Allen On Travel

A 30 year veteran of world travel (but knows nil about Orlando-area attractions), Will Allen III writes about his weekly odysseys by air on business and how the airlines rob him--and you--of time, the most precious commodity on earth. Time: It's all we have, and the airlines routinely take it from us. This blog challenges the airlines to keep their basic promises.

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

Born 1948 in Kinston, NC and raised there in beautiful eastern North Carolina, I now live in Raleigh and commute around the country and the world.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

May, Month of Respite

I realized this morning that I have not written anything about travel since late April. Good Lord!

This blog was created to relieve travel stress, and when I am not traveling, I normally don't write. I am not traveling right now, not much anyway. I am resting again, as I did this time last year.
It's all part of my grand plan to gradually wean myself away from the air travel maelstrom that defines going to the airport in America today. Maybe to semi-retire, but especially to stay home more and be with wife and kids (I have two young ones). That's what life is all about, really. There is no quality of life playing the airport/airline game.

Truth be told, it's not just the air travel hell. I have toiled away as a consultant for 30 years and counting, and I have worked for my share of boutique consulting firms, most of them owned by highly-driven individuals with elaborate, uncataloged eccentricities. In fact some of those owners have personalities that border on pathological. But, being a good open-minded and tolerant democrat, I am not much bothered by their peculiarities. Unless they fail to put the client's interests ahead of their own.

Regardless of business calling, one must drive forward by a set of professional values. We all do, whether we realize it or not. Values are what we live by; values define us.

As a consultant, I live by this simple principle: Always do what's right for the client first, no matter what.

There are times when my interpretation of what's best and right for the client differs significantly from that of the consulting firm owner. Usually I can figure that out early in a relationship, and that's just what happened to me recently.

And that's why I chose to politely exit, and why I am here at home, not traveling, with no income, and loving it. Life is too short to work for people I perceive to be greedy and arrogant fools, and I try not to do it.

This isn't a revelation I discovered as I got older. I have lived my sixty years pretty much that same way. Over the years, though, I've gotten better at reading people, and my trigger point is more finely tuned now than ever.

So I am not flying these days, though that's about to change. I have two upcoming trips that will put me at the mercy of the airlines again, one to New Orleans in late May, and another to London in June. The London jaunt looks to be horrendously expensive, even more so than my short stint there in February.

Until then I content myself with the rewarding physical labor of yard work, taking my kids to you-name-it (soccer, piano lessons, Chinese class, swimming, ad infinitum), cleaning up the house and my home office, routinely doing the family laundry, eating healthy meals, taking long bike rides on Raleigh's greenways, catching up on movies I've missed on DVD, and reading a few good books. In other words, things you can't do much of holed up in some hotel on the road.

Staying at home is really a great way to relax and rest the mind, and I feel wonderful!


Blogger Bill said...

I'm really glad to see you having a nice time at home.
As for putting the client first, I had expected you are that way. From what I can tell, you are one of those people with extremely high values.
I just noticed a plane on the way to Regina that had a fire, and I am certainly glad you were not on that one. I believe it is the same route you took! Fortunately, it landed safely in Fargo.

5/08/2008 6:00 PM  
Blogger William A. Allen III said...

Thank you, Bill, for your kind words.

As for putting the client first, all you can do is try. I don't claim to always be right, but I have more confidence in my own moral compass than I do in some people's.

Thanks, too, for the pointer about the Regina-bound NW flight that caught fire. I read the story, and I could relate all too well how those people felt. Perhaps you read my blog entry last year about the Embraer AA Eagle flight from RDU that caught fire with me on board. Our plane also landed safely, but I still reflect on what might have happened.

5/08/2008 10:01 PM  

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