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Saluting the Road Warriors…

I just returned from a trip to San Francisco for our company’s annual sales kick-off meeting.  It was the first business trip I’ve taken in months.  I use to be a road warrior like many of you – but I was fortunate enough to get off the road about 2 years ago. 

My trip to San Francisco brought back many memories – the security lines; cramped quarters on the flight; difficulty sleeping in a strange bed; adjusting to the time zone change; a litany of additional taxes on the hotel room – you know, the works! 

During this trip, it also occurred o me that there has been lost of “noise” in the sporting arena about the impact of travel on professional athletes.  Permit me to take football as one example and digress for a moment. 

The 2012-2013 National Football League season has come to a conclusion.  The NFL Super Bowl XLVII Champion has been crowned.  One of the consistent commentaries I picked up on during this past NFL season had to do with travel. 

Time and again we would hear some radio or TV personality (often a former player) moan about the difficulties such as the Seattle Seahawks traveling all the way to Washington DC to play the Redskins; 4 hours in an airplane; 3 time zones difference; not being able to sleep in their own beds the night before the big game.  You’d think they were traveling by covered wagon! 

Call me uncaring, but the idea that travel has a big impact on an NFL player’s ability to perform at their highest level is a bit over the top.  Their “trips” consist of a single destination; in a chartered plane; with private security screening; pre-arranged ground transportation; high-end hotels; baggage concierge; and catered meals. 

In the world of business travel, I believe road warriors are the true super stars.  Take my boss for instance, who was responsible for coordinating my company’s sales kick-off meetings.  After his 5 days in San Francisco, he took a 1-day trip back home to the Midwest, and then flew Sunday to London for the sales kick-off in our European Region.  Three days in London and then he was off to Sidney for the sales kick-off in our Pacific Region.  Then a 19 hour flight back to the Midwest; executing his job at peak performance throughout. 

No chartered flights; private security screening; pre-arranged ground transportation; etc.  My boss, and so many other business professionals that must travel for a living, are the unheralded super stars. 

Now I’m no poet, but permit me to conclude with a little ditty I wrote many years ago when I was a proud member of the road warrior team:

 A shared prayer from the Mayflower to the modern day road warrior:

We know before leavin’

The ride will be bumpy

The quarters will be dumpy

The stewards will be grumpy

And still we must go.

We know before leavin’

The days will be long

ETAs promised will be wrong

Success smiles on only the strong

And still we must go.

We know before leavin’

Our family will pine

We’ll miss children’s prime

We barter money for time

And still we must go.

We know before leavin’

To no one we sob

While pursuing our job

Our energy travels rob

And still we must go.

We know before leavin’

And we pray every evening

Lord, get me home safe

And I’ll call the rest even. 

GAP 

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