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Commuting is always exhausting, you will say now. It takes time, costs money and often you can’t rely on getting through smoothly – whether by car or public transport.
That’s right, and yet you can take advantage of commuting time or business trips. Don’t you think so? I couldn’t believe it either – until I had a job with an office in Cologne, travel within Germany and private life in Frankfurt.
Until the beginning of 2017, I never thought I’d prefer train travel to flying. But, as soon as I sit on a seat, I can determine the time myself. I decide whether I read a book, a newspaper or my emails. While I do this, I am driven from A to B without having to worry about the way. And honestly – I don’t have that at home or in the office!
Traveling educates and enables self-development
People like to travel, at least privately. This is what they do to discover something new, to learn more or simply to leave everyday life behind them. Why are these attributes rarely used for business trips actually?
For more than 20 years I’ve been traveling mainly on business – and have also experienced many private moments. I still see traveling as a privilege. Yes, sometimes it’s stressful and very tiring. Not only when time differences really determine a journey, but also with overcrowded trains in Germany, long queues at the security check, delays, rain, wind…. just to name a few imponderables that can make traveling unpleasant.
So what is positive about business trips?
On a journey there happens always something unexpected, be it a person you are allowed to get to know, like the lady on the train „Cologne – Frankfurt“, who suddenly told me about her daughter doing educational work for women in India. Or a train crew who burst in a good mood and let all passengers take part in the farewell of a colleague whose last journey ended in Frankfurt. Or a lady who happened to notice that I was on my way to a job interview and just wished me good luck.
In addition, business trips always mean meetings with colleagues with whom I work on projects. And which I seldom see and therefore always have a lot to tell.
This possibility to meet other people and characters is a big advantage of traveling. You learn to see things from different angles, you can use your travel time to think about them and to classify them.
And what does the other side of the coin look like?
Of course the private life with family and friends suffers. The frequent absence from home poses great challenges to everyone, the traveller but also the family and friends. It’s important to experience the time together consciously, and to plan and shape it carefully.
In times of permanent availability it’s at least possible to call each other daily or to see each other via facetime or skype. And yet the feeling can arise that one no longer participates in the life of the other. It’s tiring to have to get involved with new environments and people again and again, or also the fact of always living out of a suitcase.
4 tips to optimize your travel experience
There is certainly no general recipe, because it depends on the respective personality and the individual environment.
- My attitude to traveling helps me: my interest in new things, my desire to share what I experience, but also to learn what my family and friends experience. In order to do this, I think it’s important to create space for this. I.e. to reserve the first evening after a travel week for this exchange. There is nothing else than the focus on each other and everyone’s experiences. This creates closeness and trust, which may have been neglected during the days of absence. Furthermore the following days are free of business topics and you can fully concentrate on your private life.
- Perceiving travel time itself as free decision time without any intervention, helps to minimize the actual travel stress. In addition to prepare your free time is nicely described in this WiWo article by Marcus Werner.
- If you work on customer projects very frequently or on a weekly basis, you live almost exclusively in hotels. In order to create a private environment here, it can help to take something personal from home, a picture, a book, a pillowcase, whatever.
- Maybe it is even possible that family, friends, partners are there for a few days while working for the customer. Thus, you can spend the evening together and share impressions directly.
Travel or commuting is exhausting – no question. However, one’s own attitude can help to reduce the stress and to take away the positive aspects of the travel time.
In that fact, wishing all of you always many experiences and positive impressions on your trips – business and private.