It has been a luxurious week in Los Angeles, but my time here is coming to a close. Over the past 6 months I have had to completely change the way I work. No more long weeks in my office, I have been away from it more than I have been here.
(Note: I started this post three weeks ago... back when I had a gorgeous week at home.)
I'm not as productive when I travel. This is because I have a highly optimized work style for a home office set up. I've had to change this. My office is now my beloved Brenthaven backpack (thank you @urbanverse and @busynessgirl). In this I carry 2 laptops, an ipad, an iphone, an itouch, a kindle, various headphones, a notebook, office supplies, business cards, and a myriad of necessary power cables, cords and power adapters (when I travel internationally).
Respecting the Introvert
Most people don't believe me when I say I'm introverted, and that's because people see me when I'm out in my extrovert character. You don't see me, like this past week, when I spend hours on end in my office, very quiet, talking to no-one, listening to music, typing away. It's not that I try to hide this part of me. It just by it's nature isn't seen except but a very few intimate people. I am a different person when I am around people.
So while traveling, I have had to change this. Let the introvert show a bit more. Not engage with people. Eat lunch at my desk. Listen to headphones. Not book every evening with events. Not book every traveling moment with meetings. And to give myself a break. To stay in my hotel room, order room service and spend quality time with myself.
Respecting the introvert in New York is especially hard because of so. many. people. It's exhausing just to go into the office. People everywhere, bumping into you, crammed like sardines into a train. I hate it. Which is why I come in late and work late. I just can't stand the onslaught of humanity.
Air travel hacks
I thought I was good at air travel, being the daughter of a flight attendant. Traveling 50-75% of my time has optimized this. I don't bother to pack light anymore. I check my bags and have a flight carry-on that includes includes
- my leather moccassins
- face mister and moisterizer (face and hand)
- noise-canceling headsets
- my iphone/itouch (to take pictures out the window)
- Window seat is a MUST
- Internet on domestic flights
- I drink a lot of (sparkling) water
I almost always make sure I get to the airport early. I don't like the stress of missing a flight. (That's the years of flying standby.) I try to make sure I eat good food. No junk food.
Making it fun / Keeping it stressless
I try to make it fun to travel. I hate the TSA - I find it degrading and non-effective. So I try to make it fun. I try to humanize people. Talk to them. Joke with them. Make myself (and maybe them) laugh. Taking pictures and Instagramming them.
I miss Los Angeles a lot when I travel. I love this city. What it represents. Who is here (my dog, the boyf, my car, the freeways). It's proximity to the desert. I miss my easy weekends in the desert. So I travel with a piece of it. I have a painting of a Joshua Tree that I bring with me. There are other memories of home I bring with me, my West Coast style. My coffee with cinnamon. I've been known to imagine NY skyscrapers as Joshua Trees and Mountain Ranges.
Sometimes I listen to Los Angeles' police radio. Often I'll catch early morning tweets by the LAFD. I always check in on the LA Times. And always there is Twitter and Instagram. These are important links to my city while I am gone.
Time Traveling as Therapy
I often think of the past. Moments I have essence snapshots from. I remember years when I didn't leave LA. I think back to those dog walk mornings. I think back to my times in grad school, spending every weekend researching and writing. I think back to camping trips. To home cooked meals, to cakes made from scratch. I visit their sweet memories - a juxtaposition from waiting for my flight at an airport, riding in a taxi cab, watching the earth pass below me. I think of these moments - while in another: waiting in an airport, riding in a taxi, flying around the world, riding the subway, eating out. Present in these moments, I savor the opposite, holding both in my mind, present in my experience. Later, I will visit the snapshot of jetset memories for the same type of therapy. Perhaps when I am on a dusty lakebed or driving off road for several days or something more mundane.
An Iterative Process
I'm still learning how to have a satisfying life traveling so much. I am reflecting on a comment from a William Gibson novel - about a writer who wrote much of his books in hotel rooms. I am looking for activities I like to do - and do at home - that I can transport and do with myself in hotel rooms. I try new things and adjust what I'm using to make it work better for me.