34: How To Stay On Point When You're Traveling

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This is a podcast episode titled, 34: How To Stay On Point When You're Traveling. The summary for this episode is: If you liked this episode, we bet that you’ll love our blog content. blog.drift.com/#subscribe Subscribe to never miss a post & join the 20,000+ other pros committed to getting better every day. --- We talk about productivity and routines a lot on Seeking Wisdom, and nothing kills both of those things more than travel (especially when you have to travel for work). So today we're talking about how to stay on point and stick to your routines when you have to travel for work. Come hang out with us at seekingwisdom.io and on Twitter @seekingwisdomio. Follow David (twitter.com/dcancel) and Dave (twitter.com/davegerhardt) on Twitter.

David Cancel: This week on Seeking Wisdom, we're going to talk about how to stay on point while you travel. The haters couldn't keep us away.

Dave Gerhardt: Hopefully the haters have unsubscribed since last episode, when you told them all to go away.

David Cancel: Now, it's just true community. We're all here about positivity, love and trying to get better every day.

Dave Gerhardt: Seeking Wisdom. All right. So I wanted to... We got a lot of good feedback when we don't talk about tech and startup stuff, the challenge is it's hard to come up with those ideas. So, keep us posted on the things you want to hear. But this one came up because you have a bunch of travel coming up and traveling is something that comes up a lot. When it comes with work, how do you manage travel? How do you stay healthy? How do you stay productive? And I've traveled with you and you are a scientist when it comes with travel.

David Cancel: Dave has had the unfortunate experience of actually sharing an Airbnb with me. It was big. It was a nice, swanky Airbnb.

Dave Gerhardt: It was great. But I mean, you can tell that you are a man of travel routines and this is why I wanted to have this because I told you I would be somewhere at 10:00 and at 9: 58 and I wasn't there, you texted me," Where are you at?" And I said," It's not 10:00 yet. I'm going to be there."

David Cancel: Show up early, we get there early.

Dave Gerhardt: I also traveled with like three bags. Two big suitcases-

David Cancel: Mm- hmm( affirmative) JV, JV.

Dave Gerhardt: That I got clowned on for.

David Cancel: All right, let's talk about that.

Dave Gerhardt: Okay, so yeah, talk about travel. When did you start traveling a lot for work?

David Cancel: Long time now, I'd say the last, I don't know, my whole career pretty much. I've been traveling a bit, I'd say really in the last 10 years I have a bunch of traveling coming up. I'm going to be speaking at SaaStock in Dublin, Ireland next week. Then Mind the Product in London the week after that. Then I have Minnesota, I'm going to be speaking at the converted conference. And then I'm going to be doing some speaking in Portugal in November.

Dave Gerhardt: Man, you really are global. We are taking this Drift thing global, it's not a joke.

David Cancel: It's not a joke, we're building a global brand.

Dave Gerhardt: Starting in Dublin next week.

David Cancel: That's it. We're not building a Boston company, we're building a global brand.

Dave Gerhardt: I love it.

David Cancel: Anyway, so I've been traveling for a while and I am a man of routine. Right, and I love routine. And especially when it comes to traveling, because I actually don't like traveling that much. I'm not one of those people that have wanderlust that like to travel a lot, my dream is just to stay home.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah, hanging out in a kayak in your backyard or something.

David Cancel: That's it. And so-

Dave Gerhardt: You had to get out of that comfort zone, you have to travel.

David Cancel: Yeah. So I put many other things I've... Like public speaking. I don't like public speaking either. But I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone. And so when it comes to traveling, one of the things that I learned kind of along the way was how to travel light. And how to be efficient about what you bring with you. And I think that back in the day I was JV, like Dave is currently.

Dave Gerhardt: It's true. It's true.

David Cancel: It's so JV. And I used to over- pack, which is a thing I think that most people do. So over- pack, over- pack, over- pack, bring lots of stuff. And then I noticed, just reps and sets, you'd notice I don't use most of this stuff, what am I bringing? And all this stuff for. And then it hit me like, wait a second, I'm always traveling to business locations pretty much. I'm not traveling in the Congo, I'm not going to be stranded in the desert. I am like, wherever I'm going they have a target.

