Maybe its that we're all more worried about the money we're spending, or the increasing size of our carbon footprint, or maybe it's just that travel sucks these days, but I've noticed that myself and other fellow road warriors traveling more and enjoying it less. For those of us who are on Twitter, we vent our frustration by tweeting about late planes, obnoxious taxi drivers, uncomfortable hotel beds, bad rental cars and even worse food. We don't care who listens, and it doesn't make it any better, because clearly no one in the travel industry is listening to its customers. (Ever wonder why there's no @USAircares or @Unitedcares? I've come to the conclusion that they really DON'T care, and in the interests of transparency, it's easier to just ignore us than to actually listen.) But somehow, just venting to our Twitterbuds seems to help, at least temporarily. But in the long run, it really doesn't help much.
So I started cogitating on this notion during my last run, and I came to the conclusion that the real problem is the fact that traveling continuously takes us out of our comfort zone. When I'm home, I get up in the morning, turn on NPR, go for a run, listen to some tunes, listen to NPR some more, and eventually head into the office. When I'm on the road, half the time I'm getting up at 4 am to catch an early flight, so not only do I not get to run, there's no early morning coffee looking out at my rock garden, and I miss almost all of Morning Edition. This then makes me incredibly insecure because I now have no clue as to what is happening in the world and I'm afraid someone will find out or ask me to comment, and I won't know what they're talking about. (Actually this has happened. Bruce Horowitz of USA Today called one day for my opinion on the unfolding crisis at the LPGA. I had to ask him what the LPGA was J. Needless to say my quote was exceptionally pithy that day.)
But now I've found the cure. My friend Ryan Donovan, the new VP of Internal and External communications at SanDisk was kind enough to send me a new SanDisk Sansa, which in my mind, is the perfect electronic device. Not only is it every road warrior's fantasy companion, but as a runner it fits perfectly in those teeny tiny pockets at the front of my running shorts. What more could you ask?
First of all, I have to admit that I have resisted buying an iPOD since they first came out. I had a perfectly good MP3 player, and then later a perfectly good HP iPAQ which was my phone, my camera and my MP3player. It's now starting to die, and can't be fixed, and so while I'm waiting for my T-Mobile G1 to come in, I started looking around at alternatives and realized that I've lost any love for the all-in-one concept. While it's great to have a camera with me when I run, it's not so wonderful to have your phone ring just as you're topping the steepest hill on your run and realize it's that client you've been trying to reach for a week. Somehow "Hello," pant pant pant pant – makes it tough on the caller to know if you're having a heart attack or having sex, and either way, it's not what you want your client to think.
So I was thrilled to get my Sansa and even more thrilled to figure out how to make it work. Here's another confession, having never used an iPOD, I didn't' know what that round thing did J I could see the headlines now - Social Media Measurement guru calls SanDisk help desk, support teams puts questions up on YouTube. I felt like one of those idiots who call the help line because they couldn't get their cup holder to work. It made me realize once again what a culture shift Apple had wrought in eliminating buttons and other anachronisms.
But by far the most delightful part was finding that twirling that magic thumbdial brought up NPR. So this morning, for the first time, I got into a cab with Nina Totenberg and Maura Liasson. I practically skipped thru Detroit airport security, calmed by the dulcet tones of Steve Inskeep. Then I missed my bus in Boston and cheerfully waited for the next one.. All without a single whine or tweet, thanks to the delightful diversion of Morning Edition, BBC World Service and OnPoint. This thing is better than drugs or aromatherapy! So thank you Ryan, and everyone else out there who's been dealing with me of late, I apologize, but you too owe a big round of thanks to Ryan Donovan and SanDisk.