I’m used to being prepared, being in control, knowing what comes next, where I’m supposed to be. If I have a meeting scheduled, I’m usually early for it. And when I travel, I usually book and confirm everything myself, and do online check-in 24 hours in advance. It’s partly a function of my personality, but it’s also cultural to a great extent. Many parts of the world simply aren’t as agenda-focused as the US and UK. And I recognize that my way isn’t the right way, it’s just what is comfortable for me.
So now, a day before I leave on a 3-week trip, over which I have almost no control, I’m consciously trying to get over myself, go with the flow, make a leap of faith and trust that it will all be fine. A total of 15 flights have been booked for me by a travel agent, and I haven’t been able to confirm them online. I’ll be arriving in 12 cities (in 7 countries), and in some destinations, I don’t yet know where I’m going, what time meetings start, what I’ll be speaking about, or where I will sleep. What I do know — and this is the reason I can make the leap — is that there are IABC members in every destination, and they will take care of me. And I know it will be an amazing experience. A distinctly different cultural experience (actually, several different cultures). I want to embrace those differences. I want to learn from them. I want to get outside my comfort zone.
So I guess I’m off to a good start.
Anyway, here’s the run-down of where I’m going.
- Sun, Oct 19: Overnight flight from London to Hong Kong
- Mon, Oct 20: Arrive Hong Kong 5:50pm
- Tue, Oct 21: Speak at IABC Hong Kong Chapter event, overnight flight to Sydney
- Wed, Oct 22: Speak at IABC New South Wales Chapter event
- Thu, Oct 23: early flight to Canberra, informal member networking event in evening
- Fri, Oct 24: early flight to Brisbane, speak at IABC Queensland Chapter event
- Sat, Oct 25: leader development with Queensland board members
- Sun, Oct 26: flight to Melbourne
- Mon, Oct 27: Speak at IABC Victoria chapter event, board training in evening
- Tue, Oct 28: flight to Wellington, New Zealand
- Wed, Oct 29: Speak at IABC Wellington event, plus board development & media interview
- Thu, Oct 30: flight to Christchurch, member event and leader development
- Sat, Nov 1: flight to Aukland, on to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Sun, Nov 2: dinner with chapter leaders
- Mon, Nov 3: Speak at University, Lead a 1/2-day workshop for IABC Malaysia chapter
- Tue, Nov 4: flight to Singapore, meeting with members-at-large
- Wed, Nov 5: flight to Bangkok, meeting with members, flight to Phuket
- Thu, Nov 6: Speak to Phuket PR Network event, flight to Bangkok, overnight layover
- Fri, Nov 7: flight to Manila, speak to business leaders, speak at IABC Philippines Quill Awards ceremony
- Sat, Nov 8: flight to Hong Kong, overnight flight to London
- Sun, Nov 9: arrive London 5am (and go straight home to bed!)
I just added up the total flying time, and it’s a staggering 69 hours (can that really be right?)! And I have to do the whole trip limited to one suitcase weighing no more than 20 kgs (which is about what I would normally take on a 3-day trip). Getting WAY outside my comfort zone now.
I’ll blog and tweet along the way as much as I can, and try to share what I learn and introduce you to members I meet along the way. Wish me luck and on-time flights!