In previous articles, I have rambled about the joys of air travel and how we can get so much work done while cruising at 37,000 feet. Equally I have been positively evangelical about how brilliant
club lounges and business hotels are because of the laptop charge points, WiFi, and lack of screaming children.
But recently I have had to travel with a colleague formally known as Paul. A couple of years ago
Paul had a bit of a crisis and took himself off to India and an ashram, surviving on carrots, karma, and herbal tea. Ask him about his experiences and he positively explodes with joy as he preaches about the benefits of living
in a tree and changing your name to something that no one can pronounce.
Though warned about discussing the matter with him,
I ordered a steak at a restaurant and he grimaced with
such anguish I was concerned he was about to have another crisis and swap flights from Geneva to Goa.
I tentatively enquired why he looked like the Pope
at a satanic-theme party, only to be lambasted for hours about how long beef takes to digest, and what lovely animals cows are, and how I would become a slave to Western civilisation. In defence, I pointed out that if it takes so long to digest it
must be a long lasting source of energy, that
cows are lovely animals and even nicer when served medium rare, and that I probably was beyond saving from
Western culture until an alternative appears with faster broadband and cheaper super-unleaded.
He then forced me, under threat of chanting loudly mid-flight, to agree to an alternative regime. A regime where work starts at nine, ends at five, and 20-minute breaks are taken regularly. I was able to negotiate on some points, such as veganism and meditation, but nevertheless the following week was likely to be 'alternative' in a bad way, like decaf coffee or swapping the pet dog for an alligator. His plan had essentially cut my 16-hour days in half that, to me at least, seemed like skiving — even consultants
work longer hours nowadays.
I am happy to report that the week did not go well. I got very little done, had far too much spare time to spend with the man formerly known as Paul, and as a consequence I have to go back to Switzerland to finish the job in the near future. So I must apologise for my previous rants, they are not nearly extreme enough. I would therefore suggest a private jet, a car pass for Heathrow runway to avoid the lounge, purchasing multiple properties
worldwide to avoid hotels, and many, many steaks. I'm aware most of this is beyond our pay grade so in the meantime my advice is to avoid people who have changed their name to something you can't spell, and if you do bump into one,
ask him or her why they came back to our hardworking, beef-powered society if their alternative is so marvellous. It sent the man formerly known as Paul into a glorious two-day, silent strop.
Our entrepreneurial correspondent travels the world in search of business, soft beds and good breakfasts.
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