David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
NOT Traveling Blog, 3rd Week Of October 2020
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.
OK, I’ve now given in to the inevitable and added the year to these blog file titles. I began writing these “not Traveling” blogs in March of this year. Back then I couldn’t even imagine that the pandemic would last a full year, much less go into the next. Because of that I titled the blogs using only the week and month they’d be published. Now, if I’m being honest with you and myself, I can’t imagine a scenario where we’re completely out of the woods before next summer – and that’s being optimistic. Thusly, the year is now in the title and the file name. I’m not sure if – when we reach this anniversary in March 2021 – we should celebrate it, or just weep.
Speaking of celebrations (smooth segue, right?) one of the things I miss doing during the pandemic is getting together with friends to celebrate special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. One of my industry friends is having a birthday this weekend, and I did some research to find services that would help his friends remotely honor and celebrate him. I found a couple of good ones I wanted to share with you. (FYI - I have no financial or any other relationship with either of these services.) The first is Kudoboard. It is a service that lets a user create an on-line space for friends and associates to leave photos, GIFs, comments, etc. for a special occasion. It is the on-line equivalent of passing around a card for everyone to sign – but adds pictures and videos to the mix. Creating one that ten people can sign is free, and to move that number to one hundred users it costs about six bucks (and there are additional levels as well.) The recipient can then watch it on line, watch it as a slide show, print it, or order a poster of it as a keepsake.
I’ll let you know how the recipient feels about the surprise board when he gets it this weekend, but I can’t imagine that it won’t be something special he will cherish for years to come. In many ways it’s even better than passing around a card, as with this one people can participate from around the globe, and the pictures shared will likely bring-back great memories.
The second service is called HipChip. We wanted to get our friend a gift for his birthday as well. We discussed ordering flowers, fruit arrangements, an Amazon gift card, a donation to a charity in his name, and many other ideas. Every one of them seemed to point toward me having to ‘be the bank,’ buying whatever it is myself and then collecting money from all the participants (PayPal, Venmo, check-is-in-the-mail, etc.) HipChip took all the banker’s chores out of the equation. I opened an account and set-up a gift card for my friend. All his other friends were then able to log in and give as much as they wanted toward this gift card. (We selected a Visa card so that he could disperse the money any way he wanted – for purchases, contributions, etc.)
Each person contributing is charged an extra dollar (to give ten dollars you’re charged $11.) Then, the Visa card we selected has a $10 fee as well. (It was only one of the choices of cards that we could have picked – I assume the cards for stores and restaurants don’t have the same fee.) Once the collection end-date I selected comes I log back in and initiate mailing the card to the recipient. After the initial set-up it really took all the pain out of all the logistics that I’d have needed to coordinate a gift remotely. (I was honestly surprised that on-line shopping services like Amazon didn’t offer a feature where groups could pitch-in to buy an e-gift card unless the recipient had registered for a list of things they want – like with a wedding registry.)
Changing the subject completely, I want to apologize to Las Vegas. Yes, I am getting all your emails about free rooms and the perks that go with them. I’d love to come – I really would – but I’m smart enough to wait till traveling doesn’t involve a significant risk of death. This same apology goes to Hawaii, The Bahamas, Europe and everywhere else I wish I could return to. I’ll be waiting till it’s safe again. I know you are hurting and that makes me sad – but not stupid. This apology does not extend to the cruise companies. If there were ever industries that needed to be burned to the ground and restarted in a much more safe and customer friendly model – the cruise lines go right along with the US airlines. One would have to be nuts to schedule and then go on a petri-dish cruise in the current environment. Perhaps we should set-up a Kudoboard to send our apologies to these locations, and our “thoughts and prayers” to the airlines and cruise companies.
UPDATE: About a week ago I posted a blog that discussed all the tasks and items I and my family are taking to prevent COVID19 exposure. (I admitted my precautions were likely ‘over the top’ compared to most.) Well, thanks to my reader Peter for writing and letting me know that he followed and liked the suggestions, and made an additional one, saying he uses this personal air purifier as well. Now I find that over the top for my tastes, but if one has to fly on an airplane it sure seems like money well spent. I notice they’re out of stock of the purifier unless you buy it in a bundle with goggles. Thanks Peter – great find!
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 long while.
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.