Category Archives: experience

Everything I’ve learned about business travel, so far (part 2)

This post is continued from part 1 – read here.

6.  Download movies for your laptop

No joke, I finished every move on Cathay Pacific in about 6 weeks.  And while every month they had new releases and new additions to the collection, they don’t last long. And you mightn’t want to watch Bridesmaids again.

Whether legally or illegally, make sure you get a stack of TV series and movies on your laptop.  Although, if you’re watching Game of Thrones, expect to get a few people watching with you, or cringing at another sex scene.

Pro-tip – get a two way (or I carry a 5 way) splitter so your better-half, colleague or most importantly, your boss, can watch with you.  Reduces stress by taking your mind completely off the trip or off the 900 emails you got during your last flight.

 

7.  Carry-on only     

 Should be an obvious one for anyone who has watched Up In The Air, but stick to carry-on.  I’m heading to Europe for two weeks this trip and have taken carry-on trolley, small back pack and my laptop bag.

That’s a suit, 4 shirts, two pairs of pants, underwear, exercise gear, toiletries and the rest.

Pick for carry-on? Spend the money on a Rimowa.  Beautifully designed and a five-year warranty makes it easy.  Get four wheels – makes everything lighter through better weight distribution, makes moving down the cramped aisles of the plane easier and is less stress on the arm by wheeling ahead or next to you.

Travel wallets are also important, I’m using a new Bellroy who specialize in making things streamline and slim.  Get one.

How’s this reduce stress? Can be the difference between frequent small frustrations and moving through taxis, security, airports, planes and airports differently – that’s what you’re putting yourself through.

 

8.  Back-up power supply for your cell

The back up power supply – is amazing! If you’re an iPhone user, grab one of the cases with an extra battery pack.  For us HTC, Samsung or other users – grab one of the charging adapters.  Remember to charge it whenever you can – don’t put it off.

Buy a big one from a reputable brand.  I have invested in a cheaper one before and the battery was shot after two months.

Reduces stress by not having to worry if you’re going to miss that email, make that call or meet with your drinking colleagues.

 

9.  Stay connected with WhatsApp

Travelling means some big bills for you or your company if you’re still using SMS.  Asia has this hands down, and no one really uses SMS, unless you haven’t had the “which service do you use conversation”.

I primarily use WhatsApp, but am also now using WeChat (China), Line (Philippines and Hong Kong) and of course Facebook messenger.

Again, staying in touch with your friends and family will mean if you’re waiting in customs lines, airports lobbies you can always see what is going on.

 

10.  Join both miles programs, but stick to one

Biggest rookie mistake I ever made was not instantly transferring my Qantas FrequentFlyer Gold Membership straight to Cathay Pacific.  Rookie error.  If you’re changing countries, then make sure you do your research into whether oneworld or Star Alliance is better.

For instance, Singapore use Star Alliance.  For Hong Kong, use oneworld.

You won’t always be able to stick to the group.  So make sure you use both, but try to stick to only booking in one.  There plenty of people doing the hardcore math around which program and why so do your homework.

Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo Club (Asia Miles) is great – I’ve connected both American Express cards, a Visa card plus a whole host of other partners like Travelex (money exchange) to rack up points quickly.

Believe me, once you realize how many benefits there are, including upgrades and better lounge access it is all worth it.

Lounges seem like a small luxury, but I got stuck in New Zealand once at 2am with no where to charge my phone, have a sleep or get 15 minutes quiet.  You don’t need that kind of stress.

Lounges reduce stress not only from having a better view, but the food is half-decent, there is always some wifi, power sockets, TVs and anything else you need to forget the fact you’re awake at some ungodly hour.

 

11.  Remember to have fun

Talk to the concierge of the hotel, they will know everything about the local scene.  Talk to your colleagues and make sure you go out and have some fun.  See a few sights, eat the best food and buy a bottle.

 

Conclusion

 

I really hope this helps anyone about to start a travel gig.  It’s an opportunity I am extremely grateful for and look forward to continuing next year.

Reduce whatever stress you can, and manage yourself in the process.  Don’t forget it’s important to have a life at the same time.

Everything I’ve learned about business travel, so far (part 1)

Based in Hong Kong, I am now on a plane at least once a week which means living out of a tiny carry-on and strapped into headphones. Eating tiny boxes of re-heated food.

My travel schedule this week (from Hong Kong): Tokyo, Singapore, and Shanghai; home for 12 hours then straight to Geneva before onto London.  Looking ahead I know I might have one week back at home before I’m heading back to the Philippines, Singapore and then to Sydney before November 10.

And there will be more.  Definitely to China and Singapore. Just waiting for the calls.   Business travel for me is about reduces every possible stress factor so I hope this is valuable for anyone in the same kind of gig.

