July 24th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Letter to the President #551: 'On the road home'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/TRAVEL/07/13/airline.fees.analysis/story.plane.gi.jpg caption="One foot in front of the other; one plane after the next; that’s the way you move from a bad place to a better one" width=300 height=169]

Reporter's Note: The president has been doing some traveling and so have I, so I’m hoping we connect through my latest letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

It occurs to me as I sit in the Mobile airport that I have not been home in two weeks. Now, granted, I was with my family traveling for the first seven of those fourteen days, so it’s not nearly the same as it is when I am away from them, but despite many years of travel it still wears on me a bit to be gone.

When I first started doing national news, about twenty years ago, I distinctly remember walking down a hallway in a hotel in San Jose, my travel bags slung over my shoulder, a clunky DOS computer stuffed into my bag, and the clock chasing me furiously as it has ever since I started reporting back in the ‘70’s. I thought to myself at that moment, “Look at me! I’m flying on planes and sleeping in hotels!”

It seemed so glamorous, exciting and wonderful. Since then, many times I have walked down hotel halls, however, and thought in a sarcastic way, “Look at me. I’m flying on planes and sleeping in hotels.”

Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy it far more than any sane person might. I love going to places I have not seen, meeting people I have not met, and telling stories that should be told. But as time has gone on, some of the shine has come off the apple; bad weather, plans gone awry, lost luggage, delayed planes, missing hotel reservations, and the occasional nasty encounter with someone who just doesn’t seem to give a hoot how much their indifference is causing havoc to your schedule. There have been times, especially on the road, when I have seen so many things fall apart that I just shake my head and wonder what else I might do with my life. (The answer, btw, is always the same: Pottery King of Arizona!)

But I suppose the presidency is a lot like that, too. I imagine that when you won the office less than two years ago, it seemed like the most exciting and wondrous thing in the world, and I’m sure it always will be to a degree. But I also suspect that this is around the time that you’re truly realizing that even the best job in the world, sometimes is just a job. That’s when you have to put your head down, and slog forward with the best plan you have.

One foot in front of the other; one plane after the next; that’s the way you move from a bad place to a better one, and considering all the storms buffeting DC these days, that might be something you’ll want to keep in mind.

They’ll be calling for my plane shortly, and unlike you I can’t just stroll aboard when I feel like it. Ha! Hey, do you think you and I can take a ride on AF1 up to Boston for a lobster roll one day at lunch? Give me a call. That would be sweet!


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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