business travel, business travel for women, celebrating, community, facebook, female business travel, humor, packing, PDX, Portland, Portlandia, road warrior, travel, travel blog, travel tips, winning, women's blogs
It’s been a few months since I formally announced that I’ve jumped in with both feet to launch Gal-Away. Work time is flying at warp speed and I’m loving the work. Working 16 hours a day never felt so good – and I know exactly how they feel working on someone else’s behalf. I have three new employees onboard and doing great work, and they are fired up too – and so, I am happy. Living on a dental floss budget? Luxury-less and often sleepless. Loving pursuing the business I’ve wanted to start for so long? Priceless. Absolutely priceless.
Thinking back to what inspired Gal-Away in 2007, there is more than a decade full of experiences that came into play. Some thrilling and exciting and path-changing in a good way. Some funny, and some so NOT funny that I had burst into gales of ill-timed laughter out of sheer exhaustion combined with the dawning knowledge that I can’t control everything (I said dawning…I haven’t given up yet). Fortunately for my dignity, those moments were rare. And fortunately, not public either. I’ve found that those moments come about when they’ve been tapping on my shoulder and being ignored for a very long time. I’m pretty sure that I learned to pretend things aren’t there playing peek-a-boo.
Let’s face it – life as a road warrior, male or female, is no picnic. It’s a constantly changing landscape full of potential obstacles and things to throw you off from what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s a lifestyle full of anticipation and/or trepidation for what you’re there to perform, followed by exhilaration when you deliver your best A-Game in a major accomplishment…and then by a sense of disconnect because you have no one to do a nerdy high five with (you will look REALLY nerdy if you give yourself one), or raise a glass and celebrate with when it’s done. Goals achieved, while they may followed by an internal round of “We Are the Champions” seem a little bit hollow when it’s really only “I am the Champion”, and that’s when you really start missing home. And celebrating by yourself, as illustrated by the spectacle I witnessed in a suburban strip mall bar on that link, can be really…regrettable (but entertaining for others – you’ve got to check that out, it’s “public service announcement” worthy). Best to choose shopping, golfing, or treating yourself to a massage.
Life on the road is truly without community, and while you might love your work and like the travel too, there’s a sense of isolation that you really can’t shake. I’ve talked to a lot of men and women who have lived or do live this lifestyle, and we all experience this same lack of community. Hence the movie, “Up In the Air”. I don’t think that movie could have been much more personal for me – and thousands of other men and women who know the valet’s name and the room service guy’s face in every hotel they have a loyalty program with.
So I thought about what would be great to have on the road – access to local services, restaurants, and hotels that would give me and other women like me a sense of familiarity in my destination cities, and that those companies would understand my on-the-road needs and cater to them. Like…places that were solo-dining friendly, or would do an emergency manicure – budget be damned, or would put together a new outfit for unexpected extended travel. While this, on its face, may not appear as a community builder, by bringing women like me these services at related businesses, it opens the door for social and professional relationships, and therefore community. Do you like – but maybe get tired of – your morning room service guy, Francois after several days (Francois, I didn’t ever get tired of you – but come on…that 35 minute wait was a killer when I needed coffee – true story)? Maybe it’s time for you to get out and visit those places that cater to you. Instead of rifling through Yelp or CitySearch reviews trying to figure out whether the reviewers are using the same criteria you are, why not go to the source – women like you – and get REAL and relevant reviews, specific to quality of life on the road? I’m looking forward to making this happen for you. We’re building it now. If you pre-register at www.gal-away.com you’ll have a chance to give your two cents on how it is shaped and participate in the beta, special events, and promotions from Gal-friendly and focused companies.