Monday, December 22, 2014

The enjoyment of Train Travel

Today I travel on the train. Normally this wouldn't seem like a big deal, but I am traveling cross country. Something that you would usually do on an airplane. I'm not traveling this week for business and therefore this trip on a train was specifically purposeful. Many who have not experienced long travel on a train would cringe at the idea, I’m here to change your mind…. If you're willing.

In order to truly enjoy the train rather than flying there are a few things that have to be understood.

First, you cannot be in a hurry. A train at times travels faster than a car would, but calculating in the stops along the way, it’s about the same speed as driving.

Second, you have to be traveling to travel, rather than to get somewhere. If all you are focused on is getting to where you want to go, then you cannot realize the awesomeness of the train. Live in the moment.

Third, you have to be open minded. Each train ride is different; don't expect the same experience twice. Be happy with the experience you have.

Fourth, Don't stay in your seat. No matter how long your trip is, get up, get out, and experience everything on the train.

If you think you can do these things you will love your train experience, guaranteed. Why? Trains bring together so many great aspects of human culture, history, and nature.

You meet completely different people each time.

You meet completely different people each time. When in the viewing car (a car with windows everywhere)  I sat and listened to guitar music, while listening to a few french people talk. and then was greeted by an indian man who was showing the scenery to his kids. Then in the dining car I run into a couple riding the train for his 70th birthday, another lady who went to Reno to try her luck, and a mountain lady going to visit friends. Ya just never know who you will meet on the train.
Update: the guitar player was kicked off the train because of heavy intoxication.

The scenery is breathtaking.

The scenery is breathtaking. Seeing the countryside away from the highways (which are usually heavily populated) you really get to see a different side of the world. Mountains, sunsets, trees, trees, more trees, fields, beautiful country houses, and tiny towns that look like they are from the 1800s. You see random people stopped along the road to wave at you. You see cliffs, lakes, scenery that looks like it has never been touched by man, it’s absolutely incredible.

You can bring anything.

You can bring anything. Unlike most transportation that is available, you can take food, drinks, alcohol, blankets, pillows, and up to 3 bags on for free (each as big as a checked bag on an airplane). My biggest point with this is you can be comfortable. You can have changes of clothes, have some coffee when you want it, a drink when you want it, go to the viewing car and make food (that you brought), and just live like you normally would.

It’s relaxing

The train isn’t stressful, it’s relaxing. The seats are big, normally you’ll have 2 to yourself. You have plugins for all your electronics, the seat is a recliner. You don’t have to stay in your seat, you can go to the dinning car, snack car, viewing car, or just wander around. In the viewing car there usually is a volunteer that rides the train and points out all the interesting historical stuff that you pass through on your journey throughout the day.

My biggest point to hit home when riding the train? You’re there for a long time, sit back relax and love your life because you are seeing and meeting people most people won’t.

I came I saw I travel.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Don't break rule #1

I have a very strict rule when traveling, it's called "The #1":

Don't go hang out in your room unless you are going to bed.

This rule keeps me sane. This rule allows me as a traveler to more/less "tolerate" my lifestyle. I absolutely love my job and my company, but the traveling part can be difficult at times if you cannot manage it. This rule allows me to manage that.. No matter how nice your hotel is, how many channels you have, free room service, or even high speed internet, DO NOT break rule #1.

Unfortunately, like all humans, I am not infallible and broke this rule my first night in Denver at the Hyatt this week. Let me tell you, depression set in, loneliness was my best friend, and I couldn't get motivated to do anything. Even when I finally made it down to the gym I couldn't get motivated to run more than 1 mile (I usually run 3+ miles).  To say the least the only thing I felt like I could do to take the pain away was go to sleep, but even that evaded me that night.

The lesson? Don't break rule #1

Traveling requires an extreme schedule. Lots of planning, but in the midst of that planning, there needs to be comfort. Relaxation. A sense of home. Most important, a sense of normalcy. Staying in your room can bring on the feeling of being trapped, loneliness, and depression. Don't travel because you have to, travel because you want to. In order to make that change you have to LIVE that "traveling" life. 

Staying in your room can bring on the feeling of being trapped, loneliness, and depression.

You're required to be on the clock for 8 hours when traveling (hopefully). The rest is up to you. If you decide you HAVE to be there and there isn't an escape, you will hate it. BUT if you embrace traveling, come up with a strict routine, enjoy the company of strangers, and "Don't go hang out in your room unless you are going to bed"; traveling will be enjoyable.

You are in a new place, if you have to be there, embrace it.

I came I saw, I travel.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Chicago. City of awesome

I personally am a connoisseur of good jazz music. Specifically big band. I went to the Green Mill Thursday night this week and saw Aland Gresik Swing Shift Orchestra. It seriously made my day, week, and month. The music was of the 30's big band music; there were classic commercials, live sining, and of course trumpets. This was by far my best experience of traveling so far. Check it out.

Headed home now. I'm at a United Club right now and really enjoy it. I think I'm going to come here more often. The perks are nearly limitless.

