowers, Or Chocolate

For many, gifting is a love language. Finding the perfect gift can be a great way to show your affection. For Valentine’s Day specifically, companies like 1-800-flowers are a great way to send a holiday gift.

You know your partner best! If they aren’t into flowers and chocolate, just about every retailer out there has online ordering.

Like sending a card, make sure to place your order early so it shows up on time!

Conclusion

If it’s now the wee hours of the morning on February 15th, I hope you were able to get that call or text out on time. If not, there’s always next year!

If you can still make plans for Valentine’s Day, I hope this blog gives you a few ideas. And remember, you can always plan an in-person “make up” date for when you get home! 

In the quiet corners of hotel rooms and under the dim lights of distant job sites, the Christmas spirit finds a way to whisper to us even when we’re miles away from home. For those in the trades, often on the road during this festive season, each twinkling light and faint carol becomes a tender reminder of what we hold dear and the precious moments we’re away from.

Christmas, with its inherent magic and warmth, is about the bonds we cherish, the family and friends whose laughter and love light up our lives. Being away from these familiar comforts, the hugs of our children, the loving gaze of our partners or the jovial banter of old friends, Christmas takes on a bittersweet tone. It is in these moments of solitude that the essence of the holiday season truly reveals itself.

For the traveling tradesperson, each ornament seen in a shop window, each message of goodwill from loved ones over the phone, brings home closer, even if just for a fleeting moment. These connections, stretched over miles, become the invisible, yet unbreakable, threads that hold us together. They remind us that distance is just a number, and that love transcends all boundaries.

Amidst the bustle of our work, there’s a silent night within our hearts, where memories of past Christmases play like old, beloved movies. We remember the laughter around the dinner table, the unwrapping of gifts, the warmth of a fire, and it is in these memories we find a comfort that no distance can diminish.

This season, as we celebrate in ways different than we might wish, let us embrace the poignancy of these moments. Let’s find joy in the small gestures – a shared smile with a colleague, a simple holiday meal, the quiet contemplation of a starry night. Each of these moments is a testament to the enduring spirit of Christmas, to the resilience and heart that defines us.

As we look up at the same stars that shine over our distant homes, let’s make a silent wish for health, happiness and a future where distances shrink and reunions are sweet. Let’s hold onto the hope that each goodbye is just a precursor to a joyful hello.

To every tradesperson spending this Christmas away from home, know that your strength is a beacon to all who await your return. May the spirit of the season fill your hearts, and may the new year bring you back to the embrace of your loved ones. Until then, carry the magic of Christmas within you, for home is where the heart is, and your heart is never alone.

Merry Christmas, with all the love and warmth the season can hold, from your friends at FlexTrades. 

Traveling, whether for leisure or work, is an integral part of modern life. Most of us are accustomed to the routine of airports, hotels and a daily work schedule. But there’s a glamorous side to travel that few get to experience. Whether you’re a “Swifty,” a Travis Kelce fan or you catch the occasional social media post, most of us are aware of Taylor Swift’s extensive travel.

In this blog, we’ll explore the differences between Taylor Swift’s jet-setting lifestyle and a FlexTrades technician’s work-related travels. FlexTrades’ skilled tradespeople have it as good, or better, than the average business traveler, but no one really compares to the biggest pop star in the world.

Mode of Transportation

Taylor Swift:

The pop sensation is no stranger to private jets and luxury transportation. Her travel style is characterized by comfort, privacy and efficiency. With the means to fly anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice, Swift’s journeys are undoubtedly smoother and more convenient than most. In July 2022, it was reported that all that flying was equal to 1,184 times the average person’s annual emissions!

Average Person:

For a FlexTrades technician, road trips and commercial flights are the norm. In October 2023 alone, our technicians traveled over 100,000 miles. That’s half the distance to the moon! Driving hundreds of miles, or dealing with ever changing airport security rules, is a shared experience that starkly contrasts with the luxury of private jets. At least as an average person, you can stop at the Biggest Ball of Twine or the Cadillac Ranch without being hounded by paparazzi.

Accommodations

Taylor Swift:

Five-star hotels, exclusive resorts and lavish accommodations are the singer’s home away from home. Swift enjoys the finest amenities and personalized services, ensuring her every need is met during her travels.

Average Person:

FlexTrades technicians always have single occupancy lodging and are booked into extended stay suites whenever possible. The extra space is great for relaxing after work, and the full kitchen can save you from ordering in, 0or eating out, every meal. Check out our series of “Lunchbox Hack” blogs for some great ideas on how to use that kitchen for lunch, too.

