Lane Kirkland, president of the AFL-CIO, is the proverbial business traveler. Though he travels widely in this country and abroad, his view of a city is usually from a conference room window.

"Nearly all my travel is connected directly with an official trip," says Kirkland, who estimates that 40 percent of his work week is spent on the road. "It's essential to the job. It comes with the territory."

Among the places he remembers fondly:

* The north country of Norway, where he was impressed by the desolate beauty of the fiords.

* Oslo, Norway's capital, where this summer he met with trade unionists around the world.

* Geneva, Switzerland, where "I have been frequently for international meetings."

When he takes a vacation, he spends it "relaxing and reading," and he regularly makes time to visit family and relatives in his boyhood home of Camden, S.C. In times past, he did some archeological digging in the Middle East, "an old hobby I don't get to work at very often."

On Labor Day, while the rest of us informally mark the end of the vacation season, Kirkland will again be traveling on business. He embarks on a whirlwind tour that will find him marching in the morning in a parade in New York City, joining another parade midday in Chicago and closing the holiday with a speech and rally in Omaha.