Traveling Home

Here is our third blog posting in our series from the finalists from the GBTA Ladders Program.

Every few weeks, I find myself boarding an airplane.  Like so many of you, I’m sure, it’s a ritual of sorts.  You’ve done it so many times…arriving at the airport, parking your car, navigating the shortest TSA lines, making your way to the gate and onto the plane…that I doubt you give it much thought.  Those flights are usually early in the morning or late at night and those business trips are something most of can’t live without.

I think a lot about trips.  I run sales and marketing for a product called TripCase.  In fact, we refer to our product as the place where trips live.  The trip we take when we board an airplane and soar across the country or world is habit-forming and somewhat addictive.   As frequent business travelers, we love to travel, to plan our next trip and navigate the airline frequent flyer programs.  It’s the reason so many of us have been in the travel business for so many years.  Just imagine being tethered to a desk…escaping only for an annual family vacation? Aghhh! 

I was asked to write this blog about anything I’d like.  The timing was ironic.  I had just returned from a Sabre airline conference in Vancouver and it was my first time visiting that beautiful city.  The conference was a good one, but upon returning to Texas where I live, I found out my grandmother had passed away.  She was a wonderful woman who lived a very long life.  Her passing was expected, as her health had deteriorated over the last several years. 

As a result, I found myself this week planning a trip for which there was no airplane, no meetings, no excursions, no colleagues, and no agenda other than to celebrate the life of someone my family dearly loved.  I was traveling home, to a place that I grew up.  I was slowing down for two days and taking a trip for which there was no airplane and no routine.

As a business traveler, I feel like I’m always in a rush.  I’m hurrying to the gate, to the meeting, to get home, to beat traffic and to see my children before they go to bed.  Often when I board a plane, I don’t so much as glance at the people around me.  I don’t know whether they are going home, going away or coming back to a place they called home or haven’t seen in years.  This self-imposed sense of urgency is what makes business travel stressful, at least for me.  It’s why I suspect people blow up at the flight attendants or anyone else that stands in front of them and the destination for which they are headed. 

All the data I’ve seen indicates that the very definition of a business trip is changing.  The lines are blurring.  No business trip is strictly business and vacations are often interrupted with work.  So this past trip, full of family and people I hadn’t seen in years, was an opportunity to reflect on the way I travel for business.  I’m going to slow down a bit on my next business trip and I’d encourage you to do the same.  Arrive at the airport early, don’t sweat the traffic, see something you’ve never seen, try a restaurant that you’ve been recommended, and speak to the people around you.  Remember that trips are business…but travel is personal.  In short, love not only the trips you take, but the journey you’ve been given.

Will Pinnell is the Director of Mobile at Sabre.