I have a love/hate relationship with business travel. On one hand, I enjoy learning about the latest technologies before anyone else. I also enjoy meeting the people who had previously only been voices on the phone or words in an email to me. But on the other, I can't stand how long it takes me to dig out by just missing a few days in the office.
For me, one of the more enjoyable parts about traveling is the trip itself. Granted, there haven't been many things to like about plane travel lately, but it does provide a few advantages. How many times in life can we truly disconnect…no email, no phone calls, no meetings to attend? A long plane ride, for me, represents a great chance to catch up on my reading.
On my most recent trip (to Orlando for Pittcon 2010), I read a profile piece on the Jackson Laboratory in Wired that left an impact. It discussed how the mice were bred to the point where specific traits can be ordered by researchers and why the mouse is such an important research tool. I also learned that some of the mice you have in your labs can trace their genealogy back almost 90 years. Pretty fascinating stuff, and a new perspective on an important research tool.
But travel is not all about the articles read while killing time in the airport or the great products I get to see introduced. There is a price to pay. As I write this, it's nearly three weeks after Pittcon, and I'm still digging out. My in box is bulging, and my to do list is longer than I'm comfortable with. It's around this time that I ask myself, is the travel worth it?
To me, it is. Catching up with old friends at a show or making new ones makes this job a little easier. There's also an excitement that comes with traveling to a trade show. Nothing beats seeing new technologies displayed before anyone else gets to see them (though you'll be seeing many of them in the pages of this issue). I know many of you also travel for business. Do you find it helpful to your work? Drop me a line, and let me know.