My sister often tells me that she finds my business traveling excessive and wishes I would settle down a little. She leads a more stationary life here in LA, travels only when necessary, and not multiple times a week, so she can’t really understand where I’m coming from. She is a different kind of person, she likes stability and predictability, isn’t really concerned with seeing a lot of different cultures or experiencing wild trips. And who can blame her, LA is so diverse and has more than a little something for everyone, the introverts, and the extroverts alike.

But, I’m more restless than her, which is why I do what I do. Yes, it’s busy, and I sleep at hotels more often than I sleep at home, I eat restaurant food more than home-cooked meals, but you know, every profession comes with some compromises you need to make, and in my case, it happens to be being away most of the time.

My favorite part of the job is that I get to meet many different people and talk to them, learn about their lives, and how they live, what they do, and how they think. I meet many young entrepreneurs full of revolutionary ideas and a zest for life, it’s very inspiring. Many people find this hard to believe, but I am genuinely interested in what they have to say. I’m the good guy. Too busy sometimes, but good.

And it’s not only when I travel that I like to meet people, I like going out and hanging out with people when I’m in LA too. I love LA, even though half of the time I’m not really there. I often like to have some friends over and actually cook a meal. When they propose ordering a takeout I fiercely object, because being at home is my one chance to eat a homemade meal, and impress my friends. I have so many kinds of kitchen appliances, a mandoline slicer for example, it would be a shame to let them gather dust in the corners.

When I’m at home I like to go to the Santa Monica Pier. It’s my favorite place in the whole world, and I’ve seen quite a few, as you may have been able to tell. I spent most of my college years hiding out here and just hanging out with friends. When I come home after traveling, I make sure I come here first thing. You gotta have some anchor, and this is mine.

If you do a lot of international business traveling, long flights are just something that you’re going to have to live with if you want to get through your travels. You can get through your travels without having to feel like you’re going to completely lose it, but in my experience, it’s not easy.

I’ve flown to Australia before, and breathing the same air for a period of time that’s that long is really the kind of thing that makes you feel like you’re going to lose it. You keep getting the urge to open the window on the airplane in order to let in the fresh air, even though that’s obviously not going to work, just because you can’t stand all of everyone else’s carbon dioxide.

The first thing that you should notice about traveling over long distances is that sleeping pills are your friend. I don’t usually use sleeping pills, but when it comes to really long flights, I’m okay with drugs deciding when I can sleep and when it’s time for me to just try to grin and bear it.

There’s also the fact that finding anything to do with my hands doesn’t always work for me. I do what you’re supposed to do: I bring something to read or something to write with if necessary. However, really that just draws attention to the fact that I’m trying to distract myself from the fact that I’m on a plane and I’ve been breathing the same air for a while. I still bring a book, something to write with, and everything else. However, that’s still not going to get me through everything.

Sometimes, I honestly just give into the boredom. I accept that I’m on a plane, staring into space, and I’m surrounded by a lot of people in a really tight area. There are moments where I think that just acknowledging that is the only way to go.

Striking up a conversation with the person sitting next to you can work sometimes. I do try to do that. Of course, sometimes the person is too nervous to talk. Lots of people are afraid of flying. I actually used to be completely afraid of flying, and I took a while to really lose that. Now I know that all you really have to fear on a plane is the boredom, and you can’t be bored to death.

My advice to people who aren’t afraid of flying and who are not going to spend the whole flight sitting there in terror is this: alternate between different activities. Spend some time talking to the person sitting next to you, if applicable, and if the person wants the conversation. Spend some time reading or writing if you can. Spend some time staring into space if you get tired of trying to distract yourself.

I also like to remind myself of the fact that technically, flying is really cool. Flying is something that people have dreamed about for centuries. Now we can do it! It’s kind of exciting, even though we’re the ones who have to get nauseous when it happens. Leonardo da Vinci wouldn’t have cared about nausea, the boredom, or the fact that he’d been breathing the same air for twenty-four hours, and you can try to avoid doing the same thing.

I also try to enjoy the fact that I have a few hours of freedom before a potentially stressful business meeting where I have to be ‘on’ all the time, and that I can at least hear myself think and enjoy the company of my own thoughts for a little while when I’m actually on the plane. I try to just enjoy that, and that’s where I can really just relax on the plane.

