My flight from Zurich to Munich was on time, which was a good start to journey home to Toronto. It has been a year since I have traveled outside of North America and a few since I did so almost weekly.
The rituals of business travel came back to me faster than I thought, from packing efficiently to researching local transit and store schedules. I even remembered to take melatonin pills on the overnight flight to regulate my sleep cycle and minimize jet lag. I was back in the business traveler zone.
What I had forgotten were the many benefits of international travel, which help counterbalance the losses of leaving your family. They are often unexpected, exciting and inspiring. Here are the ones that I noticed this week:
- Experience a new culture — day-to-day differences in culture are fascinating. I feel like pinching myself every time I am abroad
- Increase your knowledge — reading local magazines and newspapers provide glimpses of what is important
- Broaden your perspectives — talking with people about their lives expands your frame of reference and makes you more tolerant of different realities
- See old friends — this trip I saw great people who I had worked with many years ago The highlight was being invited out to dinner by an old friend and his wife (a new friend)
- Practice your manners — a test of character, especially when things go wrong and you don’t speak the local language
- Take time for reflection — the best time to reflect is when you are in a new environment, without distraction of your regular commitments and schedule
My second flight of the day, from Munich to Toronto, is also posted as being on time. It looks like I will return home without incident, tired and motivated. I don’t want to forget my new experiences so I can make the most of my business travel.