Dave Gerhardt: Wait, you're not going to be like in SoMa in San Francisco being like," Where can I get a deodorant around here?

David Cancel: Yeah, I just go two feet. I usually travel to San Francisco, New York and other locations like that. And so I can walk five feet and buy the stuff that I need. And so I thought about that when it came to the usual stuff that you think about, which is like toothbrushes and all that kind of stuff that you worry about. But then I took it to another degree and said, well, if I need to buy another pair of jeans I'll just buy another pair of jeans for$ 50 or$20 or whatever they cost.

Dave Gerhardt: So the reason why I am fascinated by this is not because of the packing light thing. I think it just actually reduces the load on you mentally that you're traveling. It's kind of like, oh, you have travel coming up. Today's Tuesday, I'm leaving Wednesday, therefore, between now and then I got to do X, Y, and Z. It lessens that load on you.

David Cancel: Yeah, it's the cognitive load that we've talked about before that I think happens to all of us with like things like to- do lists, and this is a different form of a to- do list. So you put this pressure on about traveling and what you need and, and all I need is... And my wife will say," You're leaving tomorrow, aren't you going to start packing yet? Have you packed?" I'm like," No." I'll just pack that morning when I'm leaving or last thing in the middle of the night. And all I need is my laptop, power, different sorts of power especially if I'm doing international, my passport, my wallet, my phone, and whatever I'm wearing and maybe another change of clothes. I don't need that much, I'm not going into different scenarios. And so when I traveled with Dave, Dave had multiple bags, we went to San Francisco, mind you from Boston. He had bags on bags, on bags. I've never seen so many bags, man. I was like," What?" It was like a comedy.

Dave Gerhardt: crosstalk I saw you at the airport.

David Cancel: And I was just like,"What?"

Dave Gerhardt: I saw you at the airport and I was like," Do you, do you need something? Like, is our flight canceled? Are we not going anywhere?"

David Cancel: I have a backpack on, I'm like," Where are we going?"" We're going to San Francisco." He's got a bag, and this, and one of the ones that you wheel that so giant you can fit a body inside of it. I don't know what this guy was carrying. All I need when I go to San Francisco, I'll go for pretty much the workweek, I'll have a backpack that has my laptop in it and a change of clothes.

Dave Gerhardt: You wear the one pair of jeans four days in a row as well, yeah.

David Cancel: Yeah. And if I need something else, then I bring some like running shoes or something. But if I need something else then I just might end up buying it there.

Dave Gerhardt: So anybody that's listening, I think you may or may not know Elias. But now David and Elias, they have this competition... I feel like it's this competition between you two of who can pack lighter.

David Cancel: Yeah.

Dave Gerhardt: Like last week Elias was traveling somewhere for the weekend and he actually had nothing.

David Cancel: Yeah. So I went to Europe last year with, I think it was last year or the year before, with Elias, and we went to Switzerland, Geneva. Then we went to Italy, to Milan, and then finally to Florence. And so this was like a... We did this all in four days, we did this four day trip and we went and we had nothing. We had one backpack and we all we had in the backpacks where were laptops. We had laptops and tiny little backpacks and just got on a plane and just left.

Dave Gerhardt: I'm glad I didn't go, I really would have been laughed at.