I don’t have many days off given my travel schedule. Thus, I don’t take vacations, especially those that involve even more travel. When I have free time, I like to stay close to home. I don’t mind driving a bit if there is a reward at the end of the journey. Fortunately, a couple of short hours will take me to the beach. Here is where you will find me on a rare day off. I am susceptible, as much as anyone else, to fun in the sun. All you have to do is be prepared.

You know what you need: sunglasses to shield your eyes from the inevitable glare, sun tan lotion that lasts for hours, a thermos or a cooler for your water and snacks, a large towel, and a good beach umbrella for shade. A fold up beach chair is optional, but the umbrella is a must. I have a reliable one that doesn’t let me down. It doesn’t have to be huge, but enough to cover your body if you are prone to sunburn. Unless you have recently acquired your summer tan, you will want to be cautious. Don’t think that the suntan lotion is enough unless it has a high SPF. Use the umbrella for extra protection.

I like an umbrella that won’t turn inside out. I hate it when the metal spokes bend. I also like a waterproof fabric that can hold up to the elements. I want to be able to fold it up quickly when it is time to go. I have had many cheap versions with negative results. I learned my lesson. Now I have quality which you need, even at the beach. Don’t assume that just anyone one will do because you are sitting on the sand.

Recently I made a new friend at the beach because of the umbrella. She came over and asked me if she could share it. She was getting rather red and said she would have to leave if she didn’t get some protection. I was glad to oblige. The umbrella is a bit small compared to a city rain model, but we fit together by getting close. It made it easy to talk and also have a snack from my filled cooler. We found that we had a lot in common. I was happy as a clam that she asked for my mobile phone number and email address. Would she contact me in the future? I hoped so.

The new female friend did contact me and we got together once again. I credit the umbrella completely. It is hard to meet new people, especially if you are sitting all my yourself on a small patch of sand. If you want more than sun protection, by all means get yourself a nice umbrella and make eye contact with passersby. Every day at the beach is glorious, but some are better than others. I love a respite from work and all the travel that is required.

I travel for business and the world is my oyster. I am not always confined to certain locations. This makes for a lot of adventure and exploration. I have my favorite places and my most detested haunts. In essence, I have a few stories to tell. Life is never boring on the road. I usually take international flights and stay for at least a few days in a local hotel. Not wanting to spend a fortune, I tend to go the budget route. As a result, I have stayed in lodgings that are less than desirable. If you are picky, you won’t want my list of global hotels, especially those in some third-world countries. I don’t always go to metropolitan cities like London or Paris and stay in the famous inns such as the George V or the Connaught. It makes for some interesting times, however, and I don’t want to complain about my choices. Someday I will try the five-star hotels for the purposes of comparison; but frankly I already know the difference.

I have stayed in average places that don’t empty your pocketbook, and some were rather strange, if not weird. I remember (not fondly) one with an above ground pool in the front. You couldn’t miss it. Being highly visible was not the problem. I have seen that before. It was the people who frequented it that were at issue. I don’t know if they just wandered over from the neighborhood to swim or were guests staying on the property. If they were, I am the epitome of normality. I don’t know why they were in the water day and night as an above-ground pool is not that wonderful. They are usually just a simple tank, sometimes with a filter and a heater, and therefore nothing special. You can’t dive in and it is even hard to climb in and out.

Back to the bathers. I did say that they were odd. They seem to be middle age and not young as one would expect. They also seemed to know each other and were playing some kind of tag game that is usually associated with children. They were yelling a lot, but it didn’t seem to be hostile, but rather with good cheer. I started to wonder, but became even more inquisitive when I saw that all the men had beards and were wearing skimpy Speedo bathing trunks. The odd part is that they all looked alike. How strange I thought. I really wanted to ask them questions but I knew there would be a language barrier. I made up stories in my mind as an explanation. Perhaps it was some kind of eerie swim club that had pool privileges. In any case, I personally would never consider entering the water with this band of oddballs. Occasionally, the air was punctured with belly laughs. Were they telling jokes? I never found out as I didn’t want to draw closer to this weird bunch.

