Mark Zokle has spent the better part of the last two decades traveling for his job. It hasn’t always been easy, but he says it is possible to raise a family and maintain a healthy relationship with your significant other – even if you can’t be with him or her every day. Here, Mark Zokle offers advice on managing life from the road.
Q: How do you keep up with the type of schedule that involves weekly travel?
Mark Zokle: Update your calendar every day and plan your travel around the times you can communicate with your family.
Q: You’re married, does your wife keep up with your schedule?
Mark Zokle: She is actually paramount in helping me manage my daily plans.
Q: How do you handle being away from your family?
Mark Zokle: It’s very difficult, of that there is no doubt. However, technology over the last decade has made it much easier to be away and still maintain a close relationship with both my spouse and kids.
Q: Technology such as…?
Mark Zokle: One of the greatest tools a traveling father can have is FaceTime!
Q: When do you find time to chat with your kids?
Mark Zokle: I try to block off some time every day. But, the hours after the kids come in from school are critical.
Q: Does that fill a void?
Mark Zokle: It does. Of course, it’s not like having their arms around you, but it helps when you can’t be there.
Q: Do you feel that video chatting with the kids helps your wife?
Mark Zokle: Absolutely. Especially in the area of discipline; mom doesn’t always have to be the “bad” guy.
Q: It has to be hard on her, putting the kids to bed alone?
Mark Zokle: I know it is, but I do get to read a story to the younger ones while she’s tending to other things. I think that helps take at least a little worry off her plate.
Q: How do you keep your relationship with your spouse “alive?”
Mark Zokle: For us, blocking out quality alone time when I am home keeps us connected.
Q: Isn’t that tough?
Mark Zokle: Well, it can be, but nothing worth having is every really easy, is it?
Q: Let’s talk about staying healthy. How do you do that eating out all the time?
Mark Zokle: That’s actually one of the hardest aspects of my job. I keep healthy snacks (raw nuts, fruits) on hand. And I try to avoid fried foods.
Q: And exercise?
Mark Zokle: Most hotels have fitness centers on-site.
Q: Is it hard falling asleep in a new place all the time?
Mark Zokle: It’s really more adjusting to the mattresses and room ambiance. But, you do adjust and sleeping becomes much easier.
Q: Does moving around all the time affect your quality of work?
Mark Zokle: No, but I am used to it. It can if you let it, however.
Q: What would you say is the best piece of advice you can give to someone just entering a career that involves constant travel?
Mark Zokle: Pray. Every day, every night. Keep an open line of communication with God. I have found that He’ll give you the strength to keep going during those times when you want to quit.
Mark Zokle is the National Sales Director for BCI Acrylics, Inc., a bath remodeling products manufacturer.