c.2013 New York Times News Service
c.2013 New York Times News Service
Iíve been traveling my entire life. My dad was an importer who traveled quite a bit to Asia back in the 1960s. So I think my family was actually bred to travel.
I am a serial entrepreneur, and at one point in my career when I was opening our supply offices for my semiconductor business, I had to travel to about 30 countries. For the last seven years, as the founder of Make Meaning, Iíve been traveling to meet with investors and to source ideas and inspiration for new craft experiences to offer in our stores.
Itís good that I donít mind the travel and that I am a good flier.
I like the commercial flight experience. Iím not the private jet kind of guy. I like to connect with people, and if someone wants to talk thatís fine with me. I donít work on flights. Iíd much prefer to sleep, read or talk to someone. When you have your own business, you are working all the time, so taking a few hours during a flight to relax helps recharge a person. Itís wonderful.
Business travel can have some unintended consequences. At one point I was spending a lot of time in Asia, and I met this woman from Australia who was going to manage a bed-and-breakfast in Italy. We started visiting each other a lot and she eventually decided to come to the United States and move in with me. She didnít know anyone here, and she was getting a little lonely when I went to work. She was a huge animal lover so I decided to buy her a cat, a beautiful Tonkinese that cost me about $900.
Eventually the relationship ended, and she decided to move back to Australia. She couldnít take the cat with her right away, so I kept it. The cat, named Jade, decided she hated me. It was not pleasant.
I am a good traveler. I know how to make dollars stretch. I know the right paperwork I need to get into countries to do business. I did not know what it would take me to fly an animal to Australia. I have never been so confused in my life. The amount of red tape was insane, and I even had to get the cat what amounted pretty much to a kitty passport. The catís trip cost me about $3,000. I couldnít even use any of my own frequent-flier miles for her. The cat did arrive safely and is healthy and happy. I, however, was a little broke for a bit.
When you take the time to get to know someone sitting next to you on a flight, you might be able to make a connection that is meaningful. I was on a trip to Mexico City, and the woman sitting next to me was extremely nervous. She told me she might be crawling all over me because she was so afraid, but she was embarrassed about her fear because her daughter was sitting a few rows behind her. She did not want her daughter to be worried about her. She asked if she could hold my hand during takeoff. I said sure.
The woman had a grip like you wouldnít believe, and it was clear she was terrified. She held on to my hand for about 10 minutes, and then she was OK. We laughed a little about it, and she was so grateful.
It might not seem like much, but it was very important to her and it was a great experience for me to connect on that level with a fellow flier, even if my hand did hurt a little bit for the rest of the flight.
Q: How often do you fly for business?
A: It varies; anywhere from once to twice a month, mostly domestic.
Q: Whatís your least favorite airport?
A: La Guardia. It is only 15 minutes from my house, so it teases me with its convenience, but the delays once Iím there make me crazy.
Q: Of all the places youíve been, whatís your favorite?
A: Africa. It makes me feel as if I am on a different planet. The beauty of the continent is overwhelming.
Q: Whatís your secret airport vice?
A: Doritos. Actually, I have a lot of vices, but I am a purist about my airport Doritos. I have to have the Nacho Cheese flavor.