Tag Archives: travel

Peak offsite season

It is the new year, which means it is high season for the corporate offsite. Be they sales or strategy related, it’s the time of year when corporate employees across the world find themselves gathering in exotic locations, but in basically the exact the same hotel conference center in each of those exotic locations. So far this year –and yes it is only end of January – I’ve been to Buenos Aires and Paris… Glamorous travel it is not.. I’ve literally experienced almost 4 hours at most outside of the hotel in each location.

In Buenos Aires it was to see a historical show that featured singing, horses and some dancing and tonight in Paris we board a boat for a river Seine tour (Never mind that the forecast is for –17 tomorrow).

While I feel strongly that corporations are the biggest abuser and offender of ignoring the carbon footprint by sending loads of suited corporate droids on planes across the world at the drop of the hat, I do have to admit that there is no better way to improve working relationships… BUT…it has nothing to do with the actual offsite, typically, and everything to do with who you sit next to at any meal, on the plane, in the cab or while taking a break.

So let’s try something different – what about reconceptualizing the offsite as a planned series of global meeting that don’t have to be product/group or solution specific, but more of an all call for various levels with people being randomly selected for locations. I imagine our productivity would increase greatly by being able to know (with more than 2–3 weeks advance notice) where you were going to go and actually having much more planned interaction vs set agenda.

Probably won’t work… but I have to say that 16 hour and 10 hour flights for 2 days of meetings just doesn’t allow me to feel like I’m doing my best work. In fact, I am mostly just jet lagged with a tinge of regret as to the red wine I drank last night. But c’est la vie.. Hope the coffee break comes soon.

~Michaela

Advertisements

Drinking the clearance kool-aid

I’ve been packing the last few days for an upcoming vacation.  Since we planned this trip last fall, I’ve had plenty of time to ponder my wardrobe.  Over the past few months I’ve perused clearance racks for summer clothes for both my husband and I thinking they would be great for vacation – and a steal at that.

As I started pulling out things to pack, I quickly realized we both have more new outfits (daytime, nighttime and swim time) than number of days we will be gone.  For some bizarre reason, I feel every vacation requires buying a completely new wardrobe.   Needless to say, I have totally drank the ‘clearance’ kool-aid and feel if there is an $100 dress on clearance for $10, I would simply be an idiot if I didn’t take it home.  Besides, I have a vacation coming up where this dress would be fabulous, right? 

The worst part of my clearance rack purchasing sprees is that I would never wear these clothes during normal life.  So everything I’ve purchased will be for a one-time (or no time as some of my finds aren’t even making it to my suitcase) wearing as I will most likely buy new clothes for the next vacation. 

So the next time I am pulling items from my closet for the local charity clothing drive, there will be a fabulous $100 dress, and many other special summer items (many with the tag still on) that will be filling the boxes I set out on my porch. 

When will I learn that I’m blowing hard earned cash for clearance items that I simply must purchase only to donate to charity?  Hopefully, someone will benefit from my inability to refrain from bringing these steals home.  BTW — Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Chico’s,  I know you were waiting for a chump like me to come in and take a lot of clearance items off your hands and you’re welcome.

Oh, and this is the third time we’ve gone to the Dominican to an all-inclusive.  I know (absolutely am positive) that I’ll wear the same flip-flops, shorts and t-shirt to breakfast every morning, quickly change into a bathing suit and may or may not dress up for dinner.  I could travel with a carryon that has sunscreen, a bathing suit and visor and be all set.  Anything else I need I could pick up at the local Wal-Mart.

– Susan

New Wheels

Today, I sent my passport off for some new tires.  I’m almost out of pages and with 2 years still left on my old passport (in addition to some of my favorite memories) I’m opting for new pages to give this one a few more miles. 

I told you before, I have a travel twitch.  And with a new year, and a whole bunch of new vacation days available, it’s starting to go crazy. 

But the thought of not having that passport and having to start fresh (with no stamps) makes me really sad.  I love browsing through my passport while traveling or waiting in line at immigration, looking at the stamps and thinking of the memories that I’ve taken with me from place to place.

I think it’s for that reason too, that I’m always amazed when I talk to friends, family, or even strangers that have no desire to leave the US.  Some don’t even care about leaving the state!  And apparently they aren’t alone.  According to a recent study on cnn.com, only 30% of Americans have passports, and 50% of the international trips that Americans took in 2009 were to either Canada or Mexico, which didn’t even require a passport before 2007! 

Anyway back to my passport… it’s in the mail and I will be nervous until I get it back.  Am I the only one that feels this way? 

– Erin

The travel twitch

I’m a bit of a travel junky.  If I don’t have a (fun, non-work) trip in the works I tend to get a little skittish (I have a bit of a travel twitch and find myself consumed by planning trips that aren’t happening any time soon) .  Unfortunately, I’m a travel junky that needs to work and only have 20 vacation days per year (which according to salary.com makes me lucky) so I constantly feel like an inadequate travel junky.  My gut tells me I should be exploring somewhere new at least every other month (that’s when the travel-twitch starts) but instead it’s more like twice a year.

I’m not sure when it started exactly.  My first trip out of the country was just in 2004 (note: I had been to Cancun but I don’t count it if they pick you up from the airport and drop you at a resort that you never leave).  I went to Ireland.  It was awesome, but after just visiting again recently I realized that I didn’t have a clue where I had been and really had very few memories about the trip. I think it must have started to build slowly, and then started to get out of control about 5 years ago.  And now I’m obsessed.

I subscribe to 3 travel magazines.  I save said travel magazines and revisit them often, especially if I’m going to (or considering a trip to) one of the places they’ve highlighted.  I have a map in my living room of the places I’ve been and the places I want to see, and examine it every time I walk up my stairs.  I’m constantly buying books on travel and planning trips, and my latest obsession is doing the Trans Siberian railroad trip.    I could go on, but I won’t (you’re welcome).

My parents, on the other hand, have never left the country (other than to Cancun – see note above).  Until recently, my dad didn’t seem to have any interest in even going anywhere, which completely blew my mind.  I took a trip with my girlfriends in 2008 to England, went to Stonehedge, and when I came back with pictures my dad finally admitted he’d like to see that some day.   I immediately told him I would plan a trip for our family.  I figured Ireland would be a great starter-country for traveling – minimal language barrier (I say minimal because even though its English, some of those guys talk reeeally fast), gorgeous landscapes, and our roots are almost all Irish.

Fast forward 3 years, and we are finally off!  I started ‘officially’ planning this trip in April of this year (that’s when I booked our first B&B) and we just got back last week.  The result: SUCCESS!! (for the most part).

How I rate success:

  1. We all came home… alive.
  2. We are all still talking.
  3. We really did have a great time.
  4. My parents are talking about renting a house in Dingle for a month when they officially retire.  If you’re ever going to Ireland, I would suggest you do the same – it’s freaking gorgeous.

So at dinner one of our last nights’ there, I ask them whether they will now start exploring on their own… and where they’d like to go next.  The response: wherever I’ll plan for them to go (in a nutshell).

They loved the trip because they had to do NO planning – never had to worry about where we were going, how to get there, or what we were going to do once we arrived.  But if I’m not doing the planning, they likely aren’t doing the traveling.

And I have now added trip planner to the list of things I want to be when I grow up.  Already on the list: barista, florist, furniture refinisher, lottery winner (all have the same odds of happening.)

–          Erin