I have spent the last two years corralled in my home on video meetings – business on top and magic pants (pj/lounge pants) below. Lately I have had video calls in my jogging clothes – no one cares anymore.
After a long wait and possibly too soon, the time for work travel has arrived. Flight and hotel booked, badge for ExpoWest 2022 secured . . . I am going to break out of here! This is my 15th year, but it feels like the first. Out of practice would be putting it mildly. Oh, and how can we forget, there is still COVID-19.
How does one prep for pandemic work travel? I have read up on different suggestions and realize that there is a big spectrum of ideas.
What Is ExpoWest?
If you've never been, let’s set the scene. Go watch a Christopher Guest movie to get into the mindset – Best in Show is a great example. Now, let’s apply this to the world of natural products (remember that having Christopher Guest base a movie on ExpoWest was my idea).
There are some extreme personalities and beliefs that transcend politics, some transcend logic. The brands that have not yet been gobbled up by large corporations that follow the money will have their experts on hand to let me know how their products will improve my life. Creams, potions, pills, food, scents, and the latest craze – sparkling beverages! It’s a cacophony of stimulation hitting every sense, hoping to reach retailers and enlighten them on the reasons they must carry this product.
I am a big supporter of brick-and-mortar retailers and ExpoWest is THE place to find new products and get deals. Walking the show floor as a media professional in this industry has honestly been an honor as these brands pour everything into the products they offer to the world.
Packing for Pandemic Work Travel
First off and very high up on the list of importance, footwear. I realized the other day that my sneakers (because why pretend to be a grown up) are not fresh enough for Expo. I have a yellow pair in my closet that look new so I can wear those. I also ordered a fresh pair of my white ones – and now I have set myself up with a decision to make. Who am I kidding, I will bring both.
Clothes. Real talk, I have not bought new clothes in years at this point because I don’t go anywhere. Do I just grab something random in the closet? Do I go shopping? I may walk the show floor in magic pants and hope for acceptance. ExpoWest is an array of style that I have never excelled at. I bow to those who have hung onto style at this stage of pandemic life.
Now that I am settled on having no idea what to wear, turning my attention to staying healthy. Immunity supplements, whole foods for meals, exercise, and water are part of my daily – so I am hoping that I don’t get sick before/during/or after the show.
I have followed recommended precautions, crossing all fingers, and doing a little dance in hopes that I can pull this off without a sniffle or a cough.
It’s been a minute since I have been in a crowd – so packing some tools to stay calm. Bringing my blankie (yes, I am 44), fidget toys, and my phone to call home at any moment.
Side note, I panic on flights, I really don’t like flying. Dangling in a box 36K feet in the air just feels wrong. My excitement about attending this weirdo-fest after such a break with so many people I love has kept my fears tamped down. I also have to thank Lynn Tryba here. She knows the depths of my flying fears and books flights with me, so I am not alone.
I am sure I will forget a few important things, and I am sure there will be experts in every aisle of the show to tell me exactly what I need to help achieve enlightenment. Oh ExpoWest, I have missed you so!