The quirkiness that comes with business travel...

It’s a lot easier to simply say you are going to Boston for a business trip instead of Newton (which is a suburb of Boston) — it’s simply more recognizable and comes will less explanation; although disappointing all around when you clarify. I don’t travel as much as I used to but every so often I find myself heading to the airport with carry on luggage in tow. A recent trip had me going to visit a potential client, and with it, offered up an opportunity to explore all the trials and tribulations that come with such trips. In other words, it was an opportunity to deal with all the quirkiness that seems to inherently be part of business travel.


As I look back on this, the first hint of the quirkiness yet to come occurred when I attempted to book my hotel room. When I went to reserve a room I was told the hotel was full but an alternative hotel had vacancies. This was particularly disappointing because the hotel I wanted to stay at was an easy five minute walk to my client — alas, I needed a place to sleep so I took the alternative. The idea of not having a convenient five-minute walk (and needing to rent a car) started to fester so I called the front desk of my preferred hotel to see if they could find me a room. I was informed that there were a number of rooms available and was passed onto “reservations”, and as you might guess, I was informed that the hotel was all booked up (but there was an alternative hotel available). After explaining I was told differently, I was again informed there were simply no rooms available. Spurred on by the idiocy of this, I hung up and called the front desk, explained what was happening, and eventually they took my reservation there and then. With that done, all I had to do was call and cancel the reservation for that alternative hotel. I was off the hamster wheel. (Persistence)

A 5:00 am start had me at the airport with lots of time to make my way from one side of customs and security to the other.

After a couple of attempts at the check-in kiosk, I was informed my identity couldn’t be verified and I needed to see an agent — twenty minutes later I handed my passport to an agent and explaining that the kiosk “doesn’t like me”. With boarding pass in hand, I was told that the reason for the uncooperative kiosk was because I hadn’t included a “Mr” when I booked my flight; as a result the kiosk removed a letter from my name to solve for the missing tile, but in doing so made my name unidentifiable. (Learning experience)


Because of my boarding pass issue, I found myself one of the last people to get onto the plane and had to check my carry on — a little inconvenient because I would have to wait at the luggage carousel but none of this mattered because I was on the plane and we were on time. That was until we were informed the pilots had missed their “connecting flight” and new pilots would be here in about twenty minutes. (Patience)

It was a smooth flight.

Some other quirky highlights of my short trip — I could get onto the guest password, the network, but not my email (I would have to access emails at the hotel); I thought I had lost my wallet and was moments from making the dreaded call to cancel my credit cards when I finally found it (my new bag has many, many, places to put things); I lost my umbrella (I still have no idea how that happened or where it could be. And yes, I went back to the hotel to look for it.). (Adaptability)

It was a smooth flight back home after a productive couple of days (with only a slight delay).

It was nice to be back home — that was until I started to get a sore throat, a cough, and a fever. I’ve been under the weather all weekend, and you guessed it, the weather outside was beautiful. (Stoic)


Delaying the discussion...


Here's the thing about business travel — it's really an exercise in efficiency, and unless you are into that sort of thing, the whole activity really isn't that much fun.

It's all about how effectively you can get your ticket and how quickly (and easily) you can get through customs and security — all the while juggling various forms of identification, accessories and bags, belts, and shoes. Sure I was in Boston, but that meant I never really got any farther than a Logon airport hotel, and saw little more than the four walls of a conference room. Of course, that was after I missed my connector.

"It's the Captain from the flight deck. You may have noticed the gate is moving back into position... we have a warning light on and maintenance is going to check it out. We'll get back to you as soon as we can."

"It's the Captain again. Looks like this plane won't be going anywhere. The good news is we are having a new plane brought in and it should be at gate 32 in twenty minutes. We will de-boarding in a moment and I'll see you at gate 32 in about twenty minutes".

An hour and twenty minutes later we were in the air.

You rarely grumble when you travel for business but rather tend to gather your things, inform anyone who is impacted using one (or more) of the many communication tools available, and make your way to wherever you have to get to in the most direct way possible. In the case of this particular business travel experience, as I was collecting my things I couldn't help but overhear someone on the phone explaining his situation and then said something that reminded me of a very important truism —

" I really didn't want to miss being part of the discussion"

It wasn't so much that he was missing a meeting because that happens all the time, but his lament was that he's missing the opportunity to add his voice to the discussion. 

And here is the truism —

Anything (and everything) only gets better when you add your voice to the discussion.

Sure I will admit that it's sometimes difficult, but that makes it even more important.


PS: I ended up getting to the meeting on time, and had a far bit to say. (I think)