Sunday, March 16, 2008

Packing, Unpacking and Travel

I used to look forward to business trips. Flying to a new city was an adventure. One of my colleagues posted the “Cities I’ve Visited” by on Facebook. So I gave it a test drive. (See the map half-way down my Facebook page, here: .) Working through the application prompts I uncovered over 180 cities I’ve visited around the world, most through my work. You may expect that for someone working for Save the Children and NetHope. But in fact most of my travel occurred before I joined these organizations.

There are members of my staff and management team who love to travel. It’s a major motivator for them. So I give away most of my travel budget to them. After all, a nonprofit does not have monetary rewards like stock options and bonus plans. Our people will tell you that our mission is the primary reward. In addition, flexible time, a family friendly environment and travel around the world to visit our field programs and work with our field staff are all rewards of working for an international nonprofit. Managers would do well to heed the motivators!

So what has this got to do with finally arriving at Tuck/Dartmouth? Packing for a few days or week is routine. Packing for three months is something else. I started with lists, and checked them twice, feeling a bit of Santa Claus outside the season. I did not think my car was going to hold all the books, clothes and gear I had assembled on my kitchen floor this morning. It all finally fit, with a suitcase tied to the roof rack along with my cross country skis (This is northern New Hampshire :). Thankfully the unpacking was quicker. I settled into to my new quarters this evening and had my first meal in a charming abode the school is graciously providing.

Someone asked me what books I packed for my sojourn. So here’s a quick tour. I have some of my business classic favorites by Tom Peters and Jim Collins. I also have The Broadband Explosion and Forces for Good. The newest one I picked up is titled The Corporate Mystic. I saw it on a bookshelf at Cap Gemini in DC last week and felt the title alone was well worth the purchase :). I'm reading a book on simplicity, technology and art, and two on the future. I also have Muhammad Yunus' latest book on CD, and the Learning Company lectures on Existentialism for a bit of context.

For personal reading, I packed my favorite books of poetry by William Stafford, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, William Carlos Williams, Galway Kinnell and Donald Hall. I want to finish Sluyter's Zen Commandments and David Whyte's Crossing the Unknown Sea both which I'm parked in the middle of. I also brought along David's CD on "The Opening of Eyes; the poetry of intimacy and imagination." I packed Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet and W. Sloane Coffin's Letters to a Young Doubter, both of which are models for one of my book projects. Finally I have an old paperback novel by Iain Pears.

I've kept a list of what I'm reading from time to time on my personal web site, which is already a year out of date. I'll make a point of updating that next! Here’s the link:!OpenDocument

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