I was traveling for the past couple weeks in the United Kingdom to meet with clients. Following a set of very successful meetings I ran into a bit of trouble. Just as I was planning to return home a volcano in Iceland erupted and brought air travel in Europe to a standing halt. I had to spend an additional 6 days in London. I never thought I would utter that combination of words, it just goes to show that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
(picture credited to AP Photo/Icelandic Coast Guard)
All things considered I can't complain too much. Obviously it is never fun to have travel plans disrupted or to be away from family longer than anticipated. But there are far worse places to be stranded than London! It's a wonderful city. And I have many clients, colleagues and friends there, so I kept quite busy, and was able to work from Forrester's London office while awaiting the green light to come home. About a dozen Forrester employees were in a similar situation, and the company did a great job of making sure we were ok and provided much needed support; I'm sure many travelers were not so fortunate.
It is interesting how the web became my constant companion as I made my best efforts to stay productive during the crisis and find my way home. I frequented the travel websites (American Airlines, Marriott), the UK and EU air transport authorities (NATS), news sites (BBC and Sky), and most of all Twitter (#ashtag) to stay up to date on the volcano news and ensure that I had a place to sleep every night, and a seat reserved on the earliest flight home. Turning to Twitter for real-time, crowdsourced news was a real revelation: they often scooped the big news websites; and it provided a sense of community, a lot of us were stuck in this mess together!