KELLY HAGEN: That’s So Hagen — Business Travelers Have To Know How To Play The Part

When you think about it, pretty much all work involves travel. Unless you work at home. But, even then, you probably have to pull yourself out of bed to get to whatever it is you do.

Unless you’re a paid tester for bed mattresses. But I assume there’s some kind of process by which you send in your reports. Maybe it’s electronic. I guess you could use your laptop from bed. You’ve got to get out of that bed sometime, though. Everyone travels, to the bathroom, at least.

Not my hand. Not my suitcase.

I travel for work. Long distances. The further along I’ve gone in my career path, the more I’ve had to travel.

When I started, I was working for a newspaper, and when you work for a newspaper, and that newspaper has a city’s name in its masthead, most of what people are reading your newspaper for is news exclusive to the community whose name is printed in big letters at the top of the front page. So I never traveled much. I went to Medora, N.D., once on an assignment. They didn’t let me ride on any horses, though. That’s my usual metric for how much fun I’m allowed to have: How many horses will they let me ride?

I’m traveling right now, though. To Chicago. I’ll be there for less than a day, so no one needs to go water the plants at my house. In fact, I’d be kind of creeped out if I got home tomorrow and someone had watered the plants. Don’t do that.


Traveling professionally is different from traveling personally. For me, traveling personally usually involves flying through the air in a large tube with a screaming infant or two attached to my wife or me, which is my own personal hell. So, we don’t travel in our regular lives all too very much.

I travel out-of-state for work one or two times per year. And I travel in-state all the time. It’s my job. Have you ever been to Zeeland, N.D.? Velva, N.D.? Chandahaska? I made that last one up, so don’t ask Google Maps for directions there. Unless you’re an adventurer.

Are you an adventurer? I’d like to learn more about you. (Blogger Kelly Hagen can be reached atthatssohagen@icloud.com, if you’re interested.)

There was a time in my life when I traveled across the country four times or more per year. I had two jobs at the time. Because why settle for one job when you can have two? Or three?

The key to traveling professionally is knowing what you’re doing. Or at least looking like you know what you are doing.

The first time I flew somewhere for work, I had no idea what I was supposed to do once I landed at the airport, alone in San Antonio. “Get a cab,” read the first item on the list written in red ink on Hello Kitty notepad paper that my world-traveling wife wrote for me.

I find that steam off putting, too.

How do I get a cab indoors? I gave a thumbs up and whistled at every traveler who made eye contact with me. Which weren’t many, after the first one. None of them gave me a ride, but I’m pretty sure I invented Uber.

I found a cab, among a line of cabs that just sit outside of the airport waiting for me and other people who call themselves “me.” The driver asked me where I was going, and I thought he meant professionally, and so I gave him my speech about how I’d planned to be in college, but things hadn’t really turned out for me and the bad economy and all that.

He consoled me while I cried awhile but wouldn’t call my mother to tell her that she raised a good son. So, he drove me to a hotel, instead.

Did you know you’re supposed to tip cab drivers? I didn’t. So I didn’t. And I still feel really bad about it.

The key to business travel is confidence. Look like you know what you’re doing. Even if you don’t.


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