The Home Stretch
I’ve always said that the lessons learned through travel are different from the ones you learn at home. As we enter the home stretch on our epic East Coast tour, I thought I’d share a few.
Let it go.
When you travel, you’re at the mercy of others. Flight delayed? Let it go. Rental car flashes a warning light? Let it go. Completely fogged in after driving five hours out of your way to a national park? Let it go. Traffic on the expressway? Getting upset isn’t going to part the clog of cars from the highway construction. Let it go, let it go.
You can’t fix everything.
This is a hard one. Personally and professionally, it’s my role to stay calm and make shit happen. The Assistant says I’m really good at staying calm and getting stuff done in a crisis, but that doesn’t make it easy. I’m slowly learning that not being able to fix it doesn’t mean I’m not doing the right thing.
Make time for friends and colleagues.
On this trip, I did my usual meetups with colleagues. But I also did something different and made time for friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in 25 years. I couldn’t have done that on my usual quick-turnaround trips where we only see family. I’m really glad that we made the time for that. Plus, these friends are from all walks of life, different professions and interests. It was great to get some cross-pollination of ideas and experiences.
The food in your destination is not the same as the food at home. Eat it. Don’t let that Facebook “friend” shame you for that pretzel in Philly or that really good slice of pizza in Boston. Food is part of the joy of travel, and you’re not going to experience that by eating nothing but grilled chicken and asparagus in 12 states. Have that ice cream cone in Cooperstown. Eat that to-die-for chocolate almond croissant in Providence. Enjoy all the pretzels in Philly.
I’ve been to a lot of cities around the country, and a few international. When someone asks me what they should do in that city, I’m usually at a loss. I don’t often go to museums or sites. I’m much more inclined to walk the city and just get a feel for the place. A few years ago, I did 17 miles of walking in Barcelona. Yes, I saw Sagrada Familia, but I was much more interested in the Boqueria and the little shops I found as I wandered through the streets. I may not have had a lot of time for exploring, but I felt like I saw the city.
Give up on exercise.
Yeah, I know most hotels have gyms. Seriously, who has time for that? I’m not dragging the kid to some dismal basement to watch 24-hour news while I log hours on a treadmill. Travel means getting out there and walking. In spite of the long car rides between destinations, we still managed to easily pass the 10,000 step mark most days, and came close to 30,000 on a few occasions. No, it’s not marathon training, but it’s not sitting on your butt, either. Get out. Do. Enjoy.
What has travel taught you?