I started traveling frequently for work. Nearly every week I head to an airport, a hotel, and possibly a rental car pickup. I’m in a cycle of packing and unpacking, spending some time at home and leaving again.
People ask me ‘how is traveling so much?’. And my answer is – largely, it’s fine. I enjoy the time I spend with my team and colleagues while traveling, and I enjoy the quiet and recovery at home. For now, the balance is working.
As I adjust to this lifestyle, I find myself reflecting on the experience and what I’m learning. Some of it is rote – like how to pack and unpack with great efficiency. And some reflections are deeper.
Reflection 1: traveling requires patience. Capital P – Patience.
I’m used to being in the driver’s seat, or at least being the one to come up with a plan. There are so many opportunities when traveling to be at the mercy of others – the airline, the weather, the traffic. Plan as you may, you don’t really get to be the boss of the outcome.
- Like, when I scheduled a two-day offsite with my new leadership team and right when I landed on the east coast, realized there was a major hurricane barreling down and that I and anyone else who traveled to the city should get out ASAP. Agenda – destroyed.
- Or that other time I scheduled an offsite with my team, and intended to catch a flight out the night before and instead ended up delayed, then to de-icing, then back to the gate because the tail was cracked and then finally flying out the next day. Offsite – delayed.
- Or that time going through the TSA pre-check that the guy behind me mansplained that: actually, I didn’t have to take my shoes off, that is one of the perks of TSA pre-check. And I thoughtfully responded that women’s heels (fashion be damned) actually DO have metal in them and I DID need to take them off to make it through security, isn’t that peculiar. Civility – tested.
Any of these things could throw me off and make traveling unpleasant. But, getting upset doesn’t help anyone, and it probably hurts me (and only me) when I go down that path.
Peace over the sweet temptation of outrage
One of my goals for this year was to be more at peace, and I actually think all this waiting and adjusting has helped me on that journey. It’s not that I don’t find these things to be disruptive or annoying. I do, and I also find myself quickly moving on. I am prioritizing stillness over the fleeting joy that comes from being outraged about something beyond my control
In fact, right now I’m taking advantage of free hours created by a flight delay to write. Maybe it’s thinking about what can I do in this moment, instead of what can’t I do that helps me recalibrate quickly. The moment is not lost – it is simply different.