David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
NOT Traveling Blog, 3rd Week Of April 2021
David Danto’s ongoing list of disjointed and occasionally random observations and thoughts as we wait-out the pandemic – mostly NOT traveling like we used to.
I started writing these blogs under the title of “Not Traveling” in the first week of March 2020. (It looks like I missed the official one year anniversary – sorry.) My next real trip (TSA, airplane, rental car, hotel, etc.) will be in May, so it looks like I need to wind-down the blogs under this title within about a month. I thought it would be a good idea to take a step back and reflect upon what I experienced and learned over this last year.
My first thoughts are toward being thankful. Yes, it was a difficult and stressful period of my and my family’s life. As hard as everything was I’m fully aware of how lucky we all were. We didn’t get sick, lose our jobs or lose our home. We had a warm and safe place to live and plenty to eat. Just those things alone gave us a much better experience than many, many less fortunate individuals. Being thankful for the daily blessings is something I’ll never grow tired of.
After that, I need to admit that the detox from traveling was likely a very good thing. Yes, I’m better than most at navigating the difficulties that business travel throws at us, but ultimately that’s not really worth the price of a cup of coffee when you look at it from the perspective of life’s truly important things. I am a person, NOT just a million-miler / diamond-platinum-whatever elite traveler. I didn’t make the next level of my programs nor did I requalify for the ones I had. Big whoop. With all the greed and take-aways the airlines and hospitality firms had been throwing at us for years it was very good to stop seeing myself through their lens. I’m off the miles and points bandwagon, and can no longer be tempted nor influenced by the crumbs the “sky-gods” may choose to sprinkle in my direction. My credit cards are no longer mileage affinity cards and I no longer pay exorbitant prices for airport club membership. Instead of blindly following the old tried and true path for frequent travelers, this one year break has allowed me to see that what the travel industry offers nowadays are only hollow shells of what they used to offer, and (with apologies for mixing metaphors) I’m done with the shell game.
Next, I do need to take a victory lap regarding my professional advice over the years. No one – myself included – wanted this horrific pandemic to happen. But in 2014 I did warn people and firms that a pandemic would come that would force everyone to work remotely, and separately that year I explained why our businesses, employees and culture would radically change when people realized the power of remote and hybrid working. Both of those predictions turned-out to be completely on-target. As we hopefully approach the end of the pandemic there will of course be plenty of people that want things to go back to the old normal. Articles have been written that pontificate about the loss of opportunities for people not in a traditional office, and about how big firms will demand everyone come back to the office. IGNORE THEM ALL – they are all missing the point. The people who claim there is a “loss” from not working every day in an office are merely showing their own biases. That first article above about the loss of opportunities is from an architectural firm that worries about losing business as offices become smaller and less relevant. And any stodgy firms that demand a return to the old ways that they want to cling to – well, just let them. I’m in the camp of the CEO that recently stated he ‘can't wait for companies to try to call all their employees back to a traditional office.’ He loves how easy it will be to poach their best people who are disappointed with their employer's inability to realistically adapt to the present and future. Don’t for a second think that we’re going back to the way things were now that we’ve broken all the false stigmas about remote workers. They aren’t lazy and unproductive. They are in fact so productive they work themselves to the point of ‘fatigue.’ Once we can all safely travel again, work will take place wherever it needs to. Individual assignments will be done at home, group meetings and brainstorming will take place at smaller offices predominantly designed for just those social tasks, and traveling to clients and conferences will resume – again when needed. The horse-and-buggy thinking of what work used to be is never coming back.
In the last twelve months I’ve (usually) enjoyed being closer to my immediate family, managed multiple repairs and projects around the house, and dealt with some chronic health issues – all things I couldn’t have done if I had stayed on the business travel merry-go-round. I also heard from a couple of dozen of you – people who read my blogs and wanted to engage, ask questions, comment and/or help correct some of my mistakes. Thank you. That just reinforces how we are all members of many communities – be they obvious or not. I would never have chosen this path if offered it, but I made the best of a horrible situation. I sincerely hope you did as well. I also managed to write these blogs once a week instead of my prior pace of once every other week or so. As we emerge from this pandemic I suspect I’ll go back to traveling a little bit more and writing a little bit less frequently.
Also, for those that have been following the saga and are curious, I’m still waiting for my renewed passport……sigh………
As always, please feel free to write to me with comments or items I should add to a future Not Traveling blog (or if you just need someone to write to.) Stay safe, be well, hug those you’re sheltering with (but no one else) and do your best to stay positive. We’re going to be in this for a while longer.
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.
All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.
The Explanation for my Not Traveling blogs: In 2014 I was voted by USA Today readers as one of the top ten business travel bloggers in the USA. Now mind you, I turned out to be number ten on the list of ten, but I did make it on (with my thanks to all those who voted.) Now that we’re all stuck at home and not traveling, I had to think about what to do with my blogs. I could stop writing them entirely – waiting till we all get through the current COVID19 pandemic / crisis. I could wax nostalgic and/or complain about past trips. Or, I could focus all of my efforts on my day job – growing the use of collaboration technologies – especially in light of how many people are now forced to use those tools for the first time. In reflecting upon those choices, what I decided to do is compile an ongoing list of observations during the crisis. Some of these may amuse, some may inform, some may sadden and others may help. My goal will be for you to have seen something in a different light than you did before you stopped to read the blog. I was going to apologize for how disjointed these thoughts may seem when put together, but then it dawned on me that feeling disjointed is our new normal – at least for a little while.