Two Life Lessons in the World of Bond

Happy frozen tundra, friends! If you are reading this and it’s above 10 degrees where you live, congratulations! The rest of us are cold and miserable.

I was working on my post for last week, when I realized that it is somewhat related to my post for this week. Therefore, I’ve decided to combine the two. In the last two weeks, I’ve learned two important lessons about the consultant lifestyle. Clearly these are not unique to my experiences, or even to consultants alone, or even to anyone who travels. I’m certain we all have faced these life lessons before.

1. Last week, I learned the importance of going with the flow. In the span of one day, I confirmed a tentative trip for the following day, while simultaneously contacting our travel person to set up a trip less than one week later (as I compose this, I am on a flight returning from the second trip). I had actually packed for a one- or four-day trip when I left home last week as I had no idea how long I’d be gone.

The unexpected can really stink sometimes, like when there’s no internet on a five hour flight so I can’t get any work done, but I try to look on the bright side. Maybe I really needed a five hour nap (Or I really needed to see the inflight movie. Or I really needed to work on my PowerPoint slides. You see where I’m going with this). Sometimes life throws you some curveballs and you have to either go with the flow or spend a lot of energy getting upset about it. Personally, I think it’s important to not take yourself too seriously and try not to get too upset. In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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Anyway, going on the tentative trip ended up being a really good idea for the sake of the project and my understanding of where we need to go, so hooray for the unexpected!

Enough of the happy, puppies-and-kittens perspective. What other life lesson have I learned?

2. Getting lost is inevitable. I see how you might assume I’m being metaphorical with this one. Nope, I mean literally getting lost. I have gotten lost at least four times in the last two days. I’m pretty sure I’ll get lost at least two to three more times before the end of the week. Some are totally my fault, like when I clearly took the wrong turn on the way to BWI and ended up in a hospital parking lot (I was just supposed to merge onto another interstate), or when I almost didn’t make my flight because I was one gate away and didn’t hear the announcement (this is a stretch in the category of getting lost, but I wanted to give you ample opportunity to laugh at me. I travel for a living. You assume I’d have figured out how to make it onto a flight when I’m 200 feet from the gate).

My other getting lost stories are the fault of my mapping technology. I took a wrong turn and ended up driving the streets of East St. Louis. Twice. “Gasp!” says everyone who knows St. Louis. I could expound on the shortcomings of my mapping technology, but I’m still a fan. It makes my life so much easier, and these types of situations are mostly laughable. And mostly still my fault for failing to use my logic chip to override a map which is clearly taking me through a shady part of town. On the plus side, I snapped this photo of the Arch:

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To mirror my commentary after my first life lesson, the takeaway from this lesson is to keep your cool and keep perspective. You might get to take a cool drive-by picture of the Arch, or you might discover a hospital complex in Maryland that you didn’t know existed. When you get lost, you just have to calm down and look for another route. In the words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t panic!”

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Several months ago I was driving through Oklahoma City and I failed in at least three attempts to get on the highway (it was right there but I couldn’t find the entrance ramp!). Instead I took a local road to my hotel and discovered a cool part of town that looked like it had been preserved in the Seventies. While it wasn’t as exciting as the time I watched the sunset over the Santa Cruz mountains while driving over the San Mateo Bridge in San Francisco, discovering this forgotten neighborhood in Oklahoma City was a “feel good” moment for me; one that was completely accidental.

In the past few weeks, I’ve learned that the unexpected and unplanned events can sometimes end up being the best ones.

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