Finding Zen (and donuts) in Business Travel

I started my first job three days after I graduated college, and that was only because I graduated on a Friday. I've never done a semester abroad, set foot in a hostel, or partaken in a cross-country journey of self-discovery, only to realize that what I really loved was right here at home the whole time.

I'm 40 years old, and I've never even taken a real vacation in my adult life -- the kind where you aren't there to visit or bury someone. My sedentary ass would be easy pickins for a drone strike if it weren't for business travel.

Most people I talk to hate traveling on business. The jet lag, the fast food, the rental cars, and of course, the hotels. "Nothing beats sleeping in your own bed," people say. While there is some truth to that statement, there's something to be said for hearing the "beepbeep" of a properly magnetized key card, walking into a tidy room with a made bed, throwing your stuff on the floor, sitting on the bed for a quick secon-- and then waking up at 3:30am fully dressed with your shoes on, trying to guess where you are. Because once you figure it out, you realize that nobody cares that you passed out, smell like $7 bottles of airplane booze and Designing Women is on TV.

The best part is you pick up the phone, hit zero, and somebody polite not only answers, but they call you Mr. Lin. Then you ask them to wake you up at 6:30. You can't even get your mom to do that anymore! You crawl under the blankets, shoes on or off because it's totally your choice, and fall soundly asleep because you don't have to worry about if you set your alarm for PM instead of AM. 

The next morning, you take a shower, throw your towels on the floor because you can, get dressed, and go do what you have to do. That night when you come back, guess what? Your bed is made, there are clean towels on the rack, your toilet paper has a pointy fold, and you have brand new shampoo. Some of my wildest fantasies don't even involve folded toilet paper!

When you know you've got a decent place to rest your head at the end of the day, everything else just falls into place. I offer some highlights from recent business trips as proof:

I got to fulfill my dreams of driving around like a jerk and still have everyone slow down for me because they think I'm a cop. Nothing like renting a Crown Vic for the week! 


Actually, there is one thing better... and that's driving around like Jack Ryan from Clear and Present Danger. Wearing a suit and driving a Suburban with tinted windows (in Washington DC no less!) makes you feel like a man's man. My only disappointment was that nobody tried to take us out with a rocket-propelled grenade. But fate more than made up for that by granting us a parking space. In NEW YORK CITY. Smack dab in front of THE APPLE STORE, when we were trying to find parking to go to the Apple Store! It was such a sign of divine intervention that we simply left the car there and walked back to the hotel, on principle, and picked it up the next morning. I know... pics or it didn't happen. See below. Amazing.


From the city to the country, I was all over the map the past couple years. And for most of it, Shannon was there to snap the most memorable moments (you should have seen her massive eye roll when snapping that Crown Vic one). But where our opinions differ on police vehicles, we both like donuts and fishing. This one below was snapped two hours before we had to be at a government conference in North Carolina. 


We caught this beauty, pictured below, in Portland. That is a maple bacon donut from the world famous Voodoo Doughnuts. We found this because we saw a line wrapped around a city block and figured something must be good at the end of that line, so we waited. We were so right.


I should really just end this post here because nothing tops a donut with bacon on it. Wait... this just in. Oh yeah, we also caught ourselves a double rainbow! 


Later that year, work brought us to the other side of the world, where I was able to do things that looked really official, like sign documents that celebrated some glorious spirit of partnership or something like that. I don't know. I'm just up there because the suit fits me.


I also got to do some planking. I say that like it's some privilege or something. It's not. It's just idiotic. Which simply ensures that I will do it. 


Here's me failing the "you must be this civilized to ride this ride" test in Shanghai. 


So why am I writing about business travel? Because all successful business trips have one thing in common: a good night's rest at a great hotel. And it just so happens that one of these great hotels is turning 50 this year. You might have guessed that it's the Radisson because you skipped ahead and looked at the graphic below. I cannot control you people. It's frustrating sometimes.

Anyway, Radission is celebrating its anniversary by giving away one room a day for 50 days, through 50 blogs. Today is my day to choose one of you to be the next winner. Just leave a comment by 9pm PST on Friday, Nov. 2 telling me what your favorite thing about hotel living is, and I will throw your name in a hat. Then I will think "This is so stupid and inefficient" and then use instead to choose my winner. 

If you don't win, but want more chances, just go to Radisson's Facebook page for that day's giveaway blog. 

And in case you're wondering, yes, I did get some free hotel stays in lieu of cash compensation for this post. I fully intend to use them, ironically, for non-business travel.