I was on a business trip in the late 90’s. At that point of my leadership climb, I was a road warrior racking up the miles. I still bought into the notion that more was better and it wasn’t uncommon for me to visit two cities a week. I remember the exact moment the sexiness of travel passed. I had been on a blitz of travel and I woke in the middle of the night to get a drink of water – for the life of me I couldn’t remember what city I was in?? I sat up, turned on the light, and opened the nightstand drawer to look at the phone book. Yup…it was that long ago. I was in Portland, Oregon.
It wasn’t the wine, the beer, or heartburn from the amazing food they serve in the city I now call home. Back then…it simply wasn’t home. And home was where I wanted to be.
Business travel is a necessary evil. And as much as I love adventure and meeting people – I love home more. I’ve since learned that I miss the things that create the feelings home gives me. The little things that connect me to happiness.
I say “yes” only to trips that advance the story I’m narrating for my journey. So when that box is checked, these five things always make it into my suitcase to try and fill the void I leave behind:
- A “Dad 2.0” Book
If I’m going to be away from my kids, I read something on my trip that helps me return as a better Dad. If I can’t give them that time the least I can do is give them progress.
- Travel Sized Tabasco
Makes even airplane food taste better!
- Workout Clothes
I want to ski at 75. I’m also human: I’m going to have the dessert and the vino. The easy choice is to let the routine slide and leave the gear at home.
- My Gratitude Journal
This is a must have skill for leadership and I need the perspective even more when I’m away from home.
- My Stationary
I write a short letter or thank you note to someone in my life. The surprise and the response always makes me beam.
What do your five things have in common? Mine are purpose and happiness – like you, I want my story to matter. Students of struggle know they have more control than we realize.
Choose your impact,