David Cancel: Yeah, Dave would have freaked out. And one other thing I learned, I try to avoid red- eyes, just talking about preparation for the flight in this right now, red- eyes. But I've learned how to be better on the red- eye. And I learned that from... I used to travel with this old, he's not that old, but he was in the past a consultant at Andersen Accenture Consulting. And so he traveled every week professionally and he had this crazy routine. We would do these red- eyes back from San Francisco and I hated them. They were miserable and I couldn't get comfortable, I couldn't sleep. And he would show up at the airport with yoga pants on, a hoodie. Right? And basically like slippers, this guy looked like he was going to bed. And I was like," What are you doing?" And he's like a professional. So he'd go. And a set of headphones. He'd go on the plane, get on, and then he would pop a Dramamine right over the counter. And the guy would be asleep with his hood on. I was always freezing, it gets really cold in a flight overnight, and I couldn't sleep. And the guy would be asleep from the minute he sat in his seat. And the whole time I'm just looking at him pissed off, I'm like," This mother is sleeping the whole time." He's asleep, and he doesn't wake up until we hit the ground in Boston, then just gets up and walks away.

Dave Gerhardt: That's where you guys... so I want to ask you-

David Cancel: That's a pro.

Dave Gerhardt: Never traveled you before, we showed up at the airport, you had a t- shirt and sweatpants on.

David Cancel: And a hoodie, in case it gets cold.

Dave Gerhardt: And that was, to me, that was a game changer. I was like, man, if he's going to show up, businessman like this, show up in sweatpants-

David Cancel: Got a six hour flight man, got to be prepared.

Dave Gerhardt: So these are lessons.

David Cancel: These are lessons for getting there. In terms of getting to the airport, I get there probably like Dave, pretty early. I don't like being rushed around. Elias, who we mentioned, is the exact opposite. So he's a guy that will have you in cold sweats. I'd be getting through the boarding gate, getting ready for my flight, and he would call me and he'd still be at home.

Dave Gerhardt: You're like," This guy is not coming."

David Cancel: Yeah. I'm like," Did you pack yet?" He's like," Not yet." I'm like," Flight leaves in an hour." And somehow he always makes it.

Dave Gerhardt: When did you not... Did you make a decision, like," I don't want to take red eyes cause they suck"? Is that a decision?

David Cancel: Yeah, I think mostly the red- eyes were to San Francisco coming back from San Francisco. One thing that changed was a bunch of flights now have wifi coming back. So I was like, all right, game changer. I can work. Otherwise, not being able to work and wasting a whole day just to fly back, I would push on red- eyes. I try not to do them, although I did one last time I came back from San Francisco.

Dave Gerhardt: It's actually super productive if you have a good wifi and you're right there because you can just do anything else, you can't just-

David Cancel: Yeah. That's definitely one of my things when I travel is I'm way more productive than when I'm at home.

Dave Gerhardt: All right. So a couple of other things, you're a man of routines, right?

David Cancel: Yes.

Dave Gerhardt: We've talked about it a lot on this podcast, wake up, workout, do yoga, read, whatever. When you're traveling, even if you're gone for an extended period of time, do you try to stick to that schedule? Does that keep you normal?

David Cancel: 100%. So I stick to that schedule whether I'm traveling or not. And Dave can attest to that, having bunked with me.

Dave Gerhardt: Every morning, I'm like," Where the hell is this guy?"

David Cancel: Yeah. I'm gone, its like 5:30 AM.

Dave Gerhardt: It's like 5: 30 on west coast time, we're still running behind. He's like," I'm at Phil's. Let me know if you need anything." It's 5: 30 AM.

David Cancel: Pitch black out, and I'm over there reading, I'm doing my routine. I have my Kindle with me, I'm reading, I'm kind of easing into the day. I'm in kind of a slow start into the day.

Dave Gerhardt: But that probably wasn't something that you were just like born with. Did you have to train yourself to... You obviously made a conscious decision to say," I'm going to try to stick to my routine when I travel."

David Cancel: Absolutely. And so the more that I've been working in different morning routines, and since I've seen benefits from them, the more that I've tried to keep that strict structure and routine when I'm traveling.

Dave Gerhardt: You probably feel better about traveling like," I'm away, but I still feel like I'm in my zone a little bit."

David Cancel: Yeah. Yeah, and so it helps me deal with jet lag and being in a new scene, new scenario, it just makes me way more productive.

