Europe North Africa USA
My job with STORM Technology sent me to numerous places, for between 3 and 5 weeks at a time :
Lisbon (1996 ?)
Singapore (1996, 1997-twice, 1998, 1999, 2000)
Hong Kong (1997-twice, 1999, 2000)
Jakarta (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
Bangkok (1997, 1999, 2000)
New York (2000)
The strange thing is that I was originally brought into STORM to look after things in the London office while the other staff travelled.
After the first installation I was involved in at the London office of a Japanese bank, it was realised that I got on well with the clients, and seemingly spoke their language.
This led to my Company President asking me the question "Well Ian, would you like to go to Singapore for 5 weeks ?".
I didn't really look back.
It turns out that my management saw my relationship with the clients as useful and as I found out at a client lunch in Jakarta some time later, they liked me for many reasons including my "being very open and honest". This made me cringe a little as my Company President was sitting next to me.
In fact, as has served me well throughout my various existences, keeping my integrity and not bending to the company rule too much is a fine trait. I hope that what people know about me is that I state a view and keep my word - both old-fashioned, but rewarding.
Occasionally on the longer Asian trips, after about the 22 day mark things would get a bit much for me - I would be "riced-out" and I would head off in search of a burger and chips. Home called me regularly after being away that long, and for the last few days I would be almost de-mob happy as I would be back home on the following Saturday.
On a couple of other trips with more centres, more airports, more transits criss-crossing South East Asia, I found that I was actually counting the progress of the trip by the number of flights I had left.
When the trips were long enough, and I didn't have to hop from business centre to business centre, the consummate professional disappeared on Friday evening to be replaced by the "Power Tourist".
Some people cannot understand why, but my philosophy is basically that "You never know if you will pass this way again, or if these marvellous things and places will still be here".
(20 Dec 2013)