I often read reports from my fellow business people on the travails of business travel, bemoaning that it is “not as glamorous as it used to be”.
I, for one, could not disagree more. Traveling for business is one of the ultimate joys for the modern businessperson, and anyone who disagrees is doing it wrong.
Let me start, if I may, on a Sunday evening. The weekend has dragged on long enough, and you are chomping at the bit for the workweek ahead. What better way to end a Sunday, than by leaving your loved ones and boarding the Heathrow Express? The world is still napping, but you are on the move.
The airport greets you like a familiar friend, your well-worn BA card breezing you through security to the Lounge, no check-in required because it’s hand-luggage all the way. A lukewarm chicken curry greets you for dinner – what bliss! You didn’t want a delicious home-cooked meal anyway.
But not for long, because you only arrived in the very nick of time – you are a business traveler, after all. It is time to board the sterile tube, alongside fellow business nomads, to you’re not even sure where. All you know is that you have an excellent series of miniature drinks to look forward to, accompanied by many tiny pretzel snacks. Make it a double G&T, easy on the T, because you’re having such a great time.
On arrival, what better way to spend one’s time than in miscellaneous airport queues? What is the purpose of your visit sir, business or pleasure? You know it’s hard to tell sometimes, what with all the fun you’re having, but business I suppose.
You know the word for taxi in a thousand languages, which is less impressive given that it’s ‘taxi’ in most of them. You climb into the back of one, indicate the address on your work Blackberry, and roll towards the hotel. Accumulated currencies of all denominations spill out of your wallet, throw a thousand Nudges at the taxi driver and hope that that will do. Just get the receipt though, or it’ll never get through expenses.
The hotel could be anywhere, but it feels like nowhere, red carpets and faux marble bestride the world. It’s so nice to fall asleep in the comfort of a bed you’ve never stayed in before. Woken by the dulcet tones of the receptionist, this is your 7am wake-up call. I defy you to find a better way to start the day.
And you’re off, filled to the brim with continental breakfast, to a nondescript conference room, where the only thing worse than the coffee is the wi-fi. The agenda seems like gibberish, but you plough on ahead, language barriers be-damned. The hours under fluorescent lamps do wonders for your skin, let alone your frame of mind.
Then you stumble out, and hail a taxi, or taksi, or teksi or taxi, and it’s back to the airport. Back to the BA lounge. Lather, rinse, and repeat, until the week is out.