I’ve often heard people refer to the day you travel as a day lost. You know, don’t worry it’s just a day and then it’ll be over. Just get through. Just be patient and soon it will be over.

Well, I’ve always had a hard time with that. I don’t want to take my days so much for granted that I can afford to lose one.

I’m struck by the thought that even though I lost my father so many years ago, what I wouldn’t give to spend one more day with him.

Or a loved one that I don’t get to spend enough time with – how wonderful to just gain a ‘free’ day where we could be together.

Some time ago, I realized that each day is too precious. I’m not prepared to lose one. And especially not because I doing such an awesome thing as flying from one part of the world to another.

So I choose to savor this day, let me share how!

  1. Window shopping – I’m not a great fan of regular shopping, I usually don’t have time nor interest. But in airports, I browse the gorgeous items for sale, rarely buying anything but appreciating what beautiful things are on offer (and often amazed by extortionate prices).
  2. People Watching – I love to just sit and watch the diversity and at the same time sameness of the couples, families, business people and young travelers. It’s fascinating to listen to the cacophony of languages, cultures and interactions.
  3. Clear-Thinking Work – yes, when I have nothing else to do but wait, I tend to think pretty clearly. So I can do planning, think through strategy work and write articles and stories (this is a perfect example). I think I’ve conceived and written some of my best work in airports and on airplanes.
  4. Movies – this is the only time I get to watch two or three movies in a day – reminds me of before I had kids when we’d go to the cinema, catch a movie and then come out of one and go straight into another. Nowadays I only ever get to do that on long international flights and I love it.
  5. Reading – I always make sure I have a good book that’s easy to get into. Sometimes I finish a whole book in one journey.
  6. No interruptions – yes, that’s right, no kids needing something or for me to take them somewhere, no chores to do, no phone-calls to answer or emails to check (at least on the flights!). It’s actually really peaceful.
  7. Contemplation – I always spend some time on my journeys preparing for where I am going to. Whether it’s to a speaking engagement, corporate gig or training program, I take time to go over my preparations and think about my intentions for the trip. And if it’s my journey home, equally I set intentions relating to what I would like to create, maintain or manage upon my return. Often the trip has left me with amazing realizations, great intentions and awesome inspiration – I use my travel time to digest it all and so try to arrive home calm, positive and most importantly, clear.

And believe me, I need this. The thing I want to do after being away from my family for awhile, is to come home exhausted, grumpy and overwhelmed. They need me present when I get back, not in that awful adjustment that can take days. And of course, I don’t always arrive back as clear and calm as I hope…but you know, I’m working on it…always. What’s for sure though, is that I’m not willing to lose even one day.

This is as true for when I’m traveling as for when I wake up and it’s just a bad day. Things don’t always go as we expect and often we just wake up grumpy. I’m not prepared to lose even one day – what do you do when you feel this way?

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