You say you live in Minnesota where it is freezing in winter. So cold in fact that Minneapolis is linked together as a city by enclosed walkways. Now that is formidable cold. When I say that it is often cold in Los Angeles where I live, people just laugh. But it is a dessert and arid; and in the winter, it can get chilly at night when that ubiquitous sun goes down. Snowbirds who visit southern California from Canada and the Midwest—fleeing the snow—are surprised sometimes by the degree of cold. Fortunately, the days are nice and they don’t complain too much. If you are from Chicago, a typical cold day in LA at 65 degrees is practically summer. It means a dip in the pool or the ocean. The locals, however, stay at home unless they like outdoor sports. You can ski in the morning in the nearby resorts and get to the ocean by late afternoon. That is the magic of Los Angeles. No one thinks of it as a cold climate but just look at those lovely snow-capped mountains. If you don’t believe me, just go to Big Bear. It is only an hour and a half from the central city.

I have a space heater to solve the problem of infrequent winter chills. It keeps me toasty warm and I don’t have to waste precious energy turning on my home heating system. It’s all about being green these days. Sure, who wouldn’t want a fully heated home, but the space heater works quite well for large rooms. My mother gave it to me when I was in college and it has been in my possession ever since. It makes an appearance a couple of times a year between January and March. If you are considering such a device, know that they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes from desktop models to floor designs that are a couple of feet high. It depends on the size of the room you want to heat. You can leave it on all night and still save money. I have come in from a night on the town, frigid to the bone, and languished in front of the heater to thaw out. My feet are most prone to the effects of the cold, especially if I have been out walking. I know you are thinking that LA people only drive, but this is not so. We also walk if shopping is nearby. The reason is the parking. Who wants to circle the block a dozen times looking for someone to pull out?

A space heater is therefore a godsend to those of us who dislike the winter in Los Angeles. It makes for a very practical gift. They sell them in hardware stores, and of course you can get an ideal one on line. Order now and you will get it in a few short days. You will never feel cold again.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, try to enjoy just being an entrepreneur. Try not to focus on being some sort of a specific entrepreneur. You don’t know which market is going to work for you and when. You might be in a situation in which a market was a great choice when you were first in business school, but the market is dead, different, or saturated now. A market that was dead when you were in business school might have opened up more recently.

You really never know with a lot of markets like this, and you can’t get too attached to particular market if you really want to get ahead in the world of business. You have to always be ready to find a new market, just like people today always have to be ready to find a new job. No one works the same job for the rest of his or her life anymore. That’s just a holdover from the mid-twentieth century, and it isn’t a thing anymore.

It’s the same thing with the world of business. You’re probably going to work in several different markets as an entrepreneur, and you need to be used to that if you’re going to truly roll with the punches, so to speak. There are lots of markets in place these days, and you can definitely still enter a new one even if you only have experience with a different one.

The thing about business is that certain ideas really do manage to stay consistent across different markets. You can learn all about business in one market and then apply those same skills to a different market. You need to look at which markets are on the rise and which ones have room for you to enter, or which ones are expanding enough to allow for more people to jump in at a given point.

Lots of markets aren’t really new markets anyway. They’re just smaller markets within larger markets. If you’re in the tech field, you can pretty much do anything. Almost anything counts as something within the tech market today. If you have the technical skills and if you really are going to be able to jump into a new market from there, you should be fine with everything. Lots of skills transfer, lots of markets overlap, lots of markets close and reopen, and lots of new opportunities arise. Focus on that and try not to get too attached to certain markets or too afraid of some new ones.

I love to travel, even if it is for business. There isn’t much difference between going for work or vacation. It just means you have commitments at first. I can stay a few extra days and explore a region that was hitherto unknown. There are side benefits when your meetings and appointments are over. Now you have free time to enjoy yourself and to satisfy your curiosity about something you want to do or see in the area. I recently had to go to Lyon, France. It is a mid-size city with many sightseeing attractions. There is the glorious French food that is available in one star restaurants. I took the opportunity to tour the wine country; and of course I discovered some wonderful new wines. I had a case shipped home of a mixture of types. It will almost fill my new wine refrigerator that I installed in the den. It is average size and can hold a fair number of bottles. When I have guests over, I can entertain them in style since our beverage of choice is but a few feet away. I always have nuts out and often add cheese, crackers, and olives. The wine is always at the perfect temperature since I set the refrigerator for white on top and red at the bottom. I have dual control. This way you can put everything in one easy place. You don’t have to have a wine rack for bottles that don’t need to be cold. They take up a lot of space even though they can be attractive. I find the wine fridge to be enough for my needs.

