Updated: Apr 5, 2019
The Not-So-Glorious Side of Traveling for a Living
Do you remember how much fun sleepovers with friends used to be? You would stay up late, talk about everything, play games, and eat all kinds of stuff. You had the freedom away from your own family - it was awesome! But, that was when you were younger.
As an adult, the idea of bunking up with other people doesn't hold the same kind of appeal that it did even a few short years ago. If you travel for work that can potentially be a problem. Especially if you are an athlete, you better get used to the idea of having a roommate. And, I'm not talking about sharing a house with multiple bedrooms. I'm talking about sharing hotel rooms and sleeping one bed over from them.
The wonderful world of Track and Field has a large number of athletes that need accommodations. It is an expensive endeavor and single rooms can be hard to come by. That means as the athlete, you end up with a roommate. Sometimes you are able to choose, but sometimes you "get what you get". Your roommate can even end up being a complete stranger from another country. If sharing a room isn't hard enough, imagine what's it like when you don't speak the same language or have the same customs.
Or, to really top it off - imagine sharing a room with someone that you are competing against in the morning. Believe me... it happens!
Conquering more than my sports
I've had my fair share of roommates throughout my 12-year career as a professional athlete. I have been blessed to get to travel all over the world, which has been amazing. But, there is a not-so-glamorous side that the majority of people don't see. Here are some things that I have had to conquer over the years with "roommates":
Snoring - You probably saw this one coming because it is a problem that lots of people have. Just imagine trying to get a restful night of sleep in order to wake up early and compete only to be kept awake all night because it sounds like an angry bear is sleeping in the bed next to you.Sickness - What do you want when you feel sick? Most likely to be wrapped up in a blanket on your couch at home and possibly having your mom over to take care of you and make you soup (or is that just me?). I'm not sure which is worse being sick when sharing a room, or sharing a room with someone else that is sick.
Bathroom issues - Let's face it, there is a lot that falls under this category. Let's start with the bathroom smells. No one wants to stink up the bathroom in a tiny close quartered hotel room, but it happens. The best way to avoid this is to head down to the lobby when you need to do your business (not that that solution is always the most comfortable situation either).
Phone noise - Have you ever tried to sleep when someone is near you using their phone. Or, when it is constantly buzzing with notifications all night long. It's one thing when it's your phone to deal with, but when someone else is in control of it, it becomes too much to stand. Personal conversations - When your roommate is within 10 feet of you anywhere you go in the room it can be tricky to have a personal conversation. And, it's even worse trying NOT to hear their personal conversations; things like disciplining their children over the phone, or worse yet, phone sex. That's right, it happens.
Nakedness - Different people have different levels of comfort with being naked in front of others. You might be on the modest side, but it doesn't mean your roommate is going to be. Imagine continuing to do business with someone that you've seen in their birthday suit, just try to get that image out of your head.
Climate control - Rarely do two people like the same temperature in a hotel room. You want it cooler, they want it hot. There is no good compromise in this situation. You can meet in the middle, but that really just means you will both be slightly miserable.
Getting to know each other - If you are an outgoing person that loves chatting with people this will be right up your alley. But, if you are an introvert it will feel like torture. Either way, it doesn't matter because whether you share a room for one night or several weeks, you are going to get to know each other better.
Just the glorious life of an athlete!