1. Seeing the sun rise over the smoking city, a pale pink disc hanging in the misty haze above a blessedly-empty bridge.
2. That first cup of fatally-hot Pete’s Coffee standing with rest of the cattle still asleep on our feet.
3. Not talking with anybody until you get there, and even then maybe not for a couple of hours. In the silence there is a Zen repose.
4. Being out of electronic communications during the precise time frame in which other people are just getting going on the most aggravating stuff of the day.
5. Checking in early and finding your room is ready for you. Or conversely, if your trip is a brief one to a relatively nearby location, the knowledge that you are not destined to be a prisoner of Hotel Land this time.
6. Being greeted at the meeting as if your showing up mattered.
7. Often being marginally aware of the issues. And there being a boundary for the most part to the portion of the day during which one must be gainfully occupied. Even the busy sales droid comes to the end of the pitch, eventually. Lunch, of course, may intervene, and is seldom tuna fish. If there is dinner, that’s nice too, since it is rarely at the worst place in town and your hosts are with a person — you — who represents an absolutely unassailable presence on their expense accounts. And if there is no dinner…
8. Being out of electronic communications during the precise time frame in which other people are just getting going on the second-most aggravating stuff of the day.
9. Catching a nap on the plane back. In space, no one can hear you drool.
10. Coming home. And actually looking forward to getting back to your desk.
Those are my 10. And yours, fellow travelers?