I have spent the better part of my career traveling. Probably averaged 150-200 days a year for 25 years and I have learned that you can either let the travel beat you or you make it work for you. A long time ago I realized that most of us change our behaviors when we travel. We compromise on our lifestyle, we allow ourselves to be victims to circumstance and we make excuses for why we cannot live the way we want to. I am sure that each of you could tell travel story after travel story. I have a few that are classic examples of how I did not become a victim to the circumstance. Here’s one - A number of years ago when I was at IBM, my flight back from Shanghai to NY was late 12 hours and so when I finally got to San Francisco at the wrong time of day I was told that the next flight to NY was not for eight more hours. There was no way I was going to stay in the terminal for another half day and so I rented a car, drove to a great park I knew of near the airport - I went on a seven mile run, then out for a sushi dinner (at Blowfish – it is awesome) and got back to the airport to make my flight with a few hours to spare. Most people I tell about the story think I am odd, maybe I am, OK, I am odd. But I also know that there is no reason that I could not do what I did – it was just a choice I made.
Rather than be a victim to the vagaries of how airline schedules work I took control and had what turned out to be a great day. And so I believe after millions of miles and thousands of hotel nights that you can indeed travel and still feel good and NOT tired and worn out. I have a few rules that I employ as I travel that have worked for me and have contributed to a high performance lifestyle as they allow me to make choices, stay true to my daily goals and to push myself to enjoy that which I am doing. Here goes:
· Bring your life with you. This means some of your favorite foods, music, reading; whatever you have made part of your life at home you should bring with you. You will feel so much better when you do not have to compromise and your routine will make you more productive.
· Create “travel rules” – these are rules you do not violate under any circumstance when on the road. It makes it much easier when you do not have to think; should I or shouldn’t I? For example – you call home every night, even if you have to excuse yourself from the “big” dinner – there is no way you miss the call. Or never eat dessert on the road or always read the newspaper or do not have any alcohol. If you can do it at home you can make it work on the road. (BTW - peer pressure is supposed to go away after high school)
· Stick to your normal schedule – if you get up at 6 am when at home do the same on the road. If you exercise often then find a hotel that has a gym. All of these behaviors make the travel that much easier.
· See something local or experience local fare – I have heard too many times the statement “I was in XX City and I did not even know it”. It is actually a travesty that you do not see the local area. You have the opportunity to get a new perspective if you see what is around you – why would you not do this? Doing so might even make a local deal easier for you to close.
· Regarding eating out – ask the hotel staff where they eat – not where they recommend. You will find way better food that costs a lot less this way
· Stop making excuses – you are in charge – there is no good reason to have travel become a burden. And traveling, when done right, is most likely easier than your local commute to work
One more note – maybe runners will relate more but I think that walkers can relate just as well. I have travelled the world and I have brought my sneakers everywhere I go. And when I am in a new place the one commitment I make to myself is that I will take a least one run outside to see as much as I can see about the location I am staying in. Years later I can tell you that these runs are the most lasting of memories I have had in my life. Running through Berlin Park in Germany, along the Mediterranean on the coast of Nice, around Rod Laver arena in Melbourne when I was always running on the wrong side of the path, seeing the sunrise over the Grand Canyon, in Regents Park in London, across the Brooklyn Bridge, I could literally go on and on. And so when I wonder if it was worth the trip all I have to do is to remember the run I had when I was there and for sure I remember it was worth it. Enjoy the journey.
Sally came with me to Tallahassee and she was good to me - got to the end and added 10 more seconds. rest and then 179 pushups on the good ole 4:17.
As always, loving life!