Sometime in the past six weeks or so I passed 100,000 flight miles (160,000 km) since I started this position.
I was getting a bit smug about passing this level as I was sitting at a table on a cool night in April in the Himalayas with some colleagues, enjoying war stories and Indian rum. And I made the mistake of mentioning my travel to a far more senior member of our company. She gave a little smile that said, Yes, that’s nice, John. But I shall remain silent about my travel.
Why do we need to travel so much in an era of cheap telecommication? I’m not completely certain. But I felt a little defensive on the subject while chatting with an engineer at a large computer company who worked on high-end videoconferencing techniques. Would our products help you keep from traveling so much? No, I said. I used Skype all the time, and if I can’t reduce my travel with Skype then I don’t see where a higher-end version would help any.
She seemed very skeptical. In most of the places where I work, if I can’t smell the person I’m talking to, I’m probably not standing close enough. This is conservation, but it’s still about people too, and people are about relationships. And relationships are very high bandwidth. She listened, perhaps not agreeing but willing to tolerate my answer.
The captain says we land in 15 minutes.