My job has always involved travel, which I’ve truly loved. In fact, working as a travel presenter for the BBC for five years was hands down the best job I’ve ever had - travel expanded my horizon and thinking in so many ways.
When my son Ben, now aged 10, was born, the travelling didn’t really stop. It was a case of ‘have baby, will travel’. But when he started school, I knew I had to change the way I thought about my career. And although I still manage to get away, I just do it in a much shorter space of time and pack every device known to man so I can stay connected to home.
Nowadays I do so many different things, be that a conference in Tel Aviv or travelling the UK for interviews and hosting. The major difference with travelling now is that I need to make sure I can still work, I seem to never switch off. In fact, as I type this blog I’m on a family holiday, and I’ve become adept at turning any location into an office, which in a digital world has never been easier.
This is why I never travel without at least 5,000 chargers (OK, slight exaggeration) and I always need to check if there’s proper Wi-Fi where ever I stay because I always need to be connected.
There’s been times that I’ve been in some very remote locations on shoots, such as Nepal and Bangladesh, and I’ve literally been on a mountain side – just me and some goats – trying to get a bar of signal on the phone.
FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp and Google hangouts are the things you live and die by when you’re away for both work and family.
It’s never easy being away from home, but I use FaceTime to stay in touch with my son Ben. If I’m away it means he’s normally with my parents, so I invariably end up FaceTiming my mother’s cheek or my dad’s left nostril for half an hour because they haven’t quite grasped it! I also swear by a good old fashioned phone call – I am always chatting with on my way to a meeting or when I have a bit of downtime during a work break.
After years spent on travel shows, the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to step outside your itinerary and your hotel. I never just turn up, crash in the hotel room and turn on the TV.
Instead, I ask the hotel for the best running routes for wherever I am - there’s no better way to discover a place than by foot.
It also gives me much needed breathing space, so I can clear my head before the day starts or call home for a chat, but with the added joy of seeing much more than just the inside of my hotel room!
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