Sleeping in different places and time zones….

Part of being a world traveler is the ability to sleep in different beds and timezones as required.  This is one aspect of travel that wears you down… so I had to figure out way to make the best out of it… as I woke up on Feb 1st in India, I looked back at Jan 2013 and realized where I have been… so here it is:

Date Place Slept Time Zone
1 Jan 2013 Scottsdale Mountain +/- 0 Hrs
2-6th Jan 2013 Vancouver, Canada Pacific -1 Hrs
7th Jan 2013 Scottsdale Mountain +/- 0 Hrs
8-10th Jan 2013 Atlanta Eastern + 2 Hrs
11-14th Jan 2013 Scottsdale Mountain +/- 0 Hrs
15th Jan 2013 On a Plane Eastern – GMT + 7 hrs
16th Jan 2013 Mumbai, India Indian +12.5 Hrs
17-18th Jan 2013 Hyderabad, India Indian +12.5 Hrs
19th Jan 2013 Rajahmundry, India Indian +12.5 Hrs
20-21st Jan 2013 Hyderabad, India Indian +12.5 Hrs
22-23rd Jan 2013 Agra, India Indian +12.5 Hrs
24th Jan 2013 Jaipur, India Indian +12.5 Hrs
25-26th Jan 2013 New Delhi, India Indian +12.5 Hrs
27-31st Jan 2013 Hyderabad, India Indian +12.5 Hrs

No Wonder, I feel a little tired at the end of the January 🙂

Employee, Colleague, Friend and Life Coach… a Tribute to Janett

This is probably not a rambling… it is a heartfelt tribute to Janett Chambers.

I met Janett in 2005, she was the project manager for a client I was trying to work with.  Then she started working part-time for us and eventually became full time in 2006.  She had a demeanor that even some of the customers were scared of… which came from experience, attention to detail and overall confidence.  Some customers wanted to change project manager since she tried to keep them honest.  Even I sometimes used wonder who worked for whom…

In 2007 she accepted to take the role of Director of Development and probably created most of the structure we have now in India office.  Her contribution to getting things organized is invaluable. In 2008 May when we moved the offices to Jacksonville, she didn’t make the move, because she was not comfortable in being part of the bigger group I was joining… we kept in touch now and then.  She went on to become part of a Traffic Systems company in Scottsdale and was traveling a bit…

Before I moved back to Arizona in 2011 Jan, I found out she was not working because of an illness and didn’t have many details.  I tried to contact her via Facebook and one email I had and after a few months finally got in touch with her around October 2011. I met with her in person and noticed she is a little weaker physically but had the same personality and openness to life.  I heard her stories of her struggle with Cancer (details omitted due to personal respect).. and I didn’t realize that she is still going through regular treatment and not in remission.

She started her own company to be a Life Coach and wanted to work with me on a couple of projects.  That re-engagement has become one of crucial turning points of my career.  Our sessions were intense, she was able to get me to refocus on my goals and motivation.   Since then, I was able to get the Training Institute I wanted going, Expanded the office and went from 20 then to 40 currently and changed our approach to customers and projects.

Her next biggest contribution came in November 2011, when she came to Cabo with the other project managers we had at that time and worked with everyone on dealing with customers, situations, creating structure, etc.  I think we had a couple of breakthroughs for people during that week.  She was weak, still dealing with Cancer and not able to stay up late, but did her best to engage.  She I traveled from Phoenix to Cabo together and when we got on the plane she said: “This is my first trip out of US in all these years (she had to get passport just for this trip) and I usually don’t trust people on what they can do, but I know you will take care of everything for us, so I decided to come”… I didn’t realize the importance of that statement till later.

After our trip she worked on a few more things and early 2012 started to wind down due to the demands of her treatments and kept in touch via emails.  She used to send me emails about various topics – the last one was in March 2012 called “How to Change Perspective” – Part 2.  In April, I got another email given me an update that she adjusted her new routine and would start writing again on a regular basis.  I got busy with opening of new office and growth and noticed she is no longer on Facebook either.  I dreaded the worst and couldn’t pull myself to call or write to her.

Then just before Christmas, her son called to talk to me a project me and Janett started working for him and he is ready to start on it again, after a few updates, I asked “I hate to ask how is your mom doing?” – and he was silent for a minute and said “Prasad I thought you knew, that Janett passed away in October.  She didn’t want to have a funeral, so we didn’t make an announcement”.  After that I am not sure what I talked him about, but it hit me that I lost one of my best friends, well wisher and role models… It is tough to keep it together every time I remember about her.

