David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
NOT Traveling Blog, 4th Week Of February 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.
As I write this I’m sitting at the table in my family room watching the first flakes of a predicted two day snowstorm start to fall. I’m looking out our large windows / sliding doors to the deck and still see some remnants of the snow from the last heavy storm that hit us just about two weeks ago. My first thought – I assume right along with most people – is I need to get away from here for a while, I’ve had enough. But of course – with the pandemic – I can’t.
February 2021 Snowmageddon in New Jersey
It got me to thinking about why we travel in the first place. Yes, sometimes people need to be places to support their companies / careers, but I don’t think that because we have to is the reason we tolerate all of the many indignities associated with business travel of this era. I believe that people have an inherent need to change scenery / socialize with friends and new people / and experience new and/or different things. We humans easily can get stir-crazy. It doesn’t matter if the journey is a walk to the local park or a flight halfway around the world – it is necessary for us to break-up the monotony. Interestingly, the fact that there are probably tens of thousands of people who would give all they have to experience what some of us are bored with is not a factor. (I’m not going to solve the problem of privilege in a weekly blog on a travel news site.) We all seem to want what we can’t have – that seems to be universal human nature.
As the snow falls I think about when I used to travel pre-pandemic. I realize that I haven’t rented a car in over a year. For someone that was in the rental firm’s highest tier for forever, that realization stunned me. And then my mind wandered to that topic too – status with travel companies. What does my super-whoopee-diamond/platinum/titanium status get me when I’m quarantining at home? Was it really all that important to begin with? I know it made my life on the road easier, but what did I have to sacrifice to achieve those perks? It’s probably a case of which side of the bathroom door you’re on. Being able to pick my own car and/or call a concierge hotline for help is much more important when I’m spending a third of my year on the road, not when I’m home watching it snow out the window.
As I’ve predicted in my blogs before, I believe that we’ll get back to some level of travel this year – probably by the end of the summer. With vaccinations creeping along and mitigation steps no longer out of the political vogue, we’re getting to that point slowly but surely. As I watch the deck furniture get covered in white again I wonder if my first trip to the airport in over a year will be an exciting and enjoyable experience for me, or if my first experience with the TSA will be the slap in the face I needed to remember how awful travel is nowadays. I suspect that it will be some combination of both.
One of the things I’m also thinking about during this quarantine is the concept of “normal.” We’re all waiting for things to get back to normal, but I’m 100% convinced that things will never again be the same as before the pandemic. Normal will have changed for good. Here are just some of the questions I have:
· Will I ever shake-hands again as I meet someone?
· Will I ever hug friends again?
· Will I ever eat at a buffet again?
· Will I ever take a day trip to an office again to meet someone that I can do over video instead?
· Will I ever lick my fingers again to help me separate papers or open plastic bags?
· Will I ever be anywhere without a small bottle of hand sanitizer again?
· Will I ever take a cruise on a ship again?
That last one isn’t even in question. You could never pay me enough to entice me to get on a floating petri-dish again. What “will I ever” questions are you grappling with nowadays? Send me a note with them and I’ll compile and post a bigger list.
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.