Catalyst Strategic Consultants

How does your business need to grow?

Camino Blog 1 – Neither Here nor There

It was an interesting conjunction – having a conference in Atlanta “on the way” to Spain.  But being at the outset of the Gazelles Recertification and Summit has a fugue quality.  My soul is half way over the ocean – and I am physically here.
Can there be anything lovelier than the actual moment of departure for a much anticipated long pleasure journey?  Finally – after all the planning, the advance arrangements, the heightened sensibility concerning all matters connected to the destination or the means of getting there [properly prepared of course], the fretting over packing, the anxiety on the way to the airport that something might screw up – we are boarded.
Now, placidly passively sitting in the metal tube, I am foreclosed from doing anything else, from finishing any other seemingly all-important work task, thinking and dashing to add last minute items that will be indispensable to the trip and must accompany, making any further security of the home base.  I can’t.  Now.  It’s over.  And it – this wished for voyage – is truly beginning, at last.
As the hyperactive mind slows and the madly ingested breakfast settles, as fear of forgetting eases, the jumpiness of the cab ride passes, the jostling of checking in, security clearance ebbs – a profound relaxation steals over me and the zen of the present creeps in.  Hardly the most salubrious of settings, the economy cabin.  But nonetheless, separated from the everyday world of care and concern, and, therefore, luxurious in the extreme.
The first few times I went over to Europe, the schism of leaving felt so profound that I had no sense that the calendar existed for any period after the time “away”.  That is, I was totally unconcerned, detached from any future involving my workaday, local life.  For that time – it was no more.  I was free of it.  Had to need to feed it, look after it, to get anything organized.
On life up to that moment the doors were closed:  I had irrevocably moved on and, as for after, well, let that look after itself.
Of course, those were in the days before technology, when the worlds were indeed apart, where once you left, well, that was it.  There was no tie back, no possibility of acting at a distance in any effectual way.  Hell, when I was 20 years old and overseas, I spoke to my parents perhaps twice, both times to plead for money [after dutifully reporting in, of course].
Making the calls was a production.  You had to go to a special office, make an appointment.  The connection was hard won, and sketchy at best.  The minutes were precious and short.  The payoff was no easier to receive.  Receiving “Wired money” meant going to American Express with your passport and, at the sending end, no end of fuss for the transmitter.
Other updates were accomplished by airmail letter.  These special little frail light blue papers were pre formatted, light so they wouldn’t burden the early jets excessively.  By verbose types like myself, they were to be filled to the brim with little glyphs intended to convey as much of the exotic magic being experienced into the available space, then self-sealed up and sent from local post office – the only “interface” with the outside world.
It’s a “little” different now.  Remembering that detachment now, as I ride majestically suspended over the Minnesota lake country, I savour these few moments off the grid.  Even now, if really really needed [which of course it never is] I could make contact – from the plane.  And certainly as soon as hit the ground I am not only allowed but expected to be in touch.  And to be able in an instant to make any accommodation my world may, at its whim, require of me.  What an unwelcome ability.
Unless I want something!  Then I expect to be easily and seamlessly in command of any “needed” setup, effected at impossible distance in miniscule bits of time.
A technology fast.  My friend Rick, when Camino walking with Michael, had insisted on that – and left the known connected world for 35 days.  An intoxicating and compelling idea, the present day essence of total freedom.
But, if I did that, I wouldn’t be able to write this, would I?  Or to be sure that I had a place to sleep in the towns up ahead.  So then I would worry.  Or feel blocked, not enabled.
Well, perhaps a taste – a bit of connection and a touch of word processing.
But no entertainment.  Looking around past my seatmate engrossed in her book at the others on our little ship mesmerized by their screens, I realize they have sucked for the $9 it takes to watch a show for these few hours orbiting an arc of our earth.  Which is regally displayed outside in a refreshing and enchanting map view and scrolls by at a majestic pace.
The curse of the unoccupied mind – of open space – avoided.  Of course, I’m amusing myself – writing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What’s Our Business?

Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


Past Posts