Everyone wants to know about the trip to Abu Dhabi. “How’d it go?”

So here you go, of course illustrated!

Like many of us in sales & marketing, if you’re around long enough, and work for (or partner with) companies big enough, eventually you travel to most of the common spots around the world. So I’ve been to places like Hawaii, Switzerland, Cancun, the DR, the Philippine jungle, Paris, London, of course New York City, LA, Chicago, Miami, Scottsdale, the Grand Canyon, the Redwood Forest, the Adirondacks, the Rockies, Banff, Seattle, and almost all points in between.

The Liwa Desert on the peninsula that closes in the Persian Gulf, an uninterrupted sand desert THE SIZE OF FRANCE, and in particular, the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, is a bucket list item, a sight to behold, stunning, terrifying, majestic, gripping, and exhausting.

Just getting there for me was an ordeal, an emotional roller-coaster. As travel schedules are want to do, my relatively painless trip was immediately interrupted by a delayed plane from O’Hare into Cleveland that was to take me to Dulles. So the trip began with a heart-pounding sprint to the international gate at Dulles only to waive goodbye to the plane slowing rolling away from the jetway.

So I was rebooked from a 14-hour, non-stop, flat-bed seat to Dubai arriving at 3:30pm, to one of the last seats on a plane to Frankfurt (middle seat, 7 hours), then a Business Class seat to Dubai, finally arriving at 12:30 am. After passing through a 90-minute process of luggage and customs, connecting with my driver outside the terminal, and driving to the resort through the Arabian Night, I arrived at Qasr Al Sarab at 5am local time – 38 hours including the time-zone difference. Exhausted.

Fortunately my client has the wisdom to shift the Agenda and move my part on Social Tech in insurance sales and marketing to Day 2. So after meeting the group at their meeting kick-off at 9am (slept from 6-8am), and saying something in the fog of exhaustion I will regret for a long time, I went back and slept for 6 hours. I don’t think I moved.

Fortunately, I woke just in time for the evening activity. Refreshed and camera in hand, we took off on a “Dune Bashing” adventure. Wow, this is really hard to describe. But suffice to say that whenever I think of it, I smile. In a nut shell, we signed the ‘death-waivers’, accompanied by funny little quips by us insurance geeks of course, climbed into Toyota Land Cruisers equipped with interior roll-bars, let the air out of the tires, and proceeded to race up and down, in and around, monster dunes – not for the tender stomach, lemme-tell-ya.

(Here’s a LINK to the video clip next time you’re on Facebook. I’ll be making a longer video with a series of clips as soon as I get some other things done.)

Fast forward to the presentation the next day. It went really well. The group was very expressive, had some great comments and observations, liked the Social Tech observations I made, and definitely got their money’s worth. So – Mission Accomplished. One of the attendees gave me a great Recommendation on Linkedin. I see tremendous potential for the enterprise and the individual business units. I was actually very impressed the way they went about things and their focus points. I do hope that we can do more together. But enough on that…

And suddenly I found myself back in the car, back in Dubai, and back to D.C. Seriously. The trip home was stunningly fast. I worked on the images in the car, no issues with the plane this time, and I indeed slept for 12 of the 14 hours. Really. SLEPT for 12 hours straight, sure a bit of tossing and turning in the flat-bed seat, but none-the-less – slept. Somewhere along the line I picked up the obligatory cold. (But it was actually miraculous that I hadn’t gotten sick leading up to that trip with all the travel I was doing in the weeks before, plus my wife being sick for essentially two weeks before.)

So it was a great trip. Thanks to the company for giving me the chance. Thanks to all the folks that have encouraged and supported me along the way – and there are way to many to count. But most of all, as always thanks be to God, who leads and directs my life. I especially remember my best buddy, Jim Love, who gave me the key verse that started and ended the whole adventure, Ephesians 3:20. Oh, and by the way, Jim Love, a brilliant chemical engineer by trade, and mighty man of God, was ON MY PLANE on the last leg to Cleveland.