Traveling the Pilgrim way…

This is the first business trip I've done post Camino.

I've done things vastly differently this trip, because of what I experienced on my pilgrimage.

By way of background, I've been an independent film producer / director for more than thirty years, and during that time I've traveled a lot. And by “a lot,” I mean up to three to four times a year, often around-the-world trips.

Everywhere from Australia is a long way. There were a few years where I was on the highest frequent flyer level on both Star Alliance and One World.

When you travel as much as I do, you establish a set routine, and you do things a very particular way. You do this to protect yourself from the visissitudes of jetlag, and to make life easier on the road.

This trip I busted that all wide open.

For starters, and I mentioned this before, I am traveling with just carry-on luggage.

I used to have carry-on (my trusty battered Lancel wheelie bag) plus a suitcase which invariably weighed 20kgs+. My carry-on would weigh 12kgs+.

This time I got everything I needed for three weeks on the road, attending business meetings and packing for cold weather, into a small Samsonite case that weighed 11kgs. Most of that weight was my MacBook Pro, and my Nikon kit.

Whenever I stay in London, I usually stay at a small boutique hotel in Soho. It's called Hazlitts. It's very exclusive, (for “exclusive” read “expensive”) and it's very cool. And it's right in the heart of the film industry in London.

Whenever you go to a business meeting, you're always asked where you're staying, and you're judged on that. If you're in London and you're staying at Hazlitts, then it means you're cool and you're successful.

This time I booked into a pub in Wandsworth.


Wandsworth is in the suburbs. It's across the Thames from Chelsea. It is definitely UN-cool. But it's REAL.

Why this particular pub? It's what's called a “gastro-pub,” which means it's got terrific British pub food. And as I say, it's in the suburbs. It's about as far away from hip Soho as you can get.

(Well, not really. I could go way the hell out of town, but I had to be practical.)

As well, usually when I'm in London I take cabs everywhere. A cab to and from the airport, cabs to and from business meetings, cabs back to the hotel.

This time when I landed at Heathrow, instead of blindly heading straight for the cab stand, I found the tube. The subway.

I bought what's called an Oyster card, which is an electronic travel card for use on the tube and buses. I put £25 credit on it for three days traveling around London.

The cab fare from London to Hazlitts in Soho used to cost me close to £75. This time the tube to the pub in Wandsworth cost me £3.80.

I have been traveling the last couple of days around London, from meeting to meeting, using the underground. I will leave London with about £8 credit remaining on my Oyster, which I can reclaim at Gatwick.

Before the Camino, I would never have considered doing a business trip this way.

In one of the meetings – a very important one with the head of a very prestigious sales company whom I'd never met before – the bloke asked me where I was staying, and I told him. He looked at me, mystified. He said: Wandsworth? Why?

I told him I wanted to do things differently. I was tired of doing the same things the same way. Staying in the same place, eating at the same restaurants, going to the same coffee shops. I wanted to have new experiences.

He said: Yes, okay – but there is a very nice pub in Knightsbridge. I put my eccentric actors there all the time. It is very good food, and the rooms are very beautiful.

I explained that I wanted to see a different side of London. Not the Harrods London, the Tesco London. I think I totally confused him. I didn't care.

And here's the thing post Camino – I don't care about impressing anyone anymore. I don't care what people think of me. They can judge me on my work – what I've done, and what I can do in the future. If they wish to judge me on what hotel I stay in, then more the fool them.

Perhaps the biggest change in me this trip though has not been cab vs tube, fancy hotel vs local pub, big suitcase vs hand luggage – it's been internal.

On previous trips I set myself very definite goals, and sought very particular outcomes. This time I didn't. I've approached this trip the way I approached my Camino – trusting that my PGS will guide me the right way to my highest good.

On my Camino I would lob Into a town and allow my PGS to guide me to the best place for me to sleep that night. And it always did. This time I lobbed into London and allowed my PGS to determine what was best for me this trip.

What it meant was this – I went into each business meeting totally relaxed. Because I didn't want anything from it. I trusted that my PGS would guide me to what was best for me.

If the financier I had lunch with today (in Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in the Savoy) wants to put $7m into my movie, and if that's the best thing for the film and for me, then it will happen. And I don't need to worry.

If my PGS determines that it's best I don't have that financing, then it won't happen.

Either way, I'm sweet. So why worry?

It's the first high level financing meeting I've done in my time as an independent producer where I've gone in completely at ease, not wanting anything other than to have a nice lunch with an interesting person.

I'd let go the rope.

And you know what happened?

The financier kept on wanting to talk about financing the picture. Without any effort or prompting from me. She was the one who kept talking about the timing of contracts, and if the film would be ready for the Venice Film Festival etc.

I just sat back and enjoyed the foie gras.

Will the financing happen? Who knows. I don't care. Because only the right thing will happen. I know that as certainly as when I walked into Hontanas late that afternoon and found a bed for the night.

I love my new life!!


17 thoughts on “Traveling the Pilgrim way…

  1. That’s the way I always travel, mainly because it is either travel that way or not go anywhere! In my old age I have come to embrace it even more. Younger people express shock and awe when I describe some of my adventures, and that is very satisfying.

    Perhaps my all-time favourite quote is G.K. Chesterton: “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.”

    My aspiration is to make the rest of my life an adventure.


    • Clare,

      Yeah having the youngn’s view you with shock and awe is itself pretty awesome. Seems like our mate, Bill, is rightly considering his adventures on this trip. Thanks for that great quote and seems like you might live with it. Thanks for a little glimpse into you also.



