Over the course of the last several weeks, I’ve had the "opportunity" to travel to several locations around the country for various purposes.
I was in Salt Lake City to attend a wedding, in Las Vegas to attend a tradeshow, in Ohio to attend a college graduation, and in several cities throughout the Ohio Valley to visit with distributors, reps, and end customers; all within a 9-day period. This was travel with a purpose. No sight-seeing or drinks at the pool.
Along the way, I did have the chance to converse with strangers, laugh with friends, and meet a variety of "friends of friends".
Somewhere during the course of the many conversations I found myself engaged in, the subject of travel often arose. I listened to people exclaim that I was so lucky that I had the opportunity to travel about and how they wished that they had the opportunity one day to nomad about.
Now...myself, I like to travel. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have visited some 58 countries throughout the world and 41 of the 50 states (including one new one just this past weekend...West Virginia). Traveling gives me a different perspective as to how the world looks and how people in different places live.
My experiences traveling these days, is anything but glamorous in all but just a few instances. There was a time when a traveler was treated with respect and some dignity, however those days are about as far gone as the hot airplane meal and personal travel agent.
I have found that there are generally three reasons most people travel.
Traveling for business
When we travel for business, we typically want to go, get our business done, and return back home as soon as possible. Business travel is annoying, even to the veteran "road warriors" who may spend more time away from home than actually at home. It is an obligation that comes with the job. We need to do it, but we don’t like it.
Business travel is about packing in as much as you can due to the inefficiencies of getting to one place or another. Inconveniences abound as we seem to spend just as much time waiting in seemingly endless lines as we do actually getting from one place to another. There are the logistical problems of getting to and from the airport, checking luggage, airport security checkpoints, boarding planes by sections, lines at the rental car counter, and getting to and checking into hotels. Hurry up and wait.
Days on the road (at least for me), typically start early and end late. We end up eating unhealthy fast-food and/or large heavy meals while entertaining clients late into the evenings.
Sleeping in strange and sometimes uncomfortable beds causes restless nights. The climate controls in our rooms seldom operate correctly so it’s often too hot or too cold.
Our internal body clocks take a few days to adjust to the new time zones but we don’t have the time to acclimate ourselves due to our overscheduling and time demands.
We do rack up the frequent flier miles and hotel points but actually redeeming our points mean even more nights away from home so we save them for that dream vacation that we often never take.
There was a time when people prognosticated that the days of business travel was coming to a close. The efficiency of WebEx meetings and Skype would certainly replace onsite meetings. While there are certainly more internet transactions, it is safe to say that personal face-to-face dialog will not become extinct anytime soon.
Traveling for personal reasons is not unlike that of business travel except that there tends to be the additional stress of an event with a deadline.
No one will delay a wedding, graduation or Thanksgiving because your flight got canceled. Additional time constraints just add to the stress levels as you navigate to a particular location at a particular time.
Q: When is a vacation not a vacation?
A: When it is so tightly scheduled that you begin to think that you need a vacation after your vacation.
We spend months or years planning for the dream vacation to some far-off place that we’ve always wanted to go.
Once we get to our destination, we hurriedly move from place to place trying to see every site and every tourist attraction. We tell ourselves that we may never return so we feel that we must experience all that a place has to offer...if for no other reason than to be able to tell our friends that "we’ve been there and done that".
Many times I’ve returned from such a trip only to lament that I’m so glad that I’m back at work so I can relax from my vacation.
A vacation should be just that...a vacation. It’s a time to unplug, unwind, and relax.
This is the type of vacation where you stop working, stop sight-seeing, and stop moving. You get to your destination, check-in and a week (or two) later you check out.
You sleep in each day...get a massage...do yoga on the beach...curl up with a good book while you work on your tan...and go to bed early each night.
Your days are filled with recreational sports such as golf, hiking or horseback riding and your nights are filled with long relaxing dinners with uninterrupted conversation.
You go to someplace where your cell phone is inoperable and internet access is unavailable. Where no one from the office can contact you to ask you whereabouts of a client’s file or seek your advice regarding the next year’s budget.
It’s a time to unplug...a time to let your mind wander...a time to be bored. You have the time to become hypnotized by the crash of the surf on the sand or stillness of the majestic mountains and quietness of the desert.
This is the type of travel where you are still imagining yourself lazing in a hammock between two palm trees sipping on a blended exotic cocktail several days after returning to work. It’s the type of vacation where you feel refreshed and ready to solve the multitude of problems that will be awaiting you upon your return.
This is the type of travel I truly pine for but alas never seem to do enough of.
The summer is almost here...perhaps now is the time to get away to refresh and recharge those batteries...
Thank you for your continued support of OptiFuse where we try to assist you in taking a vacation from your daily problems.