Business Travel

Business travel: turning it around

I’m writing this mid-way through my flight to Barcelona. Sounds great, right? Well, I’m going there for work, not holidays. And there’s a (very vocal) baby screaming its little lungs up in the row behind me.

But yes, it’s excellent. I mean, it’s Barcelona – right?

Hmmm…

I regularly make the point that I don’t have to smash rocks on the side of the road for a living. So it can sound a little entitled and whiney when I complain about work. And I’m not exactly complaining, but I am definitely reflecting on how I’ve managed to find myself travelling so much recently and what that means for me.

For a start, my trips to Warrington (no offence, Warrington, but you’re no Barcelona) mean I have to stay in a fairly rancid hotel. Sleep is super important to me and this cold, noisy and generally badly organised hotel means I don’t get as much as I’d like.

The long train journeys to and from Warrington can be a challenge to. As can airport security and the delays and hassle associated with navigating an airport in London. Nights away from home aren’t great either, no matter how nice the hotel.

All that said, I gave myself a kick up the backside earlier this afternoon. Last night, I spent two and half hours sitting opposite a girl with the worst body odour I’ve ever encountered. Ever time she shifted in her seat, I was wafted with an wave of pungent air.

This afternoon, I was in the British Airways First Class lounge at Gatwick Airport – frequent flying is worthless if it doesn’t get you some perks! – when I realised that, while I’m not exactly ecstatic about going to Barcelona on my birthday, it could be a lot worse.

At this point, I took a sip of my champagne – so you get the general picture.

Given my job and my day to day focus, I’m always trying to be more mindful and self-aware. Physician, heal thyself, right? And lately, my ‘poor me’ voice has been very loud and persistent. Meanwhile, my ‘oh my god, you’ve made it’ voice has been all but silent.

Let’s take a moment to count the ways I’ve got it made:

  • I’m doing the job of my dreams, coaching people to success and being the kind of psychologist I’ve always wanted to be.
  • My job takes me to interesting and sometimes beautiful places.
  • I’m regularly intellectually stretched and challenged – rarely bored.
  • I’m running my own business, with no boss to make my life a misery.
  • The vast majority of people I work with are marvellous and really lovely.

Yes, work is work. And there are times when I collapse into a hotel bed barely knowing what city I’m in. I know I definitely wake up that way on a regular basis. But overall, my working life is what I’ve been aiming for. And it’s important that I remember it and not let the ‘poor me’ voice take over this tele-conference in my brain.

So I’m making a conscious effort to turn the conversation around and recognise that I’m privileged to get to do so much travel – it’s one of my hobbies, after all – and do such interesting thing.

That said, I need to make sure I don’t burn all the candles at every end. So, time for another champagne I think!

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