You might think that with a life so focused on social media, my business travel would be limited…    but I practice what I preach about balancing online and offline presence and spend a LOT of time  traveling.  I just returned from a fantastic trip to Colombia for Social Media Week in Bogotá  (SMWBOG), and while falling in love with the country, I also fell in love with my new best travel  friend: Briggs and Riley’s Excursion Field Bag.  Lucky me I got to order and test this awesome bag  due to a Briggs and Riley initiative with Collective Bias.

In my business, I can’t afford to lose connection with my networks.  I need to still be able to  respond quickly to the questions and conversations that keep my existing relationships going, not  to mention capturing information and memories to start and build new relationships as I travel.    Think about it for a minute – what does a social media marketing guy like me need to carry with  him at all times?

–       iPad

–       Laptop

–       Smartphone

–       Camera

–       Various items needed for speaking events, plane rides, conference attendance, etc. etc.

–       Snacks J

The challenge is finding something that allows me to EASILY bring all these items along, with access to everything… and of course it has to look good on me.  I have a reputation to uphold!  J

I gave the Briggs and Riley Excursion Field Bag a solid field test – literally — this week in Bogotá.  I had the incredible opportunity to tour three coffee-production farms, experiencing first-hand the dedication, heart and soul that goes into Café de Colombia.  Imagine my excitement when Juan Valdez (yes, THE Juan Valdez) appeared from behind one of the coffee fields … I almost dropped my bag!  (That would have been ok because it is weather-proof and can apparently handle the shock of seeing Juan Valdez better than I can!).  Interesting side note: Juan Valdez carries a bag that looks a lot like an excursion field bag.

Not once during a day full of tours and time in and around conference sessions was I  annoyed by the bag, which is really the telling factor for me.  Sometimes it’s not what  you notice, but what you don’t notice. When I am at face-to-face social events, I want  to focus on people and conversations, not on my “mobile office.”  I never felt weighed  down, didn’t have to worry about a bulky bag slipping off my shoulder (and there’s a  quick-grab handle on it if you’re not a shoulder-bag person), and still had all my  relationship-building tools easily accessible at all times.  Seamless integration of  offline and online interactions!

It really is all about relationships, but in this case, it’s also all about the excursion bag  that frees me up to build those relationships wherever I travel.  I am very particular  about such things and who knew a bag would become one of my key networking  tools??




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