The last trip I took to France was very special. I love going to various wineries and participating in local tastings. Each one is unique. They always include regional fruit and cheese and it is truly divine. If only I could ship some of that home, but alas it is not allowed. We do get imports at home so I make do with what is available. Those who have been to Napa, a top-tier wine region, will find it to be a different experience in France given the local customs and the foreign language. French wine was the first to be collected before California vintages took off. Nevertheless, I like to go to the source of my obsession and I will never abandon the great wines of France. There are so many varieties of grapes and you therefore get a good selection of types. I am so grateful I thought of getting a wine cooler so I can receive my shipment in style. It will be stored in a manner worthy of its essence.

I don’t need company to partake of my new wines. I can sit and watch a ball game or movie on TV all alone with a glass in my hand. You don’t need an excuse as you might just want to relax after work. You can read your emails, daydream, or enjoy some music.

I am involved in international business which requires me to travel several time zones away. My destinations change all the time. It makes for some wonderful experiences and adventures. I always explore an area after my work is done. It does make me a bit for tired when I return home to be away for so long; but it is well worth the inevitable jet lag to get to know other countries. I have been to Europe, the Far East, the Middle East, and some major cities in Africa. Australia has been on my itinerary, Hawaii, and New Zealand. I can’t count the places on my two hands. My passport is picturesque as it is laden with entry stamps. It is a good memento for my travels and testimony to a busy global life. The business world has changed and if you want to keep up and compete, you must consider what is happening around the planet.

When a lot is going on in my head and I am suffering from jet lag, I cannot get to sleep right away. It takes days to adapt. I end up watching late night infomercials and old movies that are of no real interest. I get so tired and bored. Sometimes, oddly enough I get up and vacuum. I saw a fancy one in a commercial which gave me the idea. In fact, I was so groggy from lack of sleep that I actually ordered a new one. It seemed like a better model than what I have and it is a pretty good price – it’s rare to find vacuums under 100 dollars. In a couple of days, I will have to find a place to store it. I can dispose of the old one or give it away as it has some life left in it. I just couldn’t resist the TV ad message. I suppose we all get hooked into buying something we don’t need in a moment of weakness. If I am willing to vacuum at night, I guess I deserve a model that is easy to operate. When it arrived, I found that it was. Surely this is the best machine in its price range. The old one is going to be tossed and become fodder for the landfill, as much as I don’t want to waste appliances.

Now when I have jet lag, I try not to turn on the TV to watch infomercials with tempting items. I don’t want to get into those home shopping clubs. They run 24 hours a day so if you have insomnia, they can lull you to sleep. But it is just too darn easy to order. You can program your credit card right into their website. All you need to do is select the item or call and give your name. But I don’t regret the vacuum as it is durable and reliable. I will no doubt own it for some time, thus saving money down the road. You see, my split-second decision turned out to be practical.

I travel for work and am lucky enough to explore the globe. Sometimes I have to make a presentation which requires some preplanning. Since I have all my gear at the ready in my luggage, I don’t need to worry much about packing. I can do it in minutes. It is now like second nature after all this time. But with a presentation, you have other considerations. You must write and prepare your report and edit it for clarity and length. Then you need to have it printed and stapled together as you will be passing it out to the attendees of the meeting you are addressing. I usually can rely on one specific printer, but one time it didn’t happen. I was in a rush and the printer’s time was booked with other jobs. They all were “rush” as well so I didn’t have any priority.

I didn’t panic. My office has a decent printer which saved the day for me so I didn’t have to runaround finding a new printer and miss my flight. This has never happened but there is always a first time. The office printer saved the day along with the trusty heavy duty stapler that is always lying around. The moral of the story is that I got my job done by myself. I made 30 copies in a jiffy and boxed them up for travel. I didn’t want to get any dented corners by stowing them in my backpack or suitcase.