Her last email to me asked me to do one thing (quoted below).

“I have asked my friends and family to launch a star it’s only $1.00 to make it happen. I like the idea of the sky filled with my stars. You can attached to another group or start your own group.”

I still kick myself that I didn’t have a star for her in time… So my request to you is take time and fill the sky with stars for someone you care about and fighting cancer. I feel blessed that I crossed paths with Janett and may her soul rest in Peace!!

You call that a Carry-On??

Ever since airlines started charging for checked in bags, this whole carry on situation gotten out of control.  You see people trying to carry as much as they can without having to spend any money… who can blame them?

Now, the so called frequent travelers can check bags for free, but they all bring carry-ons also to “Save time” – I am part of a couple of travel blogs, where I read people saying checking bags wastes them time, they lose their bags, etc.  In 2012, I had one bag delay total of all flights.. small price to pay instead of dragging them everywhere.  I do agree sometimes you have to wait for bag, but I am in no hurry to run to the hotel and sit at bar or rush home to go to bed, so I factor in the wait into my travel.. In fact, I started walking to the baggage claim in Atlanta airport, which can take 10-15 minutes so by the time I get to the baggage claim, 99% of time bags are already there… just walking with a backpack around terminal has set me FREE!!

Now, the carry on bags created problems in other areas…

Boarding – everyone is rushing to get on first since baggage bins seems to be running out fast.  Even in First Class, you see the same, actually worse, they bring on 2 big bags and try to get it in quickly… with my backpack situation, I am more relaxed to board since it fits under the seat.

But the reason I started this topic today was the experience I had at security check point.  If you saw the movie “Up In The Air” – you probably noticed the stereotyping George Clooney does on which security line to choose… in fact, the situation is very real, sometime you have to switch lanes if there a family with 2 kids and strollers… it takes them time to unpack everything and pack up on the other side of X-Ray – again, not complaining, just happens all the time… then this morning, I thought I picked the line that seems to be moving fast, the guy infront seem to be very organized and BAM!!! Not one, not two, not three… count 5 – that is how many bins he needed – between the 2 bags he was carrying he pulled out stuff that reminded me a rabbit out of hat magic trick and then add on the 2 layers of jackets and 2 laptops, even the TSA agent came and asked if all this stuff was his.. never seen that in my travel life before.. teaches me a lesson to not stereotype 🙂

So thinking out loud… will this get better? Nope, it will only get worse as baggage fees seem to generate a lot of revenue for airlines… so patience and understanding are the only way to deal with it.

It may sound like an endorsement (but it is), the best thing to happen to frequent travelers is TSA Pre – In Atlanta I get through this line 2 out of 3 times – don’t have to take shoes off, jackets stay on and Laptop in Computer.. reminds me of old times (pre 2001).. just look forward that being everywhere…

Happy Travels!

The art of airport pickup….

Many of us have done this… picking up someone at the airport.

If it someone that is visiting after a long time, you will park your car in garage and meet them when they come out of terminal.

If it someone you pick up often, you will try to master the “perfect pick up” – you start based on arrival time + baggage pick up time if any, and scoop them up from curb side within 5-10 minutes of them reaching there… seen a lot of people strive for this.

Waiting for my own pickup, I have seen a lot of different kinds of people, different tactics to avoid the cop or airport security person walking the curb side.  These tactics change based on time, rush, weather and car type.

  • Classic looper – keep making loops around terminal until their pickups comes outside and call or wave them… see these guys go around multiple times.
  • The Waiter – will pick the prime spot and wait with car running, until he has been told to move, drive up a bit and push the time limit again.
  • They Are almost here – keep either passenger door or trunk open and look as if they are here… it doesn’t work always.
  • Designated Waiter – leave someone in passenger seat while you go inside – they talk to the enforcer and tell them an excuse, I have seen the enforcer make the waiter call the driver to come out…
  • I don’t care – Leave the car go inside, the enforcer asks whose car is it, looks around, they don’t like to tow or write ticket unless they really have to… and when they reach their patience limit, the driver will come out running and saying sorry, and start to move… and in some cases avoids the ticket
  • And then there is the perfect pickup – Cell phones and Cell Phone waiting lots helped this form … as soon as the bags start coming, everyone gives a green signal to their pickup contact – who is in Cell Phone waiting lot – and show up at the door at the right time, load them up and go… You should see the joy and proudness on some of these pickups..

Probably we have done one or more of the above in our lives, but when you think about it – it is a form of ART and what you do is always the “right” tactic 🙂