Things I’ve learned from traveling for work every few months for the past few years:
– How to pack five different businesswear outfits into one small suitcase, usually late the night before departure.
– How to develop a routine for the security line, totally ready to step through the metal detector in seconds flat – shoes off, sweater off, laptop out, liquids out
– How to semi-successfully navigate cities & states with crazy traffic laws (see: left turns in Jersey, or lack thereof) in unfamiliar rental cars
– How to make small talk with coworkers I barely know
– How to make small talk with clients I don’t know at all
– How to take a bottle cap off a beer in a hotel room when you don’t have a bottle opener, metal forks, or a lighter
– How to sit alone at a hotel bar and make friends with the bartender
– How to sit alone at a nice restaurant and not feel like a big ol’ weirdo eating solo
– How to put together a semi-decent breakfast from a hotel continental offering
– How to fake it ’til you make it. That’s what it’s all about, in business travel and sometimes in my position at work in general. Three years ago, if you would’ve told me I’d be flying into an unfamiliar city, getting a rental car, navigating to the hotel, driving to the client site, and being in charge of business for a full week all by myself, I would’ve been positively terrified. But now it’s kind of like ehh, it’s just what I do. I didn’t jump into this all at once – there were many shorter trips with multiple coworkers leading up to this solo trend. Still, though, it’s at times intimidating and overwhelming, just difficult. Gotta do it, though. When I’m feeling insecure I just fake it. Fake the security and confidence and put-together-ness that I’m expected to have, and then eventually, those traits become real parts of me. It’s one of my favorite life strategies, to be honest!