Written by Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO of Chalkboarder
Yes, you read the title right. I like it rough and slow. I’m a little different that way. Perhaps hardcore might be another descriptive term. Or.. someone might say “he has an appreciation for the unusual”.
You see, I find opportunities where others might discount none to be. I look for the little clues that signal these potentialities. I’m willing to venture through unusual circumstance, that others would shudder at, to perhaps find that rare gem of an opportunity.
Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not talking about sex. Yes, I was leading you on; intentionally.
I’ve always been a traveler – a bit of a nomad. I grew up that way and it in large part defines me. I feel trapped, or better, caged and bound, if I am unable to experience new vistas and experiences. I meet interesting folk this way. Sometimes, the people I meet have ability to transform and positively impact not only me, but the opportunities before Chalkboarder.
As I write this, I am up all night, at Boston South Station, waiting for the final leg of a six day journey across the USA. I boarded Amtrak Empire Builder in Oregon five and half days ago. We were almost a full day late into Chicago. Let’s look at the results from enduring lack of showers, lack of beds and lack of sleep this week.
- Amtrak Regional Operations Director – Pacific Northwest. I bumped into this gentleman at the hotel they provided me for a half day in Chicago, between trains. An excellent representative of great customer service; honestly inquiring to my welfare and comfort. We’ll have coffee sometime later this summer.
- Amtrak Empire Builder Cafe Car Attendant – Actually, someone I have had twice before using Amtrak between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. We remembered each other’s names and chitchatted at length. He owns a restaurant in Milwaukee, WI and I gave him pointers on his social media.
- Harvard Behaviorial Health Professor – my seatmate from Chicago to Boston; one heck of a conversation, culminating in contact info trade and the possibility of reconnecting for coffee on Harvard’s campus.
- Al Jazerra English Senior Technical Producer, London UK – this young gentleman and I had an outstanding conversation in Chicago, and have already traded tweets. I’m a big news junkie and he was grilling my opinions on the political landscape of the USA. Perhaps the most solid connection of this trip, and my introductory relationship to the Arab World.
- Brooklyn Latino – this father and daughter made the trip with me across the country. His daughter, same age as my littlest, and I shared quite a few giggles. The father, while not fluent in English, and I got to know each other and have made plans to hang in Brooklyn sometime soon, where he will introduce me to his ethnic neighborhood.
I met others, such as the young gentleman who shared the very early morning hours with me here in South Station, who is from Worcester (pronounced Wooster in these parts) and just transformed a layoff from National Grid
into an excellent new opportunity. He checked out Chalkboarder’s website and immediately referred four local Boston/Worcester businesses to me.
This is why I like it rough and slow. I am most definitely in need of a shower (I stink!). I need to do laundry. I’m coffee’d out. My ass hurts from sitting. My right knee is killing me with an arthritic dullness from not walking. I took a nap on the marble floor of South Station just before writing this..
Travel by airline, as the majority of travelers do, simply does not provide you with these opportunities to connect. It simply can’t. Why?
- Everyone is stressed out.
- You hurry through the system in lines.
- Time is rushed. Get here, get there, don’t talk to others – such a isolating experience and yet so ironically, all together.
- You can’t move about and randomly get into conversations with your other travelers.
So… how do you like it? Fast quickies with strangers? Or taking the time to get to know people?