Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 3, Issue 26;   June 25, 2003: When You Travel Alone

When You Travel Alone

by

Many of us travel as a part of our jobs, and some of us spend a fair amount of that time traveling solo. Here are some tips for enlivening that time alone while you're traveling for work.

As her voice grew louder, and her tone more stern, the gate agent got my attention. I was sitting in a freshly emptied airport departure lounge while on layover, listening to her deal with a travel-challenged passenger.

"This isn't your flight. You're two hours early. Come back later," she exasperated.

An airport ticket counterThe passenger said something I couldn't hear, and the gate agent said, loudly, "No, you're in a different time zone now. Come back later."

I turned, and saw the passenger pick up her bag and leave. So I caught the agent's attention and said, "Can you tell me what year it is?"

Anger came to her face. She stepped out from behind the counter, walked rapidly towards me and as her grimace turned to a smile, she playfully slapped my shoulder.

"You…"

"Gotcha," I said.

"You did! But it's my first day back from vacation…"

Fun is very important, especially at airports. When we travel for work, feelings of loneliness can make trips burdensome. Finding fun, amusement, or connection can help. Here are some ideas.

Fun is very important,
especially at airports
Do something unusual
Whether it's an architecture tour or a nap, planning ahead helps. But sometimes only the locals know the real gems. Get suggestions from hotel staff — and not just the concierge.
Bring portable activities
Many bring reading, but consider alternatives: puzzle books, a harmonica, knitting, even your bills or taxes.
Find group activities
Perhaps an organization you belong to has a chapter at your destination. Attend a meeting. Check out houses of worship — they might have a social event.
Friends and colleagues
Contact people you know who live near your destination, or who might be there when you are. Find out if they know anyone else there. Expand your network and have fun doing it.
Let go of the home office
Learn how not to fret about what's happening back there. Delegate authority — really. Limit contact with the people in charge while you're away.
Stay in touch with loved ones
Call home often. Tell them you miss them and feel the love. If you're away for a while, consider a videoconference with your family. Use the company conference facility or a public facility such as an incubator.
Live well
To stay in top condition, treat yourself right. Don't skimp on lodgings, especially if you're away for a while. Find out in advance about exercise facilities.
Eat right for you
Restaurants tend to offer food that's memorable, which means it's often very different from your normal fare. Instead, keep to your usual diet as much as possible.
Bring small things from home
Bring your slippers or a favorite T-shirt for relaxing. Read your hometown paper or listen to hometown radio on line.

Maybe you're reading this on a trip. What can you do differently right now? Go to top Top  Next issue: Tornado Warning  Next Issue

Rick BrennerThe article you've been reading is an archived issue of Point Lookout, my weekly newsletter. I've been publishing it since January, 2001, free to all subscribers, over the Web, and via RSS. You can help keep it free by donating either as an individual or as an organization. You'll receive in return my sincere thanks — and the comfort of knowing that you've helped to propagate insights and perspectives that can help make our workplaces a little more human-friendly. More

Your comments are welcome

Would you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenYBNimqEXIHcEBRyPner@ChacdupFpbJZjzOkXmYfoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.

About Point Lookout

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.

Point Lookout is a free weekly email newsletter. Browse the archive of past issues. Subscribe for free.

Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.

Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.

Related articles

More articles on Emotions at Work:

U.S. Budget DeficitsThe Fallacy of the False Cause
Although we sometimes make decisions with incomplete information, we do the best we can, given what we know. Sometimes, we make wrong decisions not because we have incomplete information, but because we make mistakes in how we reason about the information we do have.
The Bill of RightsEthical Influence: I
Influencing others can be difficult. Even more difficult is defining a set of approaches to influencing that almost all of us consider ethical. Here's a framework that makes a good starting point.
RaspberriesHuman Limitations and Meeting Agendas
Recent research has discovered a class of human limitations that constrain our ability to exert self-control and to make wise decisions. Accounting for these effects when we construct agendas can make meetings more productive and save us from ourselves.
A Carrick MatChanging Blaming Cultures
Culture change in organizations is always challenging, but changing a blaming culture presents special difficulties. Here are three reasons why.
Tennis players shake hands after their matchPreventing Toxic Conflict: II
Establishing norms for respectful behavior is perhaps the most effective way to reduce the incidence of toxic conflict at work. When we all understand and subscribe to a particular way of treating each other, we can all help prevent trouble.

See also Emotions at Work for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York CityComing August 23: Look Where You Aren't Looking
Being blindsided by an adverse event could indicate the event's sudden, unexpected development. It can also indicate a failure to anticipate what could have been reasonably anticipated. How can we improve our ability to prepare for adverse events? Available here and by RSS on August 23.
"The Thinker," by Auguste RodinAnd on August 30: They Just Don't Understand
When we cannot resolve an issue in open debate, we sometimes try to explain the obstinacy of others. The explanations we favor can tell us more about ourselves than they do about others. Available here and by RSS on August 30.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenLsseRabeiZwoyEixner@ChacGXoBURLVAWxadiBWoCanyon.com or (617) 491-6289, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.

Get the ebook!

Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:

Reprinting this article

Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info

Public seminars

The Race to the South Pole: Ten Lessons for Project Managers
On 14The Race to the Pole: Ten Lessons for Project Managers December 1911, four men led by Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished. As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough, but to organizational leaders, business analysts, project sponsors, and project managers, the story is fascinating. Lessons abound. Read more about this program. Here are some dates for this program:

Creating High Performance Virtual Teams
Many Creating High Performance Virtual Teamspeople experience virtual teams as awkward, slow, and sometimes frustrating. Even when most team members hail from the same nation or culture, and even when they all speak the same language, geographic dispersion or the presence of employees from multiple enterprises is often enough to exclude all possibility of high performance. The problem is that we lead, manage, and support virtual teams in ways that are too much like the way we lead, manage, and support co-located teams. In this program, Rick Brenner shows you how to change your approach to leading, managing, and supporting virtual teams to achieve high performance using Simons' Four Spans model of high performance. Read more about this program. Here's a date for this program:

The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
Many The Power Affect: How We Express Personal Powerpeople who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.

Follow Rick

Send email or subscribe to one of my newsletters Follow me at LinkedIn Follow me at Twitter, or share a tweet Follow me at Google+ or share a post Subscribe to RSS feeds Subscribe to RSS feeds
The message of Point Lookout is unique. Help get the message out. Please donate to help keep Point Lookout available for free to everyone.
21st Century Business TravelAre your business trips long chains of stressful misadventures? Have you ever wondered if there's a better way to get from here to there relaxed and refreshed? First class travel is one alternative, but you can do almost as well (without the high costs) if you know the tricks of the masters of 21st-century e-enabled business travel…
52 Tips for Leaders of Project-Oriented OrganizationsAre your project teams plagued by turnover, burnout, and high defect rates? Turn your culture around.
Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunBad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? Learn what we can do when we love the work but not the job.
Reader Comments About My Newsletter
A sampling:
  • Your stuff is brilliant! Thank you!
  • You and Scott Adams both secretly work here, right?
  • I really enjoy my weekly newsletters. I appreciate the quick read.
  • A sort of Dr. Phil for Management!
  • …extremely accurate, inspiring and applicable to day-to-day … invaluable.
  • More
101 Tips for Managing ConflictFed up with tense, explosive meetings? Are you the target of a bully? Learn how to make peace with conflict.
Ebooks, booklets and tip books on project management, conflict, writing email, effective meetings and more.
Comprehensive collection of all e-books and e-bookletsSave a bundle and even more important save time! Order the Combo Package and download all ebooks and tips books at once.