Notes from the Road: I Embark for Australia

Yes sir, I’m a denizen of cyberspace! You can find me in my home office, endlessly hunched, gargoyle-like, over my laptop. My wardrobe varies from casual to too casual to indecent. My face can go for an extended period without encountering a razor. Some days, my exposure to the outside world is limited to very leisurely walks with Max, the Pekingese.

But the other part of what I do—giving seminars—is resolutely old-fashioned. I’m the Fuller Brush man, I’m Johnny Appleseed, roaming the land to spread the gospel of clear contract drafting.

I feel privileged to be giving seminars. I get to speak with people who are interested to hear what I have to say. Apparently I manage to convey some measure of my unlikely passion for my subject, making the proceedings less dry than they might be.

But I’m a bit of a stick-in-the-mud. On my travels, my routine tends to be the same, whatever the trip—go to airport; fly on airplane; go to hotel; eat dinner; sleep; give seminar in conference room; go to airport; fly on airplane; go home. I’ve been entirely happy with that routine, but often I’ll have to think for a few seconds to remember what city I had been to the previous week.

One simple reason for my austere habits on the road is the fact that I’m on my own—I can’t work up much enthusiasm for solo tourism. After a trip to San Antonio, I felt sheepish that I hadn’t even walked a few blocks to the see the Alamo. On my trip to Whitehorse, Yukon, last year—hey, I gave a seminar in Yukon!—I did spend a day walking around town, but a more adventurous soul might have rented a car and driven to Alaska.

But it’s also a matter of my priorities. After considerable futility—see this 2009 post for the gruesome details—continuing to make some sort of mark is what matters most to me.

But I realize that I need to lighten up. And now is a great time to do so, as I’m on my way to Australia, then Kuala Lumpur, then Bangkok. (Currently I’m passing over Iowa.) Yes, I’m on my own (and leaving my ever-patient wife, Joanne, to fend for herself for the entire month). But I’ll be swamped by so much that’s new that I can’t help but pay attention.

I’m sure that will involve seeing some sights, but the most interesting part will be meeting new people and getting some different perspectives.

All this is by way of warning you that if in the coming weeks I post something with “Notes from the Road” in the title, it will be more discursive than my usual offerings.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.