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With the world opening back up you might be headed back out for a work trip or two — or even some family travel around something that doesn’t involve being outside all of the time.
It’s been over a year — March, 2020 to be exact — since I have boarded a plane for a work-related trip. That was a big change for me at the time because I had been traveling a lot. In fact, when things shut down in March 2020 I had a work or graduate school related trip scheduled for all of the remaining weekends that month, and all of that was canceled. At the time I was not sorry, though I don’t think any of us imagined more than a year later we’d still be trying to get life going again to the speed it was before.
I’ve spent the last week in the Washington, D.C. area doing some work meetings and getting ready to run the Marine Corps Marathon. If you pay attention to this stuff, though, you know the official Marine Corps Marathon was canceled. I’m me, so I’ve been joking that canceling the race deterred me from showing up to run it not at all. But the truth is that I had other things scheduled around the trip, and I didn’t want to cancel any of those. And so I was fully dedicated to coming either way.
In fact, I’m recording this from a hotel closet before running my “race.” How does it sound? This closet has no light so it’s kind of dark in here.
Traveling can be a real challenge in the outdoor time department — especially if you’re looking for that time to be purposeful and more than just a hurried walk from appointment to appointment.
In my experience there are a few really important keys to making outdoor time happen during work travel, and in case you’re getting ready to see travel a part of your life again, I wanted to share them.
First challenge: getting outside on travel days. It takes a really unbelievable amount of time to fly to anywhere from Alaska. We’re talking more than three hours to get to Seattle, the normal layover spot. Then, if you’re going to the east coast, you’re looking at another five hours in the plane. All of this probably means that you’re leaving for the airport early in the morning and getting to where you’re going late in the evening after bedtime. That’s not exactly conducive to some quality outdoor time.
And so the key for travel days is planning ahead. For example, before I even left my house when I flew out here I knew that I would be spending a portion of my layover in Seattle, walking along the car drop off area. If you’re thinking that sounds like lame outdoor time, you’re not wrong. But it’s better than staying in the terminal, and it’s outdoor time so it counts. If for some reason my layover wasn’t long enough for this or something happened, my back up plan was to do something similar outside the destination airport after getting my bag but before calling an Uber.
Second challenge: Getting outside on days that are just inside meeting after meeting. This is where being really purposeful comes in. I know my schedule for my days before I get there, and so I spend a little time just thinking through when and where ill find some outdoor time. Maybe it means getting up 30 minutes early and going for a walk or taking a coffee outside before my day starts — I’ve definitely done that. Maybe it’s looking at the conference schedule, knowing there’s a 30 minute break between sessions and being very purposeful about heading outside during it, avoiding getting caught up talking to someone or asking if they’d like to join me outside while we chat.
Third challenge: making outdoor time purposeful. When I travel for work I am often in a city, which means that my feet are how I’m getting from my hotel to whatever work is happening. When I lived in D.C. I walked about a mile twice a day between where I lived and the Metro and it was, without a doubt, the best part of my day. I used it to both get where I was going and to clear my head. But that commute isn’t as freeing when you are simply bolting between work tasks during your stay wherever you are. When I travel for work I’m typically doing some really heavy emotional and mental lifting, so I need all of the fresh air, outside time space I can get. That means instead whatever time walking between things I have is really useful — but only if I focus on using it wisely.
For me that means pausing to make that time purposeful. I think about what I’m doing and where I’m going before I head outside. I don’t multitask by talking on the phone or anything else. I breathe. I enjoy the air and weather. And I use it for all of the goodness it has.
If you want to see my city-based outdoor time you can scroll back through my photos from last week on Facebook and Instagram. And as always, I want to see your outdoor time too. Tag whatever photos you want to share with #Humansoutside365.
Until next time, we’ll see you out there. Connect with this episode: