A strong spirit of ‘anything is possible’ is woven throughout Marie’s life and career. Despite being advised not to choose math for her major, Marie naturally went on to achieve a degree in Mathematics, a Masters in Statistics and is now writing a PhD in Computer Science. Today, Marie is the Director of Oldfield Consultancy, which provides services in Defence, Maths, Statistics, AI and Modelling.
With both her own and her husband’s projects requiring frequent business travel - combined with their mutual love of leisure travel - the probability of finding Marie on board on any given day is statistically very high.
“Operational research is about minimizing wasted time and maximizing useful time. I apply this across everything from packing my suitcases to how I spend time on board and at airports”.
TRAVEL BY NUMBERS
How often do you travel for business? I travelled non-stop last year. I didn’t mind the constant traveling because the projects were so interesting. However, I found it was easy to get to a stage of burnout when traveling across time zones, losing sleep and not having a set mealtime. As a consequence I have developed a much a healthier routine for myself and I also plan long weekend rests into my schedule.
What are the risks of constant business travel? It can be tempting to spend a lot of time in restaurants enjoying the local cuisine, not going to the gym and working late into the evening, but that can be a potentially unhealthy route. Once I noticed this I simply started looking after myself a bit more.
Tips for maintaining a better balance? Use every available minute wisely! I do my invoices and emails on the plane, I go to the gym when I’m away and sometimes even do my laundry. I make sure I can walk to my destination from the hotel, which gets me moving during the week and I end my night with a cup of chamomile tea. That way, I can truly rest on the weekend.
Where do you travel for leisure? We have two types of leisure destinations. The first is a fun-packed, hectic journey of learning, where we fit a lot of activity into the trip. For example, wandering the streets of New York, visiting the opera in Verona or enjoying something completely different, like the culture of New Orleans. The second, my favourite, is a leisure trip where I can completely relax, unwind and not do anything at all – preferably next to a lake in Italy or a white sandy beach in the Far East.
What spots would you recommend to your friends? I personally enjoy London and its multitude of galleries or the Southern USA and the amazing food offerings available. For views I enjoy the Banyan Tree restaurant in Bangkok, the viewing areas in Hot Springs National Park Arkansas or, for more spectacular views, there’s the Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim in Arizona.
What’s the most unusual trip you’ve experienced? When I was living in London, my friends often spoke about ostriches and other wild life in South Africa. Of course I had to go! At one stage in the Kruger National Park, the view from our window of the mini bus had a lion to the left, water buffalo to the right and a rather annoyed elephant blocking our path in front of us. That was exciting!
What would you never leave home without? That would be my Quartermaster and Valise. I love these pieces - whether for long-haul or short, business or leisure trips, they have a place for everything and the organization ensures you’re not wasting any time. I can pack and unpack in 2 minutes! That’s the ultimate elegant solution!