Surely traveling is about meeting people, isn’t it? Surely.
Still, now that I am traveling much less, I have started using travel to meet people in a different way, and I feel this does better justice to the value of travel.
I think this different traveling pattern is going to last, and will spread to more and more of us who will travel in person less and less. Advanced telecommunications help this, still I believe the root cause of this evolution is deeper and more significant.
Traveling consumes quite some energy. Traveling fast consumes much more. So does traveling comfortably, and the two effects compound each other. The abundance of fast, comfortable, cheap travel in the few generations before and after mine has depended strictly on the abundance of cheap energy. [Doubts? Check out David MacKay’s “Sustainable Energy – without the hot air“!]
Yes, advances in transportation technology and processes have been significant and much more apparent; still, cheap energy has enabled them and made them valuable.
If this is likely, then our immediate descendants will probably travel less casually and more consciously and carefully, and we may find ourselves embarassed at telling them stories of when we dashed 500 miles away and back in one day to look few persons in the eye, or zipped weekly back and forth between countries a few thousand miles apart to coordinate teams.
So, what have I started doing?
Since this year, I have chosen to make the most of being in a different location, whenever I do travel there, by seeking those of my friends and colleagues that live or work near my destinations, and if practical meeting them.
So far this year, this has meant München – Munich – and Los Angeles.
They may be my only trips this year. They may have been my last trips to those destinations ever. And that’s perfectly fine.
The value of the additional meetings I could arrange in both towns, for business and personal growth, has been significant. So has the value of reaching out to people to agree we will better meet another time. See my business blog for one example.
I look forward to making the time and effort to meet as many as possible of my closest contacts in as many as possible of my future trips.