Be prepared! When traveling, we have to be prepared. If you are going to fly and are not going to check a bag, you have to make sure that all of your lotions and gels fit in a one quart size plastic baggie. I, myself, cannot stand to walk barefoot through the security scanner, so even though I have to take off my shoes I wear socks until I get through the scanners. I’m prepared folks.
I have learned the hard way that I will never travel again for business or personal reasons without being prepared to run into someone with whom I might know professionally.
Early in my career, I was traveling for personal reasons and had a layover in the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. I was waiting for a flight when a beautiful elderly woman sat down next to me. She looked familiar to me, but I could just not place her. We struck up a conversation during which time the woman found out that I worked at Texas A&M University. She said she had visited A&M several times and loved our school (more reason to adore her) and then leaned over close to me and asked if she could offer me a bit of advice. Here it comes. Wait for it. Are you ready?
She very gently suggested that I always make sure that I am wearing lipstick when out in public. I got up that morning, tossed on a pink sweat suit and put my hair in a ponytail for a long day of travel. I had put on powder, mascara and lip gloss earlier but that was LONG GONE. I probably looked awful. She was so sweet that I just nodded my head, and we both shared a good laugh. She was so very kind and continued to talk with me.
After a while, she got up to leave and asked me my name. I responded, and she responded with her name: Mary Kay Ash. I have to be honest, as she walked away my first question to myself was “Why is she in the airport and doesn’t she have a “pink” private plane?” The second thought was one I will never forget. ALWAYS BE PREPARED.
I have had students tell me about traveling and sitting next to someone on a plane who works for a future employer of choice. I have traveled to conferences and found myself sitting next to a colleague. You never know who you will meet.
Now you don’t have to wear a suit when you travel, but never allow yourself to look like a bum. As I said earlier, BE PREPARED.