Thoughts from a frequent traveller…

I have not counted exactly yet, but I think I must be on my plane number 150 this year, especially if we count as well the Eurostar trips to London, which are like planes but on rails, for the sake of this discussion.

I am writing this post on a prolific 11.45 hours long trip from London to Mexico City, premium economy, have left this morning 10am from Brussels, then to London by plane, then stayed 3 hours inside the plane because of a technical problem they discovered only after everyone was in.

It will be a 18 hours long trip all together, with 7 hours jetlag, arriving in Mexico 4am Brussels time and not sure I will be able to sleep unless I keep writing during the whole trip now 🙂

I will add to this that I was in Geneva for the long weekend (until yesterday) with the kids and a flu and last week I did Brussels, London and Madrid before taking my flu to Geneva. I am supposed to come back in 5 days, but I will try to shorten and enjoy a weekend home, basically some “me” time (which I prefer to spend in my place).

I have been doing this for the past 7 years roughly, with different styles and support around me (now for example I am reimbursing my own expenses as the company I own pays for it).

Let me give you a couple of perspectives that I am sure will resonate with my globetrotter friends and maybe will inspire some thought to the less lounge-devoted folks.

  • Travelling all the time – no matter if you flight First Class or Ryanair – sucks. No matter if you lie down or if you are seated for 12 hours, your body will send the bill with sleepless nights, if you are not lucky enough to get used to it. Not to mention you need some discipline to save your body from Junk and Lounge food, free alcohol and snacks all over the places
  • Not anybody can travel all the time. If you are stressed by nature, thrive for planning, unable to work on the move and able to live most of the time with far less options that the average human being, travel A LOT will kill you. If your instinct would tell you to be at the airport 3 hours before each flight, if you are unable to carry hand baggage only even for a five days trip (therefore wait at the baggage delivery once arrived) or if it takes 90 minutes to choose a place to stay because you want 36 criteria to be met, your travel life will be hell (and sad, endless, utterly unproductive)
  • Especially if you live alone, travelling all the time makes the scheduling of a two dates appointment with your dentist more stressful than a trip to Guatemala to someone who has never taken an intercontinental flight. You know what is one of my biggest logistic issues? Being home the right days to put down the garbage bags. Took two fines already. Now my PA does it, as well as buying that bulb for the living room that ceased to function one month ago
  • If you can’t cope with working literally EVERYWHERE and/or you are not a bit of a geek, travel all the time is a nightmare. And utterly expensive.

You have to be able to do payments, conference calls (managing multi time zones) scan, fax, send international courier get a local data plan, spend local money, retrieve data and information about your work from everywhere and at all time. You are not obliged to, but if you do it only from the quietness of your hotel room, you will NEVER sleep (or you will be just unproductive).

  • Travelling all the time means having a real hard time in disconnecting (and truly rest), not because you don’t want to, but because its very difficult to come off the everything everywhere anytime mind-set.
  • With very few exceptions (me being one of them luckily), the social life of a real frequent traveller sucks. It sucks not because it does not exist, but most of the times because you DON’T CHOOSE. You are stuck in work dinners, or best-case scenario visiting alone a place you have never been (I don’t do this, personally). Actually most of the time you opt for saving your energy for your next trip.
  • Unless you have unlimited budget, you need to acquire a bit of experience if you want to balance comfort, price and effectiveness in your frequent travels. There is no PA who can help you (again, unless you don’t care about how much money you spend in this case a 10 yo kid can organise any trip as long as he knows the basic geography 🙂

When you plan to change 4 countries in the same week, a detail in the logistic can optimise what really, psychologically, kills most of the frequent travellers : the in between time. Nothing like 2 hours in the US Immigration after a long flight, or an unexpected 3 hours delay in a connection in a place with (or with a ticket without) lounge access, looking for the only plug in the whole gate because your phone is down and you can’t even work.

There is more, I will invite my travellers friend to contribute, will be fun to see their reactions, will tag a few so they can contribute.

DF-SkyLanding
DF sky landing… Just at the end of this epic trip…

 

Stay tuned

Matteo

4 thoughts to “Thoughts from a frequent traveller…”

  1. You beat me to it. Have been thinking about doing this story of article for weeks, even down to the detail where I was prepared to rate my airport experiences based on the average length of immigration lines and the quality and cleanliness of men’s restrooms.

    It is a world very few people understand truly the way we do. It goes from periods of extremely glamorous to extremely frustrating and time consuming.

    At the end of the day, my big concern today is that as a global citizen my carbon footprint is out of control.

    1. One day Brett we should do something about this, i am certain the ultimate travel startup has yet to be created.
      proof of this is that, me not having the luxury of ‘endless travel budget’ as is not paid by the customer (whoever it is) I cannot devote this task to my PA. Only someone who is as travelled as myself could book trips for me in a not suicidal way 🙂
      thanks for taking the time buddy

      M

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