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Lessons Of A Road Warrior

December 19, 2014

It’s just like riding a bike, right? If you get really good at something and then you don’t do it for a while, it comes right back, right? In the grand scheme of my trip it was a minor thing. But, I forgot my neck pillow.

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And I shouldn’t be such a wimp about it. After all, no one else in my row had a neck pillow! My inner observer pointed out,

Obviously they forgot there’s too!

One of the first things I learned when I was doing lots of traveling was that packing was my least favorite part. And unless I made a list I was going to forget stuff.

So, I didn’t make a list, I just went out and bought more stuff.

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This is my traveling kit. It all fits in that black bag. The nice thing about buying a second set of gear was that I now only had to remember one thing instead of of a dozen. If you’ve ever arrived at the hotel only to realize you forgot your shampoo, chance are you are going to your meeting tomorrow smelling like whatever was cheapest when the shampoo sales guy met with the general manager. Of course it hasn’t totally eliminated the need for remembering. Now, I have to remember to refill the toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo. But, at least if I forgot those things one day, I typically can try to remember the next day or the day after that.

Do you want me to throw away that empty bottle?

No, that’s a very expensive bottle!

It looks like a normal plastic water bottle. We have dozens of those go through the TSA checkpoint everyday. What makes that one so special?

This water bottle is worth well over a $100 dollars.

Really?

Yes. It’s worth $2 every time I fill it past security.

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I’ve become a great fan of drinking water. As I mentioned when I talked about How I Lost 30 Pounds And Why You Can’t, I’ve pretty much replaced drinking soda with drinking water.

It’s made ordering dinner very easy. Since I don’t drink alcohol I always know they’ll have my preferred drink. And by taking my own bottle of water on a flight, I don’t have to wait for the flight attendants to come through and ask me what I’d like to drink. I did have to get used to drinking it room temperature, but I’ve never really been someone who needed a lot of ice for my drinks.

Except for one time.

I was in China to adopt my son. We went to a really nice Chinese restraunt. I ordered a Coke.

Do you want Ice?

Drinking tap water in 3rd world countries is a risky proposition. And I didn’t want to be that American who needed his drink ice cold.

No, I’ll be fine without ice.

I don’t know where they were storing that can of Coke, but I think it might have been next to the oven. Or perhaps in direct sunlight. The can was hot to the touch. Not wanting to embarrass my hosts, I drank it anyway, but it wasn’t easy.

The final road warrior lesson has to do more with attitude than actions. I’ve travelled a lot. I’ve travelled all over the world for business and adoptions. I’ve travelled by plane, boat, car, bus and train in the United States. I prepare well and then attempt to simply “be” in the moment when I travel.

During a trip to Haiti to adopt a sibling group we missed our flight. Haiti is an interesting place. Like a lot of Carribean or South American locations, time is a relative thing. A 9:00 AM appointment means, “We’ll see you sometime in the morning. . .and if we don’t, we’ll see you in the afternoon. . .but maybe you’ll have to come back tomorrow.” As Americans we are used to a 9:00 AM appointment time meaning, “That’s my time, and you as the person I’m meeting with need to give it to me.” That totally doesn’t work in Haiti.

We ended up at the airport with less time to get through a complicated exit process than we wanted. When you fly out of Port au-Prince you can go to Miami or you can go to New York. That’s literally the only two destinations. And there is a single queue. We got in line and inched forward watching the clock anxiously. Finally, they called for the guy in front of us. We were next. We were going to make it.

No more Miami flights. We are now processing passengers for the New York flight.

What?

Haiti. We could see the plane on the runway, but we weren’t getting on it. In fact, we weren’t going anywhere today. Booking our tickets had been a huge struggle since I had flown directly from North Dakota, my lovely wife, daughter and and one of our boys had flown from Utah. Of course, we all wanted to return on the same plane.

The airline representative spent over an hour rebooking our tickets. We had to call the orphanage we were adopting from and have them send our driver back to the airport. We then had to book another night in a hotel. Not to mention try to contact the people watching our kids at home that we would be delayed a day. And I had to tell my boss.

All because we were one person too late in line. Why do I tell you this story? Because, we got to decide how we were going to react. We really had no control over the circumstances. We could have chosen to be upset or annoyed. But, maybe some of the Haitian attitude had rubbed off on us. We enjoyed the chance for one more night in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. We were going to be there anyway, we might as well enjoy it. We were saddened years later when the earthquake hit Port ah-Prince to see pictures of the hotel we stayed in that last night completely destroyed.

Life is short. Plan as well as you can and then take what comes. You’ll enjoy your travels a lot more.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

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