Dave Gerhardt: Do you still try to like... For me, the hardest part about traveling is keeping up with eating. Because it's usually, you're running around and the food is shitty. Do you try to... have you learned something about food?

David Cancel: Oh yeah. So I stick to my routines on what I eat, and so in the case that where we traveled together, we had an Airbnb. So I try to go for an Airbnb now in certain cities. New York Airbnb's suck.

Dave Gerhardt: So you can put in the fridge.

David Cancel: Exactly. So I can have a fridge, I'll go to the super... I'll find a location that's in a neighborhood so I can go to a supermarket, load up on the stuff that I'm used to eating, and make sure all that stuff's back at the house. And I actually find with my routines, it's kind of easier in some ways, or as easy as when I'm at home.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah.

David Cancel: When it comes to eating.

Dave Gerhardt: All right. Last thing is, you're a family guy.

David Cancel: Mm- hmm( affirmative)

Dave Gerhardt: Is that the hardest part about traveling?

David Cancel: Yeah. It's the part that I hate the most about traveling, just being away from my family. Like next week, like I said, I'm flying to Dublin, Ireland. And then London, the week after. What would have made sense where... And the Dublin conference is at the end of the week and so is the London one, what would have made sense is for me to just stay a week in London or Dublin and not have to fly back. But I feel too guilty about that, and I miss my kids, so I'm going to fly to Dublin for two days, fly back to Boston, wait three days and then fly back to London. Not ideal, not efficient, but for me it's about that family time.

Dave Gerhardt: Well, yeah, and you probably feel better about the hassle, the pain in the ass it might be for you to get back and forth then you would... I feel like if you were just sitting in Dublin on a Saturday, in a hotel room.

David Cancel: Mm- hmm( affirmative) But things like FaceTime and all that stuff make it way easier when it comes to traveling.

Dave Gerhardt: Cool. All right. Well, this was good. I wanted to mix it up, talk about travel a little bit.

David Cancel: Keep your routines.

Dave Gerhardt: Stick to your routines.

David Cancel: Yeah. Get an Airbnb, except if you're in New York because they suck.

Dave Gerhardt: Why, what's the difference?

David Cancel: Every time I get one in New York, it's kind of like a tenement. It's just like the quality bar is low. And it's for me, I'm a fair- weather traveler. So when I travel, I like to be in a place that isn't like 10 times worse than where I am where I live. And so I don't want to be in some shithole somewhere.

Dave Gerhardt: Sleeping on somebody's couch.

David Cancel: Exactly.

Dave Gerhardt: I'm going to distill all this down. If you take one thing away, the travel lesson that I need to practice is pack light. It's hard.

David Cancel: They can't do it.

Dave Gerhardt: You can't agree, you will not look at me right now and agree that it's hard. crosstalk But I'm telling you, I know it's hard.

David Cancel: Just pack your laptop.

Dave Gerhardt: Pack your laptop, yeah.

David Cancel: Power, passport, credit card. You have a credit card, you ready to roll.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah, you can do it. You can get the things you need. All right. So that's a little seeking wisdom. Tell them we appreciate reviews.

David Cancel: We appreciate the reviews. We're getting there.

Dave Gerhardt: We're getting there.

David Cancel: We're not at 200 yet. So I know you've got a review in there.

Dave Gerhardt: All right. So how to stay on point when you travel. Tweet at us, let us know what your experience has been like traveling for work and let us know.

David Cancel: Let's do this.

Dave Gerhardt: Alright.


If you liked this episode, we bet that you’ll love our blog content. blog.drift.com/#subscribe Subscribe to never miss a post & join the 20,000+ other pros committed to getting better every day. --- We talk about productivity and routines a lot on Seeking Wisdom, and nothing kills both of those things more than travel (especially when you have to travel for work). So today we're talking about how to stay on point and stick to your routines when you have to travel for work. Come hang out with us at seekingwisdom.io and on Twitter @seekingwisdomio. Follow David (twitter.com/dcancel) and Dave (twitter.com/davegerhardt) on Twitter.