Over the last three months, I have traveled to LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Sioux Falls, Fargo, Minneapolis, Chicago, Wichita, and Hutchinson, KS. My travels have involved many airports and one very long road trip that was sponsored by the Buick Division of GM in support of the #140Conf Detroit.
The Fillmore Theater, Home of the #140Conf Detroit.
While the idea of business travel is nothing revolutionary, I’ve made a conscious effort to track and be more aware of how I can be productive, stay on track with managing and supporting clients, and enjoy the adventures of business and personal travel.
The Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Philadelphia
Work. Create. Observe. Absorb. Rest.
Constantly changing environments, I try to stay focused on architecture, the colors and of the materials that are used in the homes and commercial buildings, and how people use public transportation. I try to tune out the suburbs and the homogenous elements that have taken over our country when every Bed, Bath & Beyond, Best Buy and Starbucks starts to all blend and look the same across the U.S.
My camera is a way to not only track my memories, but makes me adjust my internal lenses so I can see the places I am traveling to from the perspective of my normal eyes and the other set of eyes my camera has. Disciplining myself to shoot while on the run, it helps me focus (literally) and sharpens my critical thinking.
I am finding that my writing is getting better, my pitches stronger, and more effective. I’m working harder than ever, and resting even more.
When in an urban area like New York, Boston or San Francisco, I love to walk.
And when I walk I will try to walk for two hours, and then stop at an Apple Store or Starbucks, or in the case of many places in New York City, find an open park with free WiFi so I can handle inbound and outbound emails and work in progress. I will often walk for two hours and then stop to work for two hours. Along the way when walking, I still check email, return phone calls, or do conference calls en route. Even with some of the challenges of having quality cell phone coverage with an iPhone, my voice and data work gets done.
I find myself going back to my hotel around 4 or 5 PM and either taking a nap or just laying down with no phone, no computer, no TV. I unplug and I rest. I am finding that resting clears my head after having a rush of walking and absorbing the vibe of a city and lets me reflect. I feel refreshed when I wake up and and then ready for meeting clients or friends for dinner.
As I write this post, it’s 9:40 AM EST in New York City. I purposely scheduled no meetings and no phone calls until 11:30 AM today so I could clear my tasks list and begin thinking of my week ahead which will take me to Hutchinson, KS and then back home to San Antonio on Tuesday.
This travel cycle is two weeks. I’m home for one week, and then back one for one more, with other travel scheduled through the end of the year.
Depending on what you do, if you are able to travel and combine work with your personal passions, I strongly encourage you to do as much of it as you can. If you have a flexible schedule, be open to out of the way stops. Driving from Detroit to New Jersey, we stopped at the Martin Guitar for a factory tour. You don’t have to be into music or guitar playing to stop at a place like this. They have an amazing history museum where you can see many of the guitars played by greats like Elvis, Roy Rogers, and Paul McCartney.
It helps me connect and build new relationships, expand my sphere of contacts and most of all refreshes my outlook on the world.
I’m blessed by these opportunities to not only earn a living doing what I do, but more importantly, to meet and connect with some very interesting and kind people who welcome me into their offices, and often times their home.
Many of us are reinventing ourselves. Last night at ShowStoppers Digital Holidays I ran into journalists like Bill Howard and Robin Raskin who I had not seen in years. They too are reinventing journalism and innovating the future of media. Even with all the changes that are going on in the world of media, they are at heart, story tellers.
I’d love to hear your story about your travels, your reinvention, and how you stay productive on the road.