  2. Bill,

    Fabulous! And you know what, the new attitude will probably bring you everything you have gone to London to obtain.

    Best of luck, my friend.

    Is the Portugal recce next?



  3. Hi Bill,

    Non attachment – to specific outcomes, to others judgements – what freedom!

    I feel an incredible film coming on.

    Am guessing your gastronomic experience at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant won’t make Bill’s Road Food blog……..

    Enjoy your travels.


  4. Bill, I love it. What i love most is you are living without expectation. How cool is that?No expectation and sharp pgs is about the most stress free life can be. I have never heard you express it quite this way. I am really jazzed for you. Have a great, stress free trip. Steve


  5. OH, yes, please, Bill, I’d love to see the Savoy meal on the food blog … just for comparison with the Aussie pub grub … see how it stacks up?! Incidentally, what does Jennifer feel about this new you-beaut PGS way of approaching life during your travels. She staying at Wandsworth too, shaking her head at her new, PGS-guided husband? 🙂 Like it has been established previously she hasn’t necessarily signed up for the full PGS experience!


    • Hi Britta –

      You’re the one cracks ME up!!

      As for the lunch at the Savoy – it was a last minute decision because we were going to take a cab to Brick Lane, which is the heart of Little India in London – however it was raining and the financier lady suggested the Gordon Ramsay restaurant at The Savoy.

      I didn’t take any pics because it would have been a bit rude at a business lunch. We both had the set menu, which was £30 for three courses, which I thought was pretty decent. I actually negotiated with the maître ‘d to swap dessert for a serving of hand cut sea salted chips to go with my main meal, and they have to be he best chips I’ve ever eaten.

      I had foie gras for starters and a pork schnitzel for main, with an amazing cranberry sauce. Just beautiful. The decor of the restaurant was very stylish and the service was exemplary.

      The previous lunch meeting was at a very nice restaurant called the E&O, at the back of Notthinghill Gate. Again, just beautiful food.

      Because I had two big lunches I never did get to have dinner at the gastro pub, which is a shame because they had a great menu. It’s just that I couldn’t fit any more in – I wasn’t hungry.

      Jennifer is with me, but didn’t attend either lunches. How does she regard the new PGS -ized Bill? I asked her, and she commented on just how relaxed I’ve been. The most relaxed she’s seen me on a business trip like this. She said in times past, I would have insisted that we have dinner. She saw it as a step forward that we didn’t.

      She said “we’re all learning together.”



      • Thanks, with all this, we don’t really need the picture – and of course, I’d agree with you that it would be a bit rude to whip out the camera. 🙂 Also, glad to hear that Jennifer is happy learning all the PGS living with you. It’d be sad if the new, more relaxed, no-I-no-longer-fly-1st-class you, became someone she was unhappy with !!


        • She’s fine if I fly first class, as long as she comes too!

          We have a policy that if we’re paying for airfares, we always fly coach.

          Being a member of the Directors Guild of America, it’s their rule that if you’re traveling for work, you fly first class. In those instances though, invariably it’s a studio paying – and they can afford it!



          • I have not flown first class in years. I learned that the coach section gets there just as fast as the first class section, and frankly, it does not bother me at all. I had the good fortune years ago to fly the Concorde, both French and English, and that was an experience. Basically a long cylinder with narrow seats on either side of a narrow aisle. They carried no extras of anything. We were flying into Washington, but diverted by a snow storm to Nova Scotia where we sat on the tarmac for hours and hours with nothing to eat or drink because they simply don’t carry extras. Another time, I flew it with only 7 people on board, one of whom was Dudley Moore. Pretty amazing. I would never fly it again if it was available, because it was simply too expensive and I can’t afford such luxuries in my “golden” years. But it was quite extraordinary.


          • Steve,

            You continue to amaze me.

            The Concorde – wow.

            I don’t know how anyone can justify the expense of First Class, unless they are so wealthy money simply doesn’t matter, or if they are so famous they require the privacy (but usually those folk take a private jet) or unless someone else is paying.

            I’ve flown First Class quite a bit, and as you say, you get there the same time as if you were flying coach. The other thing I found is that your physical state is no different if you’d flown coach.

            You still get the same amount of jetlag, you’re still tired. It’s a fallacy that you get off the plane more refreshed because you’ve slept better – you don’t necessarily. I have seen people in coach sleep the duration of the journey – sometimes 12hrs straight.

            The meals and wine are better in First Class, no doubt, but on an airfare from Sydney to London return we’re talking the difference of $1,500 as against $15,000 – so the meals would need to be better!

            Anyway, this is all silly.

            I fly coach unless someone else is paying. Simple.



  6. Bill, I loved your post. I think you have somehow inspired me to just let go.

    My son recently invited me to join him for two weeks of his vacation in Viet Nam. At first, I had all kinds of reservations (kind of feared whether I might be a burden to him – elderly mom etc). – But I have now let my PGS guide me – and flight tickets are now bought. So looking forward to this.


    • Arlene,

      You have heard me say it over and over. Living without expectation allows you to appreciate whatever comes your way. Another way of saying “let go”.

      You are quite the international traveler.



    • Annelise, just take what Vietnam offers and enjoy every moment. I am sure it will be a wonderful time with your son.
      I was there last year and found it both historically very interesting and culturally very exciting. The food was just fantastic.
      Are you going to Cambodia also?


  7. Bill, hope everything goes just the way it should, whatever that may be. PGS will determine that. Your experience continues to amaze and challenge.


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