Tomorrow's a big day in my crazy life when I step out of the family minivan at the airport and kiss my brood goodbye for a few days. They'll head home, and I'll get on a plane that will take me to another plane, which will take me to yet another plane that will ultimately carry me halfway around the world.
By the time I land, I'll be in Shanghai, China to attend a major mobility conference hosted by HP. I've been invited there because my research often touches on the mobile space, its impact on business, and on the lives of the people who use it. I write about this stuff because I use it every day, and I love the sense of discovery that typifies this market.
It's difficult to describe what I'm feeling right about now. I'm nervously excited (or excitedly nervous; I'm kinda flip-flopping.) I'm hoping that I perform well enough within my peer group that they feel confident that they invited the right guy. I work in an intangible business where our currency is our intelligence. My track record as an analyst got me invited, and I'm hoping my onsite contributions ensure future invitations. I'm retentive that way.
I'm bringing a camera - alas, not the Nikon because big cameras with big lenses don't always mesh well with some places on the planet - with lots of batteries and memory cards. I'll do my best to capture the spirit of this place, even as I try to adapt to a time zone 12 hours ahead of home. I'll be in a place where I understand barely a word of the local language, and will be surrounded by an environment that's so different from my own that I hardly know what to expect.
But that's part of the adventure, after all. Knowing it all in advance wouldn't be nearly as much fun, and part of me looks forward to learning about a place I've only read about in books and online.
Over the next week or so, expect postings to be somewhat chaotic. I've advance-written some draft entries, and will do my best to publish them from my oriental venue. But in case I don't, please feel free to dig into my archives - there's lots of old material to read - and share a thought in a comment.
Or you can visit my wife
so she feels a little less alone. Granted, she'll have plenty on her plate as she keeps our three kids and furry being on track through the week. But a happy word from a reader will probably make her smile.
I'm also bringing a notebook. Spiral-bound and paper-based. With a pen, too! In case the technology thing doesn't allow me to connect into my usual haunts, some ink on paper will hold me over until I get back. I have an image in my mind's eye of sitting by an aircraft window thousands of miles away from the nearest land, silently scribbling my idle thoughts into my notebook. For all my techno-geekiness, there's something elementally comforting about reverting to something that doesn't rely on a battery or a cable.
My hope is that the solo business travel eventually morphs into something a little more family-friendly. For all the times I've left them alone, they deserve to experience the world alongside me. Time will tell.Your turn:
You're alone in a distant, strange place. Paint the scene for us, please.