Do you travel for work? When you do, do you get a chance to visit some of the attractions or dine out at the local favourites? It’s surprising that not everyone thinks to do things like this, but it’s important to do, especially if you travel for a living.
I’ve recently started travelling again in a new role, with my first expedition being to San Antonio, Texas. I went there to shadow a coworker, but in doing so, I had to teach him how to enjoy a destination.
Because of circumstances beyond out control, our first day ended just before 4pm local time. So what do you do in a city you’ve never been to? You explore! Sadly, our rental car was in his name so I wasn’t able to pick up and go out on my own. I asked my coworker what he had planned and it was some Starbucks in his room and that was it. Uh, nope. Get up. We’re going out. You’re driving me downtown.
We got downtown with plenty of daylight left so we explored the river walk, took some pics of the Alamo, then had dinner back on the river walk.
My coworker was pretty happy with the scenery, sharing some pics on Snapchat and sending some to his girlfriend back home.
The next few days were catching up with an almost lost day, so no time for fun until our departure day. Again, a situation beyond our control saw us finishing up our work four hours before our flight check-in time. So what do you do when you have several hours to spare? You explore!
A couple of times I asked my coworker what he wanted to do. He didn’t say much, and had no ideas aside from possibly going to the airport four hours early…Nope. Not happening bud. Get in the car. We’re going caving.
About 20 minutes north of San Antonio are the Natural Bridge Caverns, home of some scenic caves and the perfect place to kill three hours. Had I not been caving in/on/under Vancouver island, I’d likely have never thought of this as something to do. Actually, my wife thought of it and said I should check it out, so I can’t take any credit.
These caves were much different than our Vancouver Island experience in that it was a guided walking tour down several flights of concrete steps. But this tour did also offer total darkness — something you can only experience (naturally) in a cave or the ocean floor.
During the entire tour my coworker was taking pictures, commenting on the formations, and was seemingly happy with my choice of tourist attractions. Once out of the caves and with a signal, he immediately began sharing pics with friends.
For many business travelers, they make numerous return trips to the same city over, and over, and over again, so playing tourist isn’t desired after the first few times. The thing is, I have no idea if I’ll ever be in San Antonio ever again. $hit, the world could end…again…like it was going to in 1999, and 2012…So why wouldn’t I want to check some stuff out.
All work and no play made Jack a dull boy, and I don’t plan on ever being like Jack. My coworker might want to be when he’s out on his own, but I’m hoping this recent trip taught him that it’s okay for us take in some adventures. In fact, when it comes to customer facing roles and sales, it can become a discussion point that helps build rapport.
But for me, what’s more important is that (selfishly), it builds up my life experiences portfolio. Jobs come and go, but those life experiences last forever!
Now go sell all your stuff and be an adventurous business traveler!