Last week, Google sent me to London to educate English retailers on how US retailers are utilizing Google as an effective marketing platform.
Before I get into the business aspects -- I generally had a much better experience in London this time around than I did 10+ years ago. The food was much better than I remember it, and the people I actually had conversations with didn't seem to mind that I was American. (Although I was amazed to find that London Tube riders were much ruder than NYC subway riders)
Also of note - last week was the first time in my memory that jet-lag truly kicked my butt. For the first day or two - my body was real screwed up. In fact, the first night of sleep - I woke up at 2:30 AM and was up for good. I went to the gym in the hotel at 4:30 AM ... which was definitely the first time that's ever happened.
Speaking of first times - it was my first time visiting the city of Manchester. As my pseudo tour guide (who lived in NY for 7 years) told me -- it's like Boston, but smaller and cleaner. And that was pretty spot on. I was only there for about 24 hours, but I really liked the city (minus the fact that the pound is worth 2x of a dollar).
On the business side - I was a bit taken back initially at some of the conversations I was having. It was like I traveled in an Internet marketing time machine to the US in 2005. The same objections and conversations that I was having with U.S. retailers 2 years ago -- our London and Manchester teams were having last week. This is no knock on anyone at all -- I just find it so interesting. Here's an Internet economy that is apparently larger than the US, yet the US is 2 years ahead of England in online marketing....
Given the fact that I travel a lot for work, it was definitely cool to travel overseas for a change. It was a good experience and I met some great people, but I don't see myself doing this regularly or anytime soon.