Many years ago, my professional role required frequent visits to my clients: I was on the road almost every week, driving from one city to another. When I was not busy with on-site meetings, I was glued to my phone, dealing about arising issues and finding possible solutions. After the first weeks, my boss gave me an advice: “While travelling and being busy with busyness, remember to carve out some time for yourself. Have a coffee, have a walk, stop for a nice lunch.” As a super committed and excited rookie, my initial reaction was a mix of disbelief and confusion: “Really?!? Are you actually telling me to slow down and take breaks?”

With time, I realized that what seemed to be a common sense tip, was actually a pearl of wisdom, that stayed with me ever since. It was an invitation to get to know the context and explore my surroundings, to avoid rushing from one person or place to another and, instead, to create practices to be grounded and fully present when interacting with people. It was a reminder to experience my work and time at a deeper level, instead of just going through them.

So, here’s how my practice looks like now:

  • I always read something about the place I’ll be traveling to, even if for one day only. It’s a matter of respect: I’m going to someone’s else “home”, the least that I can do is to be curious about it, explore and learn something new
  • I check-off an item from my wish list. This time, it was supposed to be a close encounter with a sloth, but I sadly discovered that the last exemplar here died couple of years ago. With flexibility, I opted for a koala instead
  • Being the kind of person who doesn’t sleep on a flight, it’s easy for me to fall into binge-reading and watching. I resist the urge to keep myself busy and let my mind wander. If I ever get bored, I remind myself that I’m sitting on a chair…flying in the sky. And that’s enough to make me wonder.