My work tends to carry me away from home regularly for conferences or meetings. To many, the notion of getting whisked off to exotic destinations and paid to travel is romantic, but the truth is often far from romantic or exotic. Living out of a suitcase, lonely times spent in a hotel room, barely having time to see local sights, and takeout meals are the reality. However, on my latest work trip, I decided to break the humdrum and see what my destination really had to offer.
The challenge was to squeeze the most out of the week as possible, and the destination happened to be beautiful Houston. After checking for apartments near medical center in Houston, I found myself a gorgeously furnished apartment. This was an instant win as I was able to keep my morning routine in check with my usual muesli and coffee.
My self-imposed challenge was to maximize my free time in Houston since my days were fully scheduled. I didn’t know any colleagues attending the conference, which translated to arranging activities I could do solo. I usually meet new people during conferences and my intention this time was to invite anyone I met to join me in my activities, but not to stray from the task at hand.
With five nights in Houston, I researched and arranged to attend the following activities:
- Space Center Houston — This was an experience I was excited about, thus I planned it first. You will need plenty of time to see this as it’s 25 miles (40.23 km) from the CBD, and there’s a lot to see. I was glad I ventured alone as it allowed me time to get the most from the experience.
- iFLY Indoor Skydiving — Midway through the conference I had booked an indoor skydive, plus I had acquired an additional two colleagues to join me. There are two locations in Houston, with the closest to the CBD being Memorial. The dive was exhilarating and only took an hour, so we followed up with a beer and pub meal.
- Miller Outdoor Theatre — Towards the end of my time in Houston I had met many like-minded individuals and the final outing on my list was an evening at the outdoor theatre. An ensemble of five colleagues joined me, and we watched a marvelous orchestral performance on a rug, under the stars while sharing a bottle of wine. It was a perfect finale.
This trip was the best work trip I have ever experienced, from the apartments near the medical center to Skydiving. Each event was unique, and I was able to establish fantastic network connections from colleagues who loved my idea of embracing the possibilities.