Guest Author - Christine Wilcox
Today, I am in an oasis. Itís pretty here (my house). Iím comfortable in my surroundings, with one notable exception. My internet service is down.
You never really know what youíll do when something unexpected like this happens. You hear stories of it occurring, but itís always some horror story reserved for another area of the country (okay, maybe itís not that dire). But hereís how it went down: last night, in the serene City of Trees, we had 70 mile-per-hour winds visit us briefly, which wreaked havoc with our lovely townís services. I did not have it as badly as some others did. In some areas, the power was out for hours, and I know that one neighborhood had a fire, although I donít know the degree of devastation. The wind has been blowing and gusting most of today, as well. And it got me to thinking, what would happen if this had happened when I was on the road?
If I was working, would it be okay to call in a ďthereís no way Iím coming into the office when the weather is like thisĒ day? Would I be unable to leave said hotel? Would I be able to keep the room if the weather was severe for days on end, or would I be like one of those people you see sleeping on a stretch of chairs at the airport? Would I need to keep working if the city were shut down? What would be my plan for getting home? Would I drive if need be? And if I needed to drive, would I know how to get home?
Do you have a disaster plan when you travel? After today, I'm going to. I do read the ďYOU ARE HEREĒ map on the inside of my hotel room door, and I also locate the stairs. And after one impromptu fire alarm in the dead of Chicago winter at a hotel off of Michigan Avenue, Iíve ditched sleeping in PJís for shorts or sweats and a t-shirt, lest I end up wandering the hallways in attire I wouldnít wear to walk to the mailbox if I were home. I donít unpack my bag if I can help it Ė I keep it all together so that I can leave quickly if need be, and I make every attempt to take clothing that doesnít require ironing.
Most importantly, however, I know that nothing in that room is more important than I am. Yes, I will ensure I grab my phone and purse in the event of an evacuation (again, I keep them all together) and I will not try to pack everything and stroll to the stairwell if the fire alarm goes off. If the area gets hit with bad weather, I will remember to keep my travel attitude and prefer to be on the ground than in a plane that shouldnít be in the air. And above all, I will have a disaster plan for each trip Iím on.