Travel Itinerary

Taylor Swift:

Swift’s travel itinerary revolves around world tours, glamorous events and high-profile appearances. Her schedule is meticulously planned, allowing for both work and leisure. From performing on grand stages to attending star-studded events, Swift’s travel is as much about the destination as it is about the journey.

Average Person:

Work-related travel for a FlexTrades technician typically involves working a shift, traveling to and from the facility and chatting with your Project Manager or Recruiter. The itinerary is structured around getting work done, but days off can be a mini vacation in a new place, as well. You can always find work/life balance, even on the road.

Packing and Wardrobe

Taylor Swift:

With the assistance of stylists and wardrobe managers, Swift’s travel wardrobe is undoubtedly curated to perfection. Her luggage likely consists of designer outfits, accessories and beauty essentials to ensure she always looks camera-ready.

Average Person:

A FlexTrades technician needs to bring work clothes, job specific PPE and a small handbag of basic hand tools. Anything large or specialty will be provided on site. The first blog of this series identified the top 7 travel essentials our technicians reported bringing. Most of the items on that list help life on the road feel a little more like home.

Conclusion

Despite the differences, most travel shares the common thread of exploration and adaptation to life on the move. Whether it’s a pop star’s glamorous world tours or a technician’s work-related travels, each journey offers its unique blend of challenges and discoveries. In the end, travel remains a dynamic and integral part of the modern experience, weaving stories and memories for those who embark on the journey, be it under the spotlight or in the shadow of an arc flash. 

A job that involves travel must account for a certain amount of downtime to be filled. Books, in my opinion, are the perfect remedy to the problem of free time! Consider one of these wonderful reads before you pick up your phone and doom-scroll on social media.

Fourth Wing

Attention Fantasy Romance readers, this one’s for you! I bought this book on Amazon and then read some reviews and cancelled my order. A few days later I saw a Tiktok covering the book and re-ordered it. Then cancelled after seeing several more videos bashing the book. I finally ordered and received the book almost a month after initially wanting it. I proceeded to devour it in three days and briefly considered re-reading it a week later. It is easily the best new fantasy novel I’ve read in 2023 and the idea that I must wait till fall for the next book in the series brings very real tears to my eyes.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

 

No this isn’t about OceanGate, nor does it have anything to do with the Titanic. This classic tale of nautical adventure by Jules Vern has stood the test of time since its publication in 1870, and for good reason. Without spoiling too much of the story, the main characters journey to find a sea monster and discover it’s not really a sea monster. At which point they are captured and end up seeing other, completely unrelated, sea monsters.

The Martian

 
If you enjoy meticulously researched sci-fi, humor, and F-bombs then this is the book for you! Imagine Castaway except you’re on Mars. While you journey far from home, consider joining astronaut and biologist Mark Watney as he struggles to survive on an inhospitable planet all alone. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll find yourself craving potato-based foods!

1984

In the mood for current events? I’ve got the book for you! Winston Smith lives in a futuristic society under the watchful eye of Big Brother but his natural curiosity and idealism regarding freedom lead to chaotic revelations regarding the supposedly benevolent government that watches all. This book is great for when you think you may be getting too comfortable with modern society and are looking for something that unnerves you to your very core!

 

The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War 

 

You may have seen the movie that came out September 2022 starring Zac Efron but, if not, please consider delving into this book based on the events that took place when Jon Donohue decided to share some beers. What starts as an almost silly venture to track down his friends fighting in Vietnam quickly turns as he comes face to face with the realities of war. A good read for any history and war buffs.  

The Road 

Are you happy and don’t want to be? Well while you travel on the road, consider reading The Road. You may be familiar with the movie starring Viggo Mortesen but, if not, it’s a dystopian road trip (on foot) story about a father and son at the end of the world. Guaranteed to eliminate any of that pesky serotonin you want to rid yourself of!

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer  

Whether you donned pink and saw Barbie or black to see Oppenheimer – or sat for five hours to watch both – there’s no denying the atomic success of both movies. Oppenheimer, in particular, brought to light a hugely important figure often forgotten by history. Oppenheimer’s life leading up to the successful completion and deployment of the atomic bomb, and the hearings that followed, make for a riveting story that any WW2 buff should have on their shelf.

And last but by far the least…

The Sword & Shield

That’s right folks, I don’t just write manufacturing themed blog posts, I’m also a published author! If you have any interest in an immunocompromised, cat-loving assassin who gets involved in various shenanigans then this fantasy novel is for you! Chock full of dark humor and found family, it has hundreds of five-star reviews and is – in my totally unbiased opinion – a good time! Is this a shameless plug of my own novel in the hopes that I gain more readers? Absolutely not! It is a humanitarian effort to enrich the lives of those around me by bringing them the word of Emma Khoury.