I sleep with strangers at least twice a month. A LOT of strangers.
Before Covid hit, It was as much as once or even twice a week.
And when I say “a lot,” I don’t mean three or four at a time. No, I’m talking about 36 people, 40 people… I’ve slept with as many as 60 strangers at a time! Sometimes, we sleep together for only four or five hours – There are instances though, where we sleep together for as long as 16 hours at a time.
During Covid, it all stopped, though. And that was tough. As weird as it may seem, you get used to sleeping with strangers pretty quickly. Do it a few times, and it starts to normalize. When you’re done, and you get home, you take a long hot shower, and the concept of what you did all washes away, swirling down the shower drain, leaving you fresh and clean, ready to go on with your life. Until the next time it happens.
The more I think about it, the more the word “sleep” is kind of a misnomer. Sure, many of the people I’m with do in fact sleep for some of the time we’re together, and I guess I do for a little bit as well – but mostly, I’m working. I mean, let’s face it – Where else would I get up to 16 hours of uninterrupted work time with absolutely zero distractions other than when I’m in business class on a long-haul flight to give a keynote halfway around the world? In this case, sleeping during the flight is such a waste of time. With the way my ADHD brain works, I sit down on that plane, and the second we take off, I start working. Writing, telling stories, creating content, working on my next book, heck, even editing video and making memes. My audience of close to a million people always know when I’m on a long-haul flight – Because when I land, they’re treated to a ton of new content from me.
Heck, I even took a flight once for the sole purpose of writing a book. I had a due date for Zombie Loyalists that was quickly approaching. I’d done all the research in the first month, then ignored the actual writing for the next ten and a half months. With two weeks until my deadline, I booked a flight to Tokyo for the next day. Armed with my laptop, a power cord, headphones, a sweatshirt, and my backpack, I boarded a nonstop from Newark to Tokyo and wrote the first half of the book on the way there. I landed in Tokyo, cleared immigration (I was forced to) took a breath of fresh air, turned right around, walked back in, through immigration, took a shower in the lounge, and boarded the same plane, same seat, for the flight back home, and wrote the second part. Landed about 35 or so hours after I took off, with a completed book. I probably looked like death on a cracker, but I did the job I had to do.
Some people think I’m crazy for loving to fly as much as I do. But I’ll tell you – there’s literally nowhere in the world where I’m as productive. Being in the air, ironically enough, grounds me. Second only to being with my daughter, it’s my happiest place. I always bring the flight attendants M&Ms – They’ve come to know me on the long-hauls as the guy who brings them candy. They know to keep bringing me cans of Diet Coke (or Diet Pepsi, whichever.) No glass, no ice. They’re used to me heading to the galley every two hours to drop for 25 squats – (keeps the brain fresh and keeps the blood flowing when you’re sitting that long.)
Plus, they know that when there’s only a 1/4th flying time left on our trip, to stop by and I’ll always show them what I’ve created and get their opinions. Whether it’s Premiere Rush for some Instagram videos, Photoshop or Lightroom to edit or get my photos all set for publication, or even using Adobe Scan to send all my receipts to my assistant so the money keeps coming in… If it’s in Adobe’s Creative Cloud, chances are, I’m using it in the air.
Gotta wrap this one up. Just heard the “double chime,” meaning we’re on final approach. Man, was I productive this trip. I didn’t “sleep” with all of these strangers on this flight, but hey, maybe next time.
In addition to having the honor of being an Adobe Insider for five years running, Peter Shankman is a corporate keynote speaker, a talking head on most of the cable news networks, the host of the Faster Than Normal ADHD and Neurodiversity podcast, and co-host of the X8 Global Travel podcast, as well as Futurist in Residence at both Price Benowitz and BluShark Digital. He lives in New York City with his eight year old daughter who is already on her second passport, and he’s @petershankman everywhere social media exists.