Full-time event in another city: Arrive a day early and depart a day late!


Posted by Steven

Given you visit a full-time event in another city, maybe a fair or a conference. What do you do when that event comes to an end? Do you rush to the airport to catch your flight? Do you hurry that much that you forget to say everyone goodbye? In the last hour of the event, do you constantly check your watch hoping you will be out soon enough? Well, don't. Just stay.

This article gets written in a hotel room in Munich. I went here to visit a training course for Certified Scrum Master. The two-day training was planned from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Munich is around 6 hours per train or 4 hours per plane away from home. I decided to arrive one day ahead and depart one day after the event. Here are 9 reasons why I did that:

  1. avoid stress to pay attention in the training after being awake 5 hours and travel 600 kilometers
  2. having a good breakfast before going in the training instead of gulping down cheap food from the train station
  3. avoiding the cold that I get from stressful days
  4. having checked-in in the hotel before the event - hence no need to carry my baggage around
  5. don't worry about late trains, strikes or other little accidents that eat away time plans
  6. having a calm mindset to enjoy and make the most out of the training that costs my employer thousands of Euros
  7. reflect on contents of the training in the hotel room - Hey damn I'm doing this right now, great! :)
  8. having a slight change to talk to the speaker after the event
  9. (if you are the speaker) give listeners chance to talk to you

Indeed, that is a long list. The only downside I can think of is:

  1. hotels and days without actual work costs pretty much

Given I didn't forget a pretty good argument against arriving early and leaving late, I think the costs for two additional nights in the hotel and two missed days in the project don't outweight the thoughts mentioned above. Also, there's a high probability to just miss one day of work if you begin your trip on a sunday or end it on a saturday.

Update April 16th, 2016

The idea expressed in this article is of course not unique and many people think like me. Chris Hadfield, former astronaut and book author, wrote the following in his great book "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth":

As our time in quarantine drew to a close, I felt more confident and focused every day. I doubt I would have had the same sense of readiness if someone had told me , "Okay, show up in Baikonur on Wednesday morning, you're going to space at noon." I'd probably have spent the previous day running around doing all the things everyone does before a trip: packing, paying bills, picking up dry cleaning. Even if you're highly competent, when you're careening full-speed toward a deadline or a destination, you usually arrive breathless, still mentally scanning your todo-list and not fully focused on the task ahead. You may achieve impressive results anyway, but you're likely to deliver less than you would if you didn't feel harried. For me, anyway, going in a high-pressure situation feeling calm and fully prepared, has another benefit, too: I'm able to live more fully in the moment, absorbed and engaged in it, and better able to appreciate it as it unfolds rather than in retrospect.

These wonderful words express what I want to say with this article.

tl;dr

If you participate in full-time events in another city, arrive one day early and depart one day late.

(Photo: user 123090, http://pixabay.com/en/gleise-train-seemed-yield-459374/)

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