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In a little less than 60 days, I’m going on a journey of 6,000 miles that I’ve named “The Long Drive.” The Long Drive will last about a month and cover a good portion of the U.S. with stops planned in about a dozen cities. Why would I want to do this? Because I’ve decided to prove to myself that I can work anywhere that I happen to be living life at the moment. The how of this adventure has proven to be a bit more challenging than I originally planned.
How a single mouse click started the planning
I’ve talked about this journey for about a year. It started out as a fantasy and then moved to dream status. The difference? Dreams can be realized and we think fantasies are things we’ll never really do. Then on a quiet Saturday afternoon, the long drive became a plan. I was sitting on the couch watching something mindless on TV when I realized that trying to plan a 30-day driving trip in my head was never going to result in that trip happening. I got off the couch, sat in front of my computer and opened two tabs in my browser. In one tab I had a blank Google Calendar displaying the month of February and Google Maps in the other tab ready to plan how far I could get each day.
And just like that I was in full on planning mode. I knew there were a few places I wanted to go on this trip and some of them had firm dates for when I had to be there. Armed with this information, I started working backwards from being in Miami from Feb. 27 to March 1 for a trade show to being in Breckenridge, Col., for a couple days of skiing to start the long drive. In between those two destinations, I plan to visit clients and/or friends in Phoenix, Dallas, Houston and Orlando.
A little more about the trip
The goal of The Long Drive is to have a little fun while visiting customers and avoiding cold weather for as long as I can. Yes, I know it’s odd to start the trip with two days of skiing in the mountains of Colorado, but skiing is something I love and don’t make enough time to enjoy lately. I also want to complete the journey on a budget. I’ll be driving my own car, a 2008 Audi A4 with all-wheel drive and brand new tires, so the mountains and bad weather shouldn’t slow me down too much. I’ll be using Hilton Honors points I’ve accumulated over the last couple of years to offset some of the more expensive hotels I’m choosing to stay in for the fun parts of the trip.
It’s a social media experiment as well
Since a significant portion of this trip will involve business, I’m going to start a column on the Business Travel Exclusive website I co-founded. I’ll post there several times a week about how life on the road for a month impacts my ability to do business. I’m sure aspects of the trip will work their way into the weekly blog posts I’ve been publishing on this site as well. Of course if you know me at all, you know that the trip will dominate my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media feeds. This is where I get off into the land of fantasy and dreams again, and perhaps you can help some dreams become reality.
It might be fun to …
One of the ideas I’ve been kicking around is looking for logical sponsors for the trip. It sure would be nice for a national restaurant chain to provide a gift card so I could frequent their joints and tweet about it. Or what about a gas card from an oil company to keep the Audi all gassed up? Oh, and I’d welcome and entertain an offer from Hilton or another national hotel brand for them to be the exclusive hotel of The Long Drive. I know this sponsorship component is a stretch, but at one point the entire trip was a fantasy, so I’m throwing it out there in case you have ideas to help make sponsorship a reality. Who knows? With enough sponsorship and a nice vehicle wrap, we might even be able to score some media attention and interviews to help promote the brands that help out.