Beyond Travel: A Road Warrior’s Survival Guide!

by Health, Productivity, Travel

Business travel isn’t part of your job. It’s a lifestyle.™

During my second year in the field of business travel, we moved from Capital Hill to Raleigh, North Carolina. I glanced at my itinerary and realized that I didn’t need to arrive at the airport at 8:00am — my plane departed at 8:00am! It was 7:05am and we lived 12 minutes from the airport. In a panic, I jumped in the car, no joy for me in knowing that if I missed my flight because I was late, my company would make me pay the difference to reschedule the flight. I could only hope it was a day that the line through security was easy.

I drove much faster than was safe (and I knew this too) and later found out I cut off a friend of mine in traffic. I pulled into the parking garage and drove up and around and around, Level 2, then Level 3, at which point, seeing no spaces at all, I said out loud ‘screw it' and drove directly up to Level 5 and parked. Dragging my roller bag, I ran to the elevator and then waited until what seemed like my next birthday, for the doors to open. At Level 4 a guy stepped in and said smiling, “Where ya headed?” My blank stare caught him off guard. I had to actually reach into my bag and look at my itinerary to remember… I was going to San Diego. The cities had all become a blur.

As luck had it, I breezed through security and made it to the gate minutes before they shut the runway door. I had planned to stop and get my “breakfast of champions” — a Frappuccino and scone — on the way to the gate. Since I would have surely been late, I had nothing to eat before boarding my 4.5-hour flight. For the first half hour I kept looking down the aisle, willing the flight attendants to come by with my coveted Delta Biscoff cookies and something to drink. The smell of the cheese bagel from the guy next to me made me want to eat my own arm. Finally, an announcement came on that the turbulence was too great and they would have to delay service. When it did resume, it would only be drinks. The airline had not received their delivery of Biscoffs, and … someone on the plane was allergic to peanuts, so no peanuts.

By the time I got off the plane at almost 1:00pm EST, I felt like someone had taken a hammer to my head while there was a wild animal eating its way out of my stomach, and, of course, I was supposed to drive directly to work at a site visit with my manager. In that moment, I knew that if I was going to survive in this business, I had to get it together. My travel, my nutrition, my exercise, my sleep, and my work had to be very focused.. There could be no more Marcey-induced spontaneity if I was going to have any hope to not end up a fat, frazzled business traveler that looked ten years older than I was, and burned out after two years on the road.

My book, Hack the Mobile Lifestyle: 6 Steps to Work Well and Play More! was my first self-published book. It was an experiment to determine if there was a need for a book to explain how to be healthy and productive on the road. I’ve read books for the leisure traveler on how to have exotic vacations on a budget, for business travelers on how to get the most bang for your reward bucks, but never really found anything that addressed how to keep from gaining weight, losing sleep, getting a divorce, maintaining friendships and working 16-18 hours on a travel day. The feedback from the first book was positive enough that I knew people were hungry for this information.

That book was almost completely do-it-yourself. I self-published, had a friend edit and used Fiverr for formatting and cover design. Looking back at that book, I am a little embarrassed after reading my run-on sentences, 1000 uses of ‘so’ and more than a few grammar errors. But here’s the thing….a lot of people like the idea of being healthy, the idea of running a marathon, the idea of climbing the ladder or the idea of starting their own business, but they don’t take action to actually do those things. When I was discussing my book with a client and friend, she pointed out to me that I acted on a dream and desire. I didn’t just wish it or say ‘someday’. I realized that what I had done was exactly what I coach my clients to do. It may not be pretty, but I did it.

If I had decided to wait for the perfect opportunity, I wouldn’t have the business, clients or contracts I have now. I wouldn’t be able to hire professionals to help me market, edit and launch this new book. Almost everything sizeable that has come my way has been because I took action and wrote a book. Whatever first step you take could lead you to do something you wouldn't have dreamed of.

Beyond Travel: A Road Warrior’s Survival Guide is an even more comprehensive book on how to address health, productivity, safety and more. It’s written as much for the employers of business travelers as the travelers themselves. There will be some repeat information from the first book, especially in the productivity section, in addition to updated hacks because of better technology and science. What I’m most excited about for this new book is the bonus chapter filled with all the resources, references and links to the companies I talk about in the book. And discounts. Some very cool discounts. This online hidden bonus chapter allows for easy linking for readers with the paper copy book or who have e-readers that aren’t convenient to link from.

July 16 is Kindle launch day.

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You don't have to be the stereotype of the haggard, fat, tired business traveler.

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Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects