So there I was, 300 feet above the Guatemalan jungle, in my socks, talking to some very smart people about my newest book, “The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership.”
Take a look at this picture. None of it is doctored:
All my life I’ve dreamed of traveling to exotic places, seeing the world, and speaking about my passion; helping people communicate more effectively and making work suck less. This is a moment few people will ever experience (or even believe me when I tell them about it.)
I was miles from home and civilization, speaking at the Remote Work Summit, overlooking the jungle and talking about The Long-Distance Leader. Yes, the attendance was less than expected and disappointing, and yes, I was staying in a place with no air conditioning, a bathroom down the trail that I shared with 5 other cabins (and a passive-aggressive scorpion,) it was the rainy season, and when I wasn’t walking through the rain to the banos, my roof leaked. Travel logistics were a nightmare, but I got to see sights like this:
Because of my schedule, I couldn’t stay for the whole conference so I was up at 4:30 Saturday morning for a sometimes-terrifying 6-hour journey to the airport. Passing back through Antigua, I saw Monte Fuego at the end of an alley and took this picture:
Sunday afternoon, my phone blew up with messages, asking if I was safe. Turns out that lovely mountain now looked like this:
Basically the paradoxes of life were encapsulated in this trip:
- I got to travel to an exotic place to speak about my work and met some amazing people, but it wasn’t the financial success I had hoped for. The story of my life.
- It was a frustrating, crazy trip with a lot to whine about, but I saw and experienced things I would never have seen otherwise, and despite the mental and physical exhaustion, I’m grateful to have gone. Also a recurring theme.
- I was bitching about some of the logistics and accommodations, and having to be up at 430 in the morning, and leaving the conference early. Yet I got out before a horrible disaster that has left dozens dead and many people unable to get home. I am one lucky sonofabitch.
If you’d like to see all the pictures from my trip and read some of the commentaries, I have made the flickr page public. Check it out
As a writer, these experiences are priceless. Like the late, great, Steve Goodman once said, “we do it for the stories we can tell.”