When I got to my destination the next day and retrieved the reports to accompany my presentation, I found them in perfect condition. I am glad that I wasn’t so busy that I didn’t think about their appearance. Yes, it can make a difference. If it is an informal meeting, that is one thing. If it is a professional gathering, then that is another. My session was the latter and I had taken care to ensure a proper presentation. Thanks to the printer and stapler, it was a rousing success. The attendees appreciated the report’s organization and the way it was handled. I think I have the formula for future emergencies. Just rely on what you have in your vicinity. Don’t assume you need a bona fide printer. Besides, I saved money by going solo.

I am thinking about buying my own office-quality stapler in case the one I used is not available in the future. I will keep it in my desk. Some of them are small and ordinary, but I want the jumbo size that can handle twenty or thirty pages. The good ones don’t get jammed and the staples won’t come out if you don’t apply enough pressure. I will have a box of the right ones also in my desk. No one will be able to borrow it. A rush job can happen at any moment, whether you are traveling to make a presentation or not. I am prepared.

All right: if you think that great language skills will help you succeed in international business, you’re right. My language skills are so bad that I’ve had to improvise over the years when it came to getting by in the field of international business. Google Translate has been my friend, and I really don’t know what I would have done if it hadn’t been for that handy little device to help me get through all of the tough little hurdles that you can find when you’re just trying to get through some sort of international business document.

One of the great things that I’ve learned over the years as an international business guy who can really only speak one language is that people in the business world are used to that. They know that Americans can usually only speak English. They tend to be impressed if Americans can speak any additional languages at all. I’ve just butchered Japanese before, and I still had Japanese business people saying that I spoke very well. Lots of people in this culture and many others are just flattered if people try to communicate with them on their terms, literally, and that can be more than enough to break the ice around them.

Most of them also speak English, and that can be more than enough to get across a tough communication barrier. People in this situation are usually going to be able to give themselves enough leeway if they can at least understand people with thick accents. If you can’t get good at speaking other languages, at least get good at understanding all different kinds of accented English. Some Americans say that they can have a hard time understanding anyone who speaks English with an accent that is not American. All I can say is that trying to understand people who speak English with a heavy accent is still a lot easier than trying to understand their native language if your language skills are as painfully bad as mine.

Can you do international business if you do not have an international vocabulary? Yes. I’ve done it. Lots of other Americans have done it. You just have to be patient with other people, you have to be friendly and polite to other people, and from there, it should be easy enough for you to get through the day in any country.

Roadblocks are just another part of starting a business. One of the great things about modern business is that it is hard to complete fail. If you have a good social media following, for instance, you can still use that social media following for something. If you managed to make any international contacts, those international contacts are still assets for you even if you do not have the same business anymore or the same interests. However, roadblocks are going to happen in the world of business, and you have to know how to work with them.

The first thing that you should notice is that roadblocks can actually help teach you about business in a way that business school won’t. Your business professor is someone who knows a lot about the theory. You need to learn from someone who has actually done real world business. You can learn more from screwing up a business idea than you can from taking a few hundred business courses, and that’s what you should try to keep in mind when a roadblock happens. Think of it as an honorary degree from a business school, and you should be able to proceed from there.

Roadblocks really are the roads to recovery. Think about it: roadblocks just temporarily derail you when you’re actually on the road. Roadblocks are going to manage to do the same thing when you are in business. Really, roadblocks on the road are there to stop people from speeding, and you can think of the learning experience that they provide as having a similar effect on you and what you have.

If you have ready my blogs, you know I am involved in international business, which requires me to travel a lot. You can find me on a plane almost any day. I can also be found packing for an upcoming trip if you wander over. I already know by heart what I want to take for most destinations and I have it at the ready in a suitcase. I just must adapt the clothing to the seasons. Most of the time it is warm weather where I go. Some of the essentials are personal toiletries and appliances, but I try to limit what I need in the interest of space. I don’t need an electric toothbrush, but I do like to take a battery-operated shaver. I take dried packaged food for emergencies, an umbrella and plastic rain poncho, a small hairbrush, mouthwash, and soap.

