Fairly early in my career I've had the opportunity to travel and see places I might not have otherwise. I'm not talking about "Up in the Air" or Platinum levels of travel, but enough to keep things interesting. Fast forward to having a child and longer trips away from home are more challenging. Like the time I told my wife that I had to go to South America during a bitterly cold NJ Winter and foolishly tried to feign disappointment. I won't be appearing on Inside the Actor's Studio anytime soon. That trip lasted 2 weeks. The hardest part was staying connected while I was away. My son was now old enough to really notice my absence so I knew I would have to pull out all the stops.
Here are a few EZPZ tips that made the long business trip easier on my family.
1. Facetime your new temporary home
The first thing I did when I arrived at the hotel was Facetime my family. I gave them a virtual tour of the hotel lobby and my room. This way they have a sense of where I am and what it is like.
2. Skype dinner
When I didn't have a business dinner to attend, I ordered room service, turned on Skype, and had a virtual dinner with my family. I get to hear about their day and vice-versa. There is something special about sharing a meal with loved ones - even a virtual one.
3. Mr. Greenspots
This last one is a bit of a lark, but it turned out wonderfully. I took along a stuffed animal of my son's as a travel companion. I had the random thought that it would be fun to take pictures of him posed in various travel scenarios. I'd send the pictures to my wife and when we were on the phone, Mr. Greenspots would take a turn and regale my son with stories of his adventures in a far off land and answer various questions in his high-pitched voice.
This turned out to be a big hit with my son as he imagined one of his stuffed animals traveling the world. And of course, upon his return he could tell all the other stuffed animals about it. After a while it seemed my son was looking forward to talking to Mr. Greenspots almost as much, dare I say more, than talking to his father. A victim of my own success, I guess. It was a small price to pay for hearing the excitement in my son's voice and making my absence a little less stressful for him.
Next post next Saturday, 6:30 a.m.