1.  Keep fit, eat well

Start packing your work out gear and don’t over commit.  You’re going to be tired yes, and probably rushing.  Stick to nailing 30 minutes of heavy lifting in the hotel gym.  Squats, deadlifts, bench press – super-set with lunges, curls or ab workout.  Your metabolism will be firing and you’re not going to waste time with low-intensity-watching-the-news-treadmill-running-BS.

Eat well – avoid white carbs, stop drinking on every flight and every hotel, stick to protein and high quality fats. If you know you’re going to get stuck with no good eating options (or a big client dinner), make sure you stick to your workout and avoid having to buy two plane seats in the future.

Keeping fit and eating well reduces stress by keeping your body full of endorphins, oxygen and feeling focused.

Pro-tip: drink as much water as possible: make sure you include a little sodium or vitamin mix.  I aim for about 300ml every hour.  500ml when I’m off the plane.

 

2.  Read Monocle

Stay up to date with trends, not just the news, around the world with Monocle.  Does what it says on the can: a global briefing of current events, business, design, government and more.  Monocle is also thick enough to keep you reading one magazine for many trips over the month.

Reading will reduce your stress, especially during take off and landing.  Monocle will keep you from over-thinking about work, or about how awful Changi airport’s carpet is.

 

3.  Download TripIt

 E-tickets are probably the worst case of information design.  At least the ones I get are anyway.  This could be an easy opportunity for an airline or travel agency to differentiate.  Qantas send a page full of Courier New(that ugly email text) in huge bulk paragraphs in monochrome and expect you to decipher that rubbish.

TripIt makes your journey stress free.  You simply forward the email you receive from your agency or airline to a generic email and your phone will automatically update with all the information – including gates, seats, and baggage claim terminal.

Pay about $50 USD and you can get automatic update information on points tracking, delays and scheduling.   Great for managing multiple stop trips.

 

4.  Know and request the best seats

Flying economy is no problem as long as you know where you’re sitting (and maybe what you’re eating).  Grab exit row seats wherever possible.  Negotiate with your company get any additional charge covered – once you’ve reached the first tier of a mileage program it is generally free anyway.

You get the legroom and easy-access chair that really can make the difference between and enjoyable flight or a nightmare.  At all costs avoid middle seats, or seats down the back. Bring your own food to economy, it’s pretty ordinary on some airlines, and you want to stay healthy and fit.

If you’re in business class, avoid the first row of seats which actually can feel more claustrophobic than normal.  You – or your company – are paying the dollars, so make sure you get your value.

Food here will make all the difference, in addition to being treated like a real person. For those employers out there considering what policy to put around business class travel: you’re not putting your staff in hostels, or making them catch buses to meetings – so work it out with your clients and finance team on how to make it work for your team.

Seat choices can really determine stress levels.  Too bad you can’t lose the spluttering, snoring and demanding creative-type next to you demanding to know why his wine isn’t from whatever region.

5.  Buy some noise cancelling headphones

I just bought my first pair of Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones and I felt betrayed for having never used these before.  Honestly, they are so good that I will LEND YOU MY PAIR just so you can experience it. Light weight, compact and beautifully designed.   They even plug into the airplane system.

Whether you’re watching a movie, listening to music or just reading with no music, these headphones actively (battery powered) cancel out the back ground noise.  I’m sitting in an airport lounge now of probably 100 people and listening to some very light EDM at 33% volume and it is clear, crisp serenity. For the plane ride, you may have never noticed just how loud an airplane is.

For around $300 USD it’s an investment in your sanity that you can’t get with any other product.  The quality of Bose is only second to Sennheiser for me –  but the noise cancelling product from Sennhesier is twice the price (and the size) not to mention as ugly as hell.

Reduces noise stress, which is a real unknown for most people until you take it away.

Read on to part 2

CrossFit: Breathe

“BREATHE” from Paul Schneider on Vimeo.

New video from Paul Schneider

I’ve been into CrossFit for the better part of three years. It’s an addiction. I honestly believe it shaped the way I not only train and the way I look at nutrition, but also the way I live a lot of my life.  I’ve always trained at CrossFit Effects (CFX) down in Kogarah, which is lead by Mick Shaw and previously, Steve Willis (aka The Commando) who was a co-founder.  Both coaches have demonstrated and instructed an approach that allows for maximum capacity of our athletes, both in terms of human movement and mind set – not just fitness.

It’s one of the hardest things to capture, and something I really believe you need to watch in a live ‘box’ (due to the lack of globo-gym equipment, they’re not really gyms), and be spoken with by the coaches.  However, the film above is a really beautiful capture of the relentless effort that CrossFit athletes demonstrate every day and both the literal form of breathing (key to being a great athlete) and the notion of what-it-means-to-be-alive.

“This Crossfit inspired piece is an experiment in sound, small moments, dynamic build and human intensity.

