In a “past life”, I traveled for business-a lot. I was in sales; do I need to say more? I was one of those exhausted people you pass in the airport security line, shifting from foot to foot in high heels that stopped being comfortable hours ago, wishing I were wearing jeans and a comfy shirt instead of a business suit.
After dragging home more dead than alive because of inevitable flight delays, lost baggage and other road hazards, I decided to take full responsibility for my mood. I might not be able to fix the weather, find my suitcase or fly the plane, but I was completely in charge of what went on inside my head.
I had always made sure that I carried a book; actually, enough books to last in case my plane was delayed. I loved mysteries or espionage stories that took me to a completely different world. Magazines were good, too-fun, informative and visually delicious. I tried walking, window-shopping and listening to music. It all helped take my mind off the worst parts of travel, but something was missing.
I realized that as much fun as the books and magazines were, they didn’t quite hit the spot because they didn’t speak to me in a way that nourished my soul. So I got a blank journal and grabbed some scissors, glue and other supplies and started to fiddle around with an idea that was just taking shape in my mind. What I came up with was so powerful, I’ve got to share it with you as an on-the-road sanity-saver and survival tool, because it changed my whole mindset when it came to business travel.
I realized that I was missing a book that validated and reinforced my personal perspective and encouraged my positive outlook toward my job and the people I worked with. I wanted to have a book that could lift me up, quiet me, encourage and inspire me.
I grabbed a blank journal, the kind you can find in stationery stores and gift shops. I chose something with an attractive and durable cover and lots of blank pages. You want something that feels good in your hand, and something that can stand some wear and tear in your suitcase.
I was already a rabid quote collector, so I started collecting more quotes. I looked for inspiring quotes, hopeful sayings, motivating comments that lifted me up. When you’re creating your own book, look for quotes that take the high road, positive ideas that you respond to. Find inspiring, motivating and encouraging words that remind you that you CAN do it. Seek out quotes that help you get unstuck and that remind you that low points and obstacles are only temporary. Whether the words come from an anonymous source or someone you respect, look for words of wisdom, something that makes you laugh, or advice for overcoming adversity.
I also started to look for pictures that spoke to me. That included snap shots, magazine photos, even photos I printed off the Internet. For me, a visual/photo/postcard/magazine cutout can be instant gratification, a getaway, an escape. It takes me out of the moment like a breath of fresh air or a walk around the block. Photos like that provide a positive distraction, a visual message that is as strong and compelling as a written one. In the books I created for myself, I tried to put together a visual and a quote that enhanced each other.
The books I created gave me personal energy and support after a long day on the road. Some of them lit a fire under me, while others stood by my side. I had somewhere to turn if I needed someone in my corner with unending hope, vision and energy. Or, if I needed motivation to face a tough situation, I knew where to look to find what I needed.
My travel book of quotes and pictures helped me remember that I was part of a larger place and a bigger picture. That helped to put my worries in perspective. It gave me the courage to take risks and go for what I wanted. I credit my travel books with helping me create a wider view and think out of the box. When I was feeling low, my travel books helped me forgive, try again, or get back up and start over. They kept me true to what I really valued, and spoke to me in my own language to help me through tough times.
Life on the road is tough, but you can create your own private oasis. If the idea of creating your own travel book appeals to you, why not give it a shot? Try it, and you might find yourself looking forward to your next business trip!