I am hours away from my flight from Burlington, Vermont (my home and headquarters of Seventh Generation) to Great Falls, Montana- the closest commercial airport to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch in Dupuyer, MT. That's where I'll be participating in the 6 day workshop: Biologists at the Design Table (BaDT). There I'll be joining 2 other co-workers (Penny and Dan) and from the looks of it, 13 other participants. Over the 6 days, we'll be learning how Nature's design strategies and methods can be applied to 'human challenges.' I hope to bring back a new way of thinking about products, company practices, and problem-solving to 7G.
Wait- did I say flight? I meant 'flights.' That's 'flights' with a capital 4. It's the Orbitz way, really. I connect in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Denver before arriving in Great Falls about 16 hours later. The fact that I have to take 4 flights is not at all a reflection of a company's miserly bent toward travel costs. In fact, had I been using ResX, the price would have been about $400 more. Nope, I chose Orbitz because that way I could sneak in a trip to see my sister in Ohio on the way back for roughly the same price as an out-and-back to Montana (also priced by Orbitz... Jay...) So I have to take 4 flights out there to make it cheaper. Whatever. I can handle the travel. The real question is, do I check luggage? Susan Johnson isn't here in my living room, but if she were, I am guessing that answer would be a big, beautiful smile from which the word 'no' would gracefully escape.
It's kind of important to highlight the personal sacrifice I am making to do this. Just because the company is sending me on this all-expense paid trip for 6 days to a remote ranch in the Big Sky state to participate in discussions and lectures centered on nothing short of one of the most important philosophical and scientific concepts to date doesn't mean that there aren't consequences. I mean COME ON, do I have to go? Seriously though, this weekend there is an important Ultimate (frisbee) tournament IN (read: caps = highly unusual) Burlington. My team Chuck Wagon (Chuck being another way to call a big throw and Wagon, well... I didn't like the name initially, either. It reminded me of the 80's dog food commercial where the dog chases the cartoon chuck wagon to his dog bowl) ... My team.. will be trying to establish itself among good teams in the Northeast Region after a slow, injury wrecked start. As one of one healthy team captains, a large part of me feels like I need to represent. Not only should I be there to be playing, I should be there to help organize the tournament. Plus missing a week of training with the team is going to push me further down the fitness ladder, and if I slip, I will get heckled hard. It's bad enough that I broke down into knee push-ups on Tuesday. And I am already that old guy on the team. But I'll do everything I can to keep up while I am in Montana. I can exercise in the morning, I mean, what time is breakfast anyway? Ohhhh. 6:30. Maybe I'll just eat really, really light.
Long story longer, I am going to this course leaving my wife at home, my teammates on the field, and daily work in a drawer (sniff- and oh yeah- Martin just because I am in Montana don't be slacking on getting me the rest of those formulas- Dagan: TPS reports, I didn't see them. Reed: I didn't update the scoreboard to reflect your last table tennis meltdown, could you update that before I get back? THX) where was I.. oh yeah... (I am going to this course) because- quite seriously- I expect to this to be a life-altering experience. I expect to have a significantly stronger appreciation and awareness for System Earth. I expect to have a new language, a new perspective, and to be able serve as a resource to my company when it comes to answering the question: What would Nature do?
Yeah, I guess it sounds like a valuable use of time.
Today at work Dan, who has been Google BLASTING everything Dupuyer and Biomimicry since we booked tickets (Note: Dan, who is not going to visit a sister in Ohio on the way back only has 2 connections to GTF) noted that, according to the map, Glacier National Park is really close to where we are going. Automatically I said that we're not likely going to have time to visit the park on this trip after seeing the thick agenda for the course. We paused on the realization that if we don't go now, Glacier National Park might not be much to see the next time we happen to be in Montana. 'Dry Glacier National Park,' Dan suggested in the form of a question. I had no answer.
Midnight. I guess it's time to pack for my 10 day trip.
I'll be posting to this blog every day, because somehow there's a wireless connection out there. I am bringing the camera so you can see some Big Sky, so you can see the subject of our discussions, and so you can see me, Penny, and Dan bring the 7G skillz up into this here conference. ("Oh wait just a minute honey, yes, excuse me, but what FRuh-AME-WORK are you using for this discussion? Yeah, see that's what I thought. Don't make me restrain that activation before I nest this system upon you."
If anybody wants anything from Montana or Ohio... or... Illinois, Minnesota, or Colorado... let me know soon.
Note: I am not sure if Montana is actually the Big Sky state or not.