It’s a race against the clock that we all must face, and a reminder to breathe, because you can.”

Main piano track is Fugitif 1 by Swod: bit.ly/​jGkUvc
Directed & Shot: Paul Schneider (helloandcompany.com/​commercials/​paul-schneider)Edit: Andrew Maggio (framecycle.com)Sound Design: Paul Schneider & Andrew Maggiotwitter: @lettershome
I’d like to thank Windy City Crossfit & it’s athletes for their talent, dedication and the fantastic facility.

A couple of years ago i did the photos for our regional qualifiers which are coming up again this May. Check it out (music by my band, Sonixtrip).

Breathtaking

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Thanks to Jeremy over at We Are Handsome for passing this on. The internet, digital, above all else, gives us access to appreciate the world in a different way. Over and over again.

The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Sending an iPhone 4 into space

Father and Son Launch iPhone Into Space

Another post for the new experience category.  Those of you who know me well may appreciate my rocketing (chortle) addiction to space and the cosmos.  The video above of Brooklyn-based cinematographer Luke Geissbuhler’s and his son to launch an iPhone 4 and an HD video camera into space using a weather balloon via Mashable.

Happiness is a journey. Sometimes just a short one over a long distance.

And yes, they make it! Breath taking.

Selling my first car

Mitsubishi Mirage - black

Mary-Jane – my little Mitsu

Tonight is the night I’m going to hand over the keys to my little 2003 Mitusbishi Mirage.  And to be honest: I’m feeling incredibly emotional.

Packing up all the bits and pieces I had adorned my car with over the years was cathartic as the memories of five years washed over me.  I remember wanting a little Mitsu more than anything other car and it was exceptionally exciting going with my Dad and my best mate (Chris Hall) to go and give it a test drive and eventually bring it home.  I’m not petrol-head by any means. I just like things that look pretty and sound nice. And yes, that is my name on the plates.

Dad and I definitely bonded over it – even before it came – every Sunday we’d go through the trading post looking for bargains.  And yes, it’s just like the scene from The Castle.  And yes we did buy a lot of stuff we didn’t need.

Maybe it’s a boy thing – falling in love with your first car. But it’s been a crazy journey and it’s brought together me, my Dad and my closest friends. I’ll never forget the time everyone in the band in had their cars in my drive way.  Everyone else’s was white – while mine was black.  All with red and green P plates.

Chris and I would spend hours tuning a new stereo in, wiring neons into the seat wells, and my Dad would be more than willing to help me wash it on a Saturday afternoon – taking exceptional pride into Armour All-ing the interior until it had that beautiful smell again.

My first drive was straight to a party – I could hardly drive manual and I’ll never forget simply stalling to park.  I thought it went unnoticed, but it was certainly the talk of that party.

On our P’s we were the regular chauffeurs to parties and the pick-ups from festivals. It’s literally taken me to some of the happiest moments of my life, and not to mention, taken me home from some of the most sombre.

A human experience

I’ve laughed, cried, screamed, sang, whipsered and sworn inside its little two-door more than I could ever recall. I’ve made some of the biggest decisions of my life while driving in it; or just parking it by the water and taking in the view.

I’ve said good bye to people forever from it, I’ve met people for the first time in it. It’s been as far south as Wollongong and as far north as Newcastle.  It’s amazing what kind of human experience one goes through with a vehicle.

I’m lucky enough never to have had an accident in it.

Nearly five years ago I had a plan: buy it, keep it for five years and move on.  And that’s what I’m doing.  It’s been an amazing part of my life, and something I’ve surely took for granted.   But I couldn’t be happier where it’s going – to another fantastic mate of mine, Phil O.

Stay safe, little ‘mage.

Human movement: Nokia partners with Burton

Nokia partners with Burton to provide snowboarders with mobile, trick-tracking utility

A few weeks ago I discussed designing spaces for human movement and how it impacts on lifestyles. The video above demonstrates just how important human movement, passion and technology are becoming as they become more and more integrated to help people do what they love – in new and exciting ways.  Thanks contagious for the vid!

Technology is playing the part of interpreting human movement to share it with the people who matter to us.  What a context: movement and friends.

Nokia – what a great use of utility. Burton – a brand built on passion.

Sharing what we love is a part of who we are.

Designing spaces for human movement


Skate Park - Bowl

Skatepark designed by champion & architect

I’m fascinated by the way people interact with the spaces they inhabit and visit.  Everything from the way rooms are lit by the sun and by the lights around us; to the very set-ups of Macs and PCs at our desks – think about it: this is where – in our industry anyway – we spend so much time here, the influence of the objects and spaces we inhabit is enormous.

But what is greater still is the consideration and dynamic designs of the spaces people move in. And skate parks are a testament to that. Continue reading