“Road trip.” Otter and Boon, harmonizing (“Animal House”.)
You ever try packing for 10 days using only one carry-on bag?
With no chance of a laundry day?
Plus, I gotta look presentable, on stage, at a big seminar mid-way through the tip. That means slacks, dress shirt, coat (though, the concept of wearing a “coat” in South Carolina in late June kinda boggles the mind).
(On the other hand, have you ever been in Vegas in the summer — 110 outside in the shade — and freeze your butt off in a casino cuz they keep the a/c cranked up to “Polar”?)
My little suitcase has put up with trips like this for twenty years now. Until the seam burst or the wheels come off, I’m keeping it, too.
I like used stuff. Especially when I’m the one who’s used it. In the old days, you took pride in plastering your suitcase with travel stickers (Cairo with the pyramids, London with Big Ben, Paris with the Eifel Tower) — every one a testament to your willingness to get out and engage the world.
Nowadays, the best you can do is keep the little elastic bands with airline names on the handle. (I had a Pan Am tag on this carry-on until a few years ago, when a heartless baggage handler finally nicked it.)
Your main badge of honor now is, literally, the condition of your bag. The more wretched, the better, as far as I’m concerned. Sure, the zipper handles are gone, but it still seals up tight. I’m amazed at the resiliance of that little bag… it’s hauled and protected big wads of my gear, faithfully and without complaint, and survived world travel.
Good on ya, little bag.
Hey — I’m a veteran road warrior.
I learned all the tricks long ago (roll your clothes tight, don’t fold ’em when packing… hang wrinkled shirts in the bathroom and take a super-hot shower — the toasty mist will straighten everything out, though you gotta avoid getting anything actually damp or you’re screwed… stick to stuff that coordinates with black… stay away from white, which will look dirty before it actually is, while darker colors can actually be worn in romantically-lit rooms days after you’ve sloshed marinara on them… and the big one: Remember, if you’re gonna be in civilization, you can buy anything you forget to pack.)
But the main trick that has helped the most over the years… is all about attitude.
When you find yourself dreading travelling, then, dude, you’re jaded. Time for an attitude adjustment.
Shake off the irritation at the abysmal conditions of airline travel… get over your spoiled notions of what a hotel should be… and get your nose out of your cell phone long enough to realize that you’re on a friggin’ ADVENTURE.
The world abounds with stories all around you. Even wandering through the next state over offers all kinds of new experiences (the cuisine in Phoenix, for example, is sometimes radically different than Reno).
Well-rounded people who seek to live with gusto embrace travel.
As a marketer, it’s an opportunity to get out of your box, and rub elbows (literally, in coach) with the people who buy your crap.
You want something good to read? There are multiple non-fiction works that focus on how people travelled in other times — like, for instance, the Middle Ages.
In Europe, people travelled a LOT, which often surprises modern day spoiled trekkers. Journeys by ship were dangerous (pirates, weather, disease, falling off the end of the world) and months-long, caravans required a year to head out and come back (and you might never know what happened to them, once they went missing), and just going from one city to the next on horseback entailed all sorts of gnarly skills. And danger.
And it took a long time. You needed skills at managing your boredom and the lack of instant gratification.
And yet, people did it. It’s in our genes. You only get home-bound and agoraphobic when something knocks your internal gyro off balance.
Our default position… is to get out of Dodge, and go see what happens.
If you were to explain how you’re travelling next week to the East Coast, say, to someone just two generations behind us (early part of the 20th Century)… you would blow their minds. Jets, airports, taxis, hotels, a/c, ice machines, TV, wireless Web access, cell phones… except for the Transporter (damn it), we’ve got Star Trek beat.
Sure, it’s exhausting, and people are rude, and the TSA is staffed with morons following moronic rules. (We’re still the only country required to remove our shoes to get through security. I hate the politicians who like to keep people’s fear buttons tweaked, just so they can stay in power…)
But you’re going somewhere new. Or at least different than your home digs.
All sorts of new stuff could happen.
Over my career, the most exciting opportunities and advancements and “Eureka” moments… came while travelling.
No guarantee you’ll have a good time, of course.
But “adventure” isn’t necessarily about having a good time.
It’s about engaging the world, and testing your wits in new environments.
I try never to forget that. Cuz it’s so easy to get irritated, and moody, and bored when you’re sitting in an airport waiting for delays to resolve, or negotiating some disaster or other like lost luggage or lost reservations or just being lost. (I almost took the wrong plane, once. Before the current double-checking obsession, of course. The stewardess — that’s how long ago this was — mentioned the city the plane was headed, which wasn’t where I wanted to go, and I scrambled out the door just before they got the door closed. Sometimes, I wonder how different my life would be today if I’d stayed on that plane…)
Anyway, I’m off.
I’ll try to report here from the road, if anything interesting is going on.
Joke. I’m joking.
I expect the adventure of a lifetime to unfold over the next week, unpredicted and without warning…