I came, I saw, I travel.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Meeting People

One of the perks of traveling is meeting people. Sometimes you meet the most interesting people at your hotel. People are there for travel, leisure, luxury, modeling, and who knows what else. I have met a guy who was a hard core republican, another guy who travels 90% of his life, and every once in a while you met a special few girls that travel 1/3 of the year, to the same place and same hotel.

These two wonderful women met at the hotel bar, not by chance, but by the bar tenders. Every time they came to the Hyatt Magnificent Mile they would sit at the bar and drink alone. The bar tender noticed this and introduced the two ladies. Since then, they have been best friends at the Hyatt when they travel.

Can you imagine? Every single week traveling to the exact same location, to the same hotel, and the same bar tender? Crazy. Never the less, these ladies taught me something about traveling. When you're a professional traveler, you aren't on vacation, you aren't visiting, and you most definitely aren't foreign..... you are home. When you travel a lot, you have to accept that this is your life. Meaning, no matter how hectic, you have to come up with routines, normalities, and make friends. As crazy as these two women were, they taught me that "life" is not a location, people, or even experiences-- It's YOU. This thought is not in a selfish way, rather; it's a different way to look at how to become happy with the cards that life has given you.

Traveling is my life. I came, I saw, I travel.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I work in an old man's world

You enter middle school and you are the young kid. You enter high school and you are the young kid. You decide to go to a college or university, yet again young. I have entered into another one of these situations with being a trainer in enterprise software. What have I found? It's the same middle school, high school, and college. It's a major learning curve, everyone knows more than you, and worst of all it's hard to relate to anyone.

"Everyone knows more than you and worst of all it's hard to relate to anyone"

What I have in my short 6 months of training around the country is that I am in an area of teaching an old dog new tricks. The companies that I'm working with are used to working with standard enterprise software-- products that have been around since the inception of Microsoft... and the internet. The product that I teach is a completely new concept and going into these companies one of two things happen. 1) I am discredited because I am young and don't understand legacy technologies or 2) developers realize how different the software is and are overwhelmed by the learning curve ahead of them.

"I am in an area of teaching an old dog new tricks."

Personally I hope for option two. :) But to achieve this in any company that I go to is extremely difficult. I have to overcome my age, my lack of legacy technologies, and lastly, I have to know my product inside and out. Realistically the only one I can control is the third option, knowing my product.

"So I am a professional trainer on Adobe Experience Manager."

So I am a professional trainer on Adobe Experience Manager, a new concept and way of thinking about marketing on the web. A complete new stack to work with for enterprise web development. It's 100% built on java and every level of the stack is built off of an open source project. I aim to teach old dogs new tricks because technology never stops. No matter your background, I am now the expert on the most forward way of thinking about marketing on the web. I work tirelessly to ensure that my clients understand this new stack and understand how to utilize it to the fullest.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

New York

This last week I was in New York for a training. This was my longest trip to NYC and I was there for 5 days and 4 nights. My hotel was only a block from Times Square and my office was directly on Times Square. When looking out the window I could see the lights that influence so many that come to this great city.

While there, I stayed in a nice hotel, drank 11+ dollar drinks, enjoyed Times Square at Bar 54 (54 floors above), and had dinners that costed way too much. And the one big thing I realized? This is my life now. I am no longer "that boy from Iowa" or "a guy living simply" or "a human out to change the world"; rather I'm "a man teaching fortune 500 companies how to utilize tools to continue growing larger". In layman's terms, I'm in the corporate world.

Here's the crazy part: I like it. I like not having to worry, I like not thinking about money, I like watching other people live, I like teaching others, and most of all, I like feeling like I contribute to the growth of America and the world.

New York is the cornerstone to everything I once hated with this world and found ridiculous. With it's superficial feelings and views on life. Beating people down, but at the same time giving them hope because it's the "central of the world" and give them a new start in life. It honestly felt that people work to simply live, rather than thinking of the future or a more stable life. I don't know this might just be a personal rant, but it just was something I could never do.

New York, the city that never sleeps. While this may be true, I don't see the value of this. But then again, I am a simple midwesterner just attempting to understand the world.

Next up, San Francisco, my current place of residence.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

To consider this a start, it's be a lie

Though I start this blog today, it's hardly the beginning. When I was living in Iowa I traveled a lot, but that all it was, travel. Now, traveling is living for me. I had my first realization when living in California that the midwest isn't "the right way" of living, rather, it's merely, "a way" of living. In light of this realization, I am traveling around the US (and the world someday) living out other areas and cultures while working.

In the past two years here is my approximated list of the places (and conferences) I have traveled to:

San Francisco, CA
Napa, CA
Lake Tahoe, CA
Los Angeles, CA
San Diego, CA
Seattle, WA
Vancouver, Canada
Pheonix, AZ
Salt Lake City, UT
Dallas, TX
Omaha, NE
Minneapolis, MN
Milwaukee, WI
Chicago, IL
Atlanta, GA
New York City, NY
Providence, RI
Orlando, FL
Detroit, MI
Denver, CO
Laramie, WY

Google IO
Tech Crunch
Ad Week
Adobe Summit

If I think of more, I'll add them later. But this blog will be more than listing place I have been. Rather it will be about the experiences I have, the people I meet, the things I see, and on more of a personal level, the personal struggles that come with traveling.

New York Next week!