What you see on Facebook:
- 9:45 – Arrival at Montreal airport. Prime parking spot right in front. Clutch! Post that to Instagram.
- 10:15 – Whisk through the priority line at securing and enjoying the free food, beverages and magazines in the airport lounge. Do I post this to show off the lounge and my itinerant street cred?
- 11:00 – Flight from Montreal to Toronto in business class. My Briggs & Riley carry-on easily fits on all planes. Smooth. Lots of legroom and early boarding.
- 12:45 – Clear customs thanks to Nexus – Global Entry and enjoying the free food, beverages and magazines in the airport lounge. Run into a few marketing industry executives, who just so happen to be traveling to New Orleans too for the Collision conference.
- 14:00 – Casually stroll to the gate and run into the one and only Saul Colt, who is on the same flight. Total selfie moment.
- 14:30 – Flight to New Orleans.
- 17:00 – Black car service is waiting for me at baggage claim.
- 17:45 – Checked into the hotel and walking down Bourbon Street to catch the city’s vibe.
- 18:00 – Stumble into a classic New Orleans street float and a marching band as their Jazz Fest unfolds.
- 18:30 – Nice steak dinner while quietly watching the news at the restaurant bar.
- 23:39 – Into bed and debating between watching the news or something on Netflix.
- 6:00 – Dial-in for my weekly CTRL ALT Delete segment on CHOM FM.
- 6:30 – Head to soundcheck for the speaking event.
- 8:00 – Meet the mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, who is welcoming the attendees to New Orleans.
- 9:00 – Opening keynote for the largest association of newspapers in the United States.
- 10:00 – Black car limo service back to airport.
- 10:30 – See my “what you don’t see” list…
What you don’t see: the struggle is real.
- 17:30 pm – Arrival in New Orleans after seven hours of travel on a Sunday. Missing a weekend day with my family hurts so much.
- 18:30 – Dinner alone at the restaurant bar.
- 23:45 – Struggle to fall asleep in another strange room, strange hotel and strange city. Aching to be home on a Sunday night with my family.
- 5:00 – Wake up call.
- 6:00 – Dial in for my weekly CHOM segment.
- 6:30 – AV check at venue.
- 9:00 – Presentation.
- 10:00 – Driver back to New Orleans airport.
- 12:30 – Flight from New Orleans to Washington.
- 15:30 – Arrival at IAD airport only to discover that my 17:00 flight to Montreal has now been delayed by 2.5 hours. I will not be having dinner with my family, bath time or help to put the kids to bed.
- 18:00 – Flight now delayed until 21:00.
- 21:30 – Flight is cancelled due to “air traffic control”.
- 21:30 – Flight change to the next day at 3 pm out of DCA (everything else is booked). Looks like a long night and following day ahead for me.
- 21:45 – Flight change from DCA to Toronto with a 24:00 takeoff that gets me back home at 1:30 am. This would not have happened had I not looked at the board to see other departing flights this evening. The customer service people at the airline were none-to-thrilled to have undo everything again.
- 22:00 – Toronto flight now delayed until 23:30.
- 23:00 – Toronto flight now delayed until 24:19.
- 24:45 – Toronto flight takes off. No chance of making my connection in Montreal. Instead of enduring Pearson Airport congestion again tomorrow, I switch to Billy Bishop – Toronto Island Airport for the next morning. I am given the 9:15 am flight, but there are earlier options.
- 1:20 – Arrive in Toronto and notice that the Montreal connection flight has been delayed until 1:30 am. I miss connecting by 30 minutes.
- 1:45 – Clear customs. Ensure that my hotel room has been held. Head to the cab stand. There is a line over 75 people deep. I opt for the black car service. Sleep is greater than money, at this point.
- 2:45 – Head hits pillow.
- 6:00 – Wake-up in an attempt to make an earlier flight.
- 6:45 – Arrive at Billy Bishop airport only to discover that the 7:15 am flight has been cancelled and the 8:15 is sold-out too.
- 8:15 – Miraculously get the last seat on the 8:15 flight.
- 8:25 – Take-off to Montreal.
- 10:00 – Arrive home in Montreal.
It should not take close to 24 hours to fly from New Orleans to Montreal.
Did I mention that I didn’t have an extra pair of underwear? I know, it’s so glamorous. Still, I’m grateful. I’m not complaining. You don’t care anyways. The point is this: don’t be fooled by what you see on Facebook. That’s the image of our lives that we want others to think that we’re leading. Life is messy. The grass is not always greener. And, while you may be jealous of others, always remember that you don’t really know their story or their struggles. We all have them. If you’re in bed and comfy with those that you love, you’ve got my life beat by a long shot on this day. Chuckle as you might at this notion, but I’d trade just about anything – at this moment in time – to have that life. When I was a teenager, I used to wish that I could one day be a rock star. That didn’t work out for me, but I managed to orbit that planet with many friends in the 80s and 90s and beyond as a music writer and magazine publisher. It seemed so romantic at the time, but it’s a vicious circle of never being home, never being able to build real roots and being constantly judged by the public. Don’t cry for these rock stars, but know that the older that you get, the less attractive that lifestyle becomes and the harder it is to sustain. People mistaken the hour that the band is on the stage or the two minutes that they’re in the media against the 23 other hours in that day. That’s doesn’t mean that a corporate 9-5 grind is sexier or cooler, it does mean that the paths that we choose earlier in life are often done without putting any real thought into what happens when we get older and these lifestyles become our lives. Life’s funny like that. Life’s terrifying like that. Candidly, there’s nothing rock star about my current situation. Just another middle-aged human stuck in travel complications and cancellations. And, as romantic as business travel is made out to be (be it via the media or your own manifestations), take it from me: it ain’t sexy, cool or impressive at 11:32 pm on a Monday night and looking back on the past twenty-four hours. I’m grateful to my agency colleagues, talent bureau and the client that I was speaking for. There was nothing but empathy and help from them, but it was still lonely, frustrating and exhausting to be caught up in that snafu.
Don’t be fooled by what was posted on Facebook and Instagram.