Monday evening brought another blast from the past back into my life – business travel. It hasn’t been anything too drastic, just a quick 3 day trip to Chicago for the rollout of a new strategy for selling within the line of business within which I work for my company. The roll out/education sessions started at noon today and I contemplated flying into Chicago this morning, but we were instructed to fly Monday so I did.
Leaving Denver at 9:48PM I arrived at O’Hare a few minutes before 1:00AM. Thankfully the flight was on time and the evening didn’t drag out any further as it was 1:30AM by the time I reached the hotel.
The whole trip brought many thoughts into my mind that I haven’t thought about in a long time. It caused me to take a quick gander down memory lane and think through the many years in which I spent the majority of my time traveling. The funny thing is that since the beginning of 2006 I have only taken about 10 or so trips for business. How different that is from the days in which I used to travel 47 weeks per year?
One of the memories that came streaming back into my head was from when I used to travel from Denver to Philadelphia back in 1997. I distinctly remember sitting on a bus going to the Hertz car rental center and observing the people on the bus around me. At the time I was only 31 years old and I was probably one of the youngest people on the bus. There were numerous “road warriors” on this bus – you could just tell by the looks of them that their lives were lived on the road. I was struck by one particularly thread worn gentleman who looked to be in his mid-fifties or so. Looking at him I was determined that there was no way in this world I was going to be doing the same kind of traveling when I was in my mid-fifties. The toll that this kind of continuous travel takes upon your body and your life is so high. There is no way I wanted to put myself through that kind of life. I don’t want my life to be so focused on work that I it becomes dominated by travel. That was my life for a long time – from 1988 to 2006 and there is a lot that I missed out on in life. I won’t do that again.
I do feel that I have reached a point where that kind of traveling life is not going to be my future. Without a doubt there will probably always be the need for me to travel for work infrequently. Given what I do there seems to be no way in this world that I can avoid some kind of travel. But it is not going to be my life going forward. The people in my life at home are too important to me to forever continue to be on the road.
This last statement might cause some pause. It doesn’t mean that I thought less of the people in my life when I used to travel continuously. No – it just meant that I didn’t know enough about life. During 2006 – 2008 I learned a lot of lessons. One of those lessons is that you never know what life is going to throw at you and who you might lose when. These lessons have caused me to never take those in my life for granted anymore. You never know when illness and death are going to strike.
For this business trip I am staying in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg. Back in the year 2000, I spent a lot of time working in another suburb – Rolling Meadows that is very close to Schaumburg. While I was in the cab coming from the airport to the hotel on Monday night, we traveled through a lot of familiar territory. What I found so remarkable about all this is that most of the buildings look the exact same as they did back in 2000. However, in most cases the names of the companies on the buildings are so radically different. The amount of change in the companies that are now established here is pretty amazing. Change in the ranks of corporations is a continuous thing I suppose. But it was so apparent how many old companies have fallen by the wayside and have been replaced by others. When I worked in Rolling Meadows back in 2000 the clients who I worked for were companies like 3Com, Palm and US Robotics. Now none of these companies exist! They have each been swallowed up and digested by other companies – in many cases even their product lines have been killed off. I guess change is inevitable and will come whether we like it or not.
Though I am not at home from what I have heard the work on the kitchen is proceeding at a good pace. Today the cabinets were being installed and with any luck the template for the granite counter tops will be created tomorrow. All this means that I need to get busy when I get home buying my appliances and selecting the rest of the required material to finish off the kitchen and family room. The key couple of things that I have yet to select are the rock for the fireplace and the bottom of the eating area, the color of the paint for the walls, tile for the backsplash and decorative lights. I really need to get all this selection wrapped up in advance of our summer vacation.
I am very tired tonight so I am going to call it quits at this point and do a little bit of reading before I go to sleep. Tomorrow afternoon I fly home and then get started on activities for a busy Friday and weekend. My college roommate Allen is coming into town on Thursday, so it will be good to spend some time catching up with him. Hopefully with any luck we will be heading to the mountains for at least part of the weekend. It would be the first time I have taken Lisa to our condo, so it should be a lot of fun.
With that I will say good night!
Thanks and peace to all! ~J.