Travel trauma

I’m about mid-way through a world tour of sorts, there are many places I’m am not visiting so it doesn’t feel right to call it a world tour, but with trips to Canada, the mid-west, Russia, I am currently on the west coast on the United States and have China, Israel, Germany and the UK, it might as well be.

You get two reactions when discussing this with people. 1. Envy, of sorts. People struggle to see how they can possibly get a chance to visit so many places, well me too. Visiting a city or country for 36hrs is like not being there at all. 2. Air miles and upgrades. All you want to do after all this travel, is more travel. Sure, the upgrades are nice when they happen, but mostly they don’t.

This week both these topics have come up multiple times in reaction to my schedule. As I sit here at Cafe Encore in San Francisco, I am reminded the reason I typically travel with the same airline(even though lately its been like poking yourself in the eye with a stick but i still do it); same with hotels, car hire etc.

The simple reason is, to avoid travel trauma. When you know how a system works stick to it. You know how late you can be to the airport; How to get through the TSA with minimum of hassles;  flights delayed, who do you call? Missed connection? Know which are the good and bad seats, know where the Exec. lounge is? What tickets allow you to use it?

Things go wrong all the time, my ability to cope with that, not getting stressed out, is the single most important thing. After all it’s not vacation where you get there and collapse under the strain. Nope, for my trips, it’s show up, turn on, perform. Travel traula can do a lot more than take the edge off your performance, it can ruin your whole day and make the trip a waste of time.

Update: [Thanks for the comment and calling me out on the typos, Gareth Emery.]

Author: Mark Cathcart

Formerly an Executive Director of Systems Engineering and a Senior Distinguished Engineer at Dell. Prior to that, an IBM Distinguished Engineer working for the Systems Group in NY and Austin. I’m currently “retired until further notice”.

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