Lessons from my World Travels

1 Aug

earth junk

I accomplished what few Americans do before 65 – I took two vacations in one month. I’m not bragging as it comes with its share of challenges (being away from Minnesota for 3 out of 4 weeks requires a little juggling of the demands of work and home, plus you really miss your kids if you don’t bring them along!).

On the first trip, I traveled solo to Sweden to visit my brother’s family living there and the second trip was to Colorado with my girlfriend. June was a fantastic voyage, but I’m more than happy to be back to the “norms” of Minnesota summer!

From a business practicum, what stands out to me about this past month is people. Being a traveling extrovert, I met many great Swedes and Coloradans, plus a horrible woman in Denver. There were many transactional exchanges at airports and gas stations that even surprised me.

I was reminded that I’m always in the “elevator” with the next potential client… and if I don’t think of that, then I miss opportunities. I imagine that a prospect could be sitting on the park bench right next to me. There were two connections I made in Colorado that could lead to new business for Blue Octopus!

The Good 

  • Many kind people and fellow travelers. Especially outside the U.S., I was blown away by some of their helpfulness. a.) One man walked me four blocks out of his way to help me with directions. b.) On a bike ride in Sweden, I was stopped by some locals and offered a beer as they sat on a bar patio. c.) In Stockholm, I met a woman in their legislature who chatted with me over fish and chips. She returned to the restaurant to make sure we connected on LinkedIn.
  • Even more great customer service people. a.) A bartender walked into the restroom to quietly warn me about the drunk we were sitting next to in Denver (suggesting we slide down a couple spots). b.) I think the woman from KLM airlines held an entire flight for me for 5 minutes; at the very least, she made sure my bag got on the plane as I ran to the gate. c.) I was navigating the light rail in Denver one day and this woman helped me figure out the confusing transfer to a second bus (“come with me, I’m going that way!”).
The Bad 

  • I’m not going to get into specifics on Mariah in Denver, but it was the worst customer service I’ve ever received in my life.
  • I had six flights in total – I was bumped twice and two other times the plane was delayed by more than 90 minutes. Apparently when you check that little Terms & Conditions box, you are agreeing that they can overbook the flight and you might get bumped. Airlines like United, Spirit and Frontier are unbelievably bad… I’ve always had more luck with KLM, Delta and Southwest.


The 8 Things I Learned:
  • You never know when/where you’ll find the next client – and you don’t have to be wearing a suit. So always be friendly and say please and thank you.
  • The Mariahs (sorry nice Mariahs) are everywhere. They wear the same face at work or play. I try to stay as far away from them as possible as they’ll pull you apart (clients, candidates, family or friends).
  • When meeting someone for the first time, assume their dog died today. I’m a spazz that jumps to conclusions. People have good days and bad days – if you return their attack on the bad day, they will reciprocate (often understandably).
  • Never ever visit the IRS office (a story for another day).
  • Ask for help. From my experience, 50% of the world LOVES to help their fellow man. So, if your Google Maps isn’t connecting, then ask the first friendly-looking person for directions.
  • Don’t ask the other 50% for help. They are Mariah. They carry a neutral or negative vibe (i.e. people who don’t make eye contact) … and it is easy to see by their eyes and body posture or words that they are exchanging with the person next to them.
  • Don’t refinance your house in between two vacations. I won’t bore you with the details…
  • Be brave. Fear is the #1 reason we don’t discover new opportunities or meet new people. Get comfortable asking for help and looking stupid. It’s all in your head. If your mind gets foggy, then take a nap or go to bed early (you are on vacation!). The only other reason you don’t ask for directions is laziness.

Make it a great day~ Drew



It’s time to grow faster.



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