There is one other item that I didn’t mention and I am sure you haven’t thought of it. Not every traveler needs one. I am referring to a portable humidifier along with a multi-port USB charger. I wouldn’t go to many countries (like arid lands with no rain) without it. The interesting thing about it is that it is very small. It is a soft mist gadget that you can take anywhere you like, even use it at home when you are at your desk engrossed in work. You would love it if you suffer the effects of dryness and have sinus issues. Not every location enjoys a humid summer. I get more than an occasional day that is uncomfortable.

This little wonder is so simple and easy to operate. You fill it with plain tap water, or even a scented water if you prefer. There is a ring device that is in the water. Then you plug it into a USB outlet and watch it go into action. All of a sudden, the air around you becomes clean and crisp. Goodbye dry atmosphere! Hello relief for my allergies. I can breathe easier and get a good night’s sleep when I am abroad. I love that there are no batteries to charge and no filters to change. Plus, this gem has a built-in safety timer. You can set it for the amount of time you need, even for hours, and it will turn off by itself when the water is gone.

When I travel, you can see that I take with me the comforts of home, the humidifier being one of the most important. I don’t feel a bit guilty since it hardly takes up space in my backpack or other tote. On really dry days, I am so grateful that I insist on bringing the device along. I highly recommend it. You don’t need a big room-size model when you are on the road (or in the sky as I often am). Give one as a gift for that person who has everything. They will thank you profusely.

Are you a self-made man or a self-made woman? Congratulations! You’re wrong. As an entrepreneur, the first thing you have to lose is this strange sense that your business success is all yours. This has never been the case at any point in history. All business owners got to be successful because they had good teams and they had societies that were built to allow them to be successful.

Did you achieve your own success with no help from individuals or from society at large? So, if you time-traveled back to the Middle Ages, you would have achieved the same business success among the feudal lords and kings? I don’t think so. You’re not fooling anyone by thinking otherwise, except maybe yourself.

You’re not only annoying everyone who’s on the left side of the political spectrum, but you’re making everyone nearby roll their eyes. You really did do a good job when you succeeded in business, but don’t take credit for all of it unless you want to look like you’re really arrogant and clueless. More to that point, if you think this way, you’re going to end up hiring teammates that aren’t going to pull their weight.

You need to put together a good team, which is the cornerstone of any great business. Having a great team partly means having the right mix of personalities.

On any team, you should have people who have their eyes on the goal, their eyes on the process, their eyes on other teammates, and their own ideas. Some people are really good at coming up with the ideas that you’ll use in order to put everything into practice. Other people are really good at putting those ideas into practice in the first place, and they tend to be bad at coming up with their own ideas, to begin with, so you need both groups represented on the team.

Other people are really good at coming up with finished products that are going to work. Then there are the people who really look after everyone else on the team to make sure that they’re doing well: these folks will act like your people managers even if you’re not really paying them to be people managers. If you have this mix of personalities on your team, then you’re actually going to get something done.

Having a team full of ‘people’ people isn’t going to work. These folks will get so nervous about offending everyone and will try to respect everyone’s feelings so much that they’re never going to get any work done, and neither is the rest of the team. People who just focus on the solution usually don’t even know how to get there, and they have a tendency to get really impatient if the goal isn’t there.

People who just focus on the process might want to extend the process indefinitely, and that’s only going to bother everyone else and cause the entire project to fail. People who come up with great ideas and who can’t follow through with any of them are just going to be the people with smart ideas for the rest of their lives instead of smart actions. You need to have all of these people on your team and then some, and then you’re going to have a balanced team that can do anything.

You’ll have the teammate who stops interpersonal conflicts from getting bad enough to undermine the project. You’ll have the teammate who tells the group what to do and where to go. You’ll have the teammate who makes sure the group is accomplishing enough. You’ll also have the teammate who can lead everyone in new directions. Obviously, lots of people are not just members of one of these types and only one of these types. However, people do tend to have dominant personality types in business, and as an entrepreneur, you need to be good enough at managing who has what.

Obviously, you’re going to be a member of one of these groups yourself. Are you the idea guy or gal? Are you always focused on the product or the process? Do you prioritize what’s going on with your teammates? Look at yourself carefully and try to decide what you need to do in order to balance out your own personality traits, and then you really will have the team that you want.