Working remote 100% of the time gives me the ability to control so many elements of my life like meals, self-care, workout schedule, and dog care, and I never worry about commute time, inclement weather, finding the meeting room, or being on time for meetings. I do travel on a regular basis and it feels like summer camp to see all my work friends in 3D rather than (brilliant) HD.
But being away from my perfect bubble of control causes me a level of stress because I love my home. I love my DX. I love my dog. I love my routine. When I’m on trips, I bring workout clothes (but never work out), I eat all the wonderful food where ever I am (of course I’ll share a dessert!… every night, and yeah sure, at lunch), we stay out late catching up, and I don’t sleep as well. I end up feeling emotionally ragged and really not quite myself. I run on coffee and usually have one cry over something that normally wouldn’t push me over the edge.
And THEN when I come back home I have what I call the “vacation hangover” where it takes a week (or more) to get back in my flow. I’m sad my bed isn’t made for me, food doesn’t just magically appear, and I’m lonely because all my work friends are not around. It’s just me again. And I have to unpack my luggage, wash clothes, buy groceries, catch up on all the work I missed and then somehow have enough energy to workout?
When I was given the chance to go to Cisco Live Barcelona this year, I was excited for the chance to not only attend but also represent Webex Adoption at the World of Collaboration and present three times. But also apprehensive.
For this trip, I was determined to stay in a routine of self-care and balance to see if that would help both with how I felt during my travel but also getting back to my normal life.
Three weeks before my trip I enlisted the help of a lifestyle coach to help me. I was not messing around. They helped me put together an eating and workout plan not just for travel but for my every day that looked to address my energy and performance. Within the first week, I felt the effects of adding fuel to my body in a more thoughtful, measured, balanced and regular basis. Now – could I do it at Cisco Live, outside my controlled environment? (To show you how much I believed in myself I didn’t even pack workout shoes.)
The Cisco Live planning team must have heard my cosmic intentions because they incorporated so many elements that made my goals much easier. The doors opened at 10:30 every morning so I had time to have breakfast, workout, meditate, check Teams and still be on time for the day.
There were options for healthy foods including all-day access to fruits and veg for snacks, food trucks, sandwiches, salads, and an international food hall. There were several halls dedicated to quiet meet up spaces including cabins and an indoor forest. They also built-in activities to take a break and socialize, with various outdoor lounges, live music all day, and an interactive shadow installation. There was a Social Impact Zone where attendees could build a bike for charity and join an immersive experience called the Rain Wall.
I even used bicycle power to make a smoothie and played Boules (similar to bowls and bocce) in an indoor park. The event halls were also spread out, so walking through the sunny walkways to each area offered an opportunity to take a break from being fully immersed in the announcements, networking, speakers, and solutions exploration. I was really impressed with the amount of effort put into making the event one where people could come to learn but also take time away from the main events to connect with each other, interact, recharge, and even disconnect. In the end, having the ability to take care of myself made sure I was more present for meetings, more rested for my talks, and more able to absorb the massive amount of exciting information that was shared.
I’m proud to report I was able to stick to my coach’s plan by ensuring I had structure and also flexibility. I’m also proud to be a part of an organization that planned this massive event for the whole person building in components for self-care, give back, solitude and fun.
How do you stay balanced and “yourself” when traveling? What have you been wow’ed by at other large events? Share your tips in the comments and I might even share my secret recipe for my morning drink.