The perils of business travel … and why I have skin like J-Lo

Perils of business travel POST


I’m not one of those frequent flying executives who spends every second night on a plane or the club lounge of a hotel. But I travel often enough that I have a system. It’s a system that includes ziplock bags for various currencies and electrical adapters, a regular airport transfer service, and a failsafe way of packing my all-important toiletries and makeup.

Except, this week, my system didn’t work.

I was in Melbourne speaking at the two-day Problogger Training Event at Etihad Stadium. This went smoothly; I packed everything I needed. I also spoke at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network event in Melbourne where I launched my book Power Stories.

Then I promptly hopped on a plane back to Sydney – but left ALL my toiletries and makeup in Victoria. Men reading this might not think this is a big issue. But I’m sure most women can feel my pain when I say that I left ALL my toiletries, makeup, foundation, eyeliner, contact lenses, glasses, you name it … in a whole other state of Australia.

Now I’ve been through some stressful experiences in life, but none have elicited quite the same level of panic as this. Particularly as I had to get off the plane sans makeup and go straight into a lunch with representatives from ANZ (I’m a blog ambassador for the ANZ Small Business Hub). Then a couple of hours later, I was the keynote speaker at the Sydney event for the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network.

The day was so tightly scheduled that there was barely any time to squeeze in buying new makeup – let alone any spare minutes to apply it!

So I did what any self-respecting business woman would do when looking for a time-efficient solution to this sort of dilemma. I walked into David Jones (which was en route to my lunch appointment), found the first makeup counter that wasn’t occupied and asked to be made up.

Needless to say, a certain makeup assistant hit the jackpot that day. Not only did I buy an entire new suite of makeup products, I was so grateful for her prompt and efficient service that I agreed to every upsell she even vaguely waved in my direction. Yes, I’ll confess; I actually fell for the line: “Trust me, this serum will make your skin glow like J-Lo.”

Travelling for business can be extremely rewarding, especially if you’re connecting with the right people and creating your own opportunities. However, it can also be fraught with stress and pressure. This usually comes in the form of cancelled flights, noisy hotel rooms and, yes, even forgotten toiletries/makeup bags.

I’ll admit that it cost me a small fortune to restock my makeup supply this week. But I really should look on the bright side … At least now I’ll have skin like J-Lo.

About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is a keynote speaker, small business commentator, and investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.
  • Rose Wintergreen

    Oh, you poor thing! Totally understand. Very glad for you that they were able to help you so fast. Great creative, quick thinking on your part (who would expect any less though?)! And I’m sure you’re stunning without any makeup. But I understand your anxiety around not having any when presenting publicly – confidence is key, and like it or lump it, makeup is a huge part of that for women in our culture. Here’s hoping this week is less stressful!

    • valeriekhoo

      Very. Scary. Experience.
      And yes, I’m looking forward to a (hopefully) much calmer week ahead Rose!

  • Jen at Interiors Addict

    OMG every time I even THINK I’ve left my makeup bag behind somewhere I get the most awful panicky feeling in my stomach!

    • valeriekhoo

      Nothing worse.

  • Kelly Exeter

    Oh genius Valerie! And at least you rewarded that sales lady at DJs. Most would just take the makeup application and say ‘thanks, bye!’

    • valeriekhoo

      You should see what I did for the kind optometrist who managed to rustle up some contacts lenses at a moment’s notice!

  • Karan White

    Even the best suffer from system fail at times. Brilliant recovery and new cosmetics to boot. Sounds like the rainbow after the storm…

    • valeriekhoo

      And skin like J-Lo … Apparently.

  • Kerri Sackville

    Oh I agree. I’ve been in a panic just losing my tweezers! WHAT IF I END UP WITH A ROGUE HAIR ON MY FACE??????

    • valeriekhoo

      The tweezers … I am missing them the most. It’s so hard to find the exact kind of pluckers you want!