Sunday, July 27, 2008

Forget Retirement

I just got my wings back -- top tier status on one of the airlines for the next full year. Looking back upon the last year, I sense that I'm not quite done yet. I've had a couple of decades of stories to tell, and I think there are still a few more stories out there waiting to be told. Even though I was feeling a bit old and tired, I think I still need to continue a while longer as one of those "foot soldiers of the modern global economy," as eloquently stated by some article in an airline magazine that I had read a few years back. It's onward to Orlando in August for a sales meeting. It beats Phoenix, I guess. Not by much, though. Later.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Remnants of a Lost Era

I just received a package today. The package itself is a remnant of a lost era -- vacation. On one of my last days of my road trip, I sent all of my laundry and trinkets and other stuff that I bought to myself instead of hauling luggage back home. These days, the airlines are starting to charge for additional baggage. As a frequent traveler, I currently seem to be exempt from the rule.

This was the first time I tried the great experiment. For a two week trip, I selected two drop points for packages of replacement laundry, and used those same boxes to ship dirty laundry and vacation purchases back home. I must admit that it seemed to work out pretty well. You just have to have faith that your package will arrive on time, and in the appropriate location. Those regular insomniacs that read this blog will know that I have had many issues with LSA - luggage separation anxiety. This solution seemed to work out pretty well. It cost less than $20 to ship each box, which was less than the airlines are charging regular travelers. I might give this concept another try in the near future.

While it has only been a week, the vacation seems like it was in another era of history. I think I had mentioned once before that it wasn't easy to return to your normal life after a long absence. Three weeks really isn't that long, but it was enough time to make me realize that I could have used another month. I do need some more time to open a few more pages from the past. With all of the stuff that happened at work in the last couple of days, I begin to think that I should have stayed out at least another week.

The adventures continue as I tackle Norfolk and Los Angeles next week, in that order. Back to the daily grind at 35,000 feet... That's got to have restored some balance in the universe somewhere, right?


Monday, July 07, 2008

The Road Warrior Recovers . . .

I was looking back at the last time I took a vacation, and it seems that it was a little over two years ago. Coincidentally, the last real vacation that I took in 2006 also revolved around my best friends. I guess history does repeat itself, only this time I had a bit of an expanded version of the vacation.

First, my friend Jon got married halfway across the world in Shanghai. That was an event that I wasn't about to miss, so I got an extra few days off from work, even at the end of the fiscal year. Last vacation in 2006, I think Jon and I went in search of hot dogs at a shopping mall in Buffalo. Unquestionably, this vacation (well, it was a vacation for me, at least) was one of the best adventures that I've been on in quite a while. I got to play best man for the first time, and managed to look decent in a tuxedo. Who could ask for anything more, right? Shanghai was a great adventure, especially the taxi rides which reminded me of a cross between demolition derby and the Indy 500.

To top things off, my young friend James graduated from high school, and it was time to take him on a tour of the USA -- a day after I returned from Shanghai. We managed to tackle Dallas, Worcester, New Haven, Redmond, and Atlanta in less than ten days. We even returned to the same hotel in Redmond from two years ago. I knew we would return there someday. I think I even mentioned that in my post from 2006. It was a lot of fun, and I can still keep up with a teenager, which was surprising to even me. We both really, really, really needed a vacation. That was our tagline. I think it was just what we both needed before he goes off to college.

In both cases, it really wasn't the destination that mattered. What mattered most was the fact that I got to catch up with my friends. So, now it's time to return to the perils of the day job, and start planning the next set of travels. I have some time in Orlando next month, and perhaps a few more adventures before that. I also know that I'm not going to let another two years pass without scheduling some time with my friends. Again, I've been listening to too many movies lately, but I remember someone saying that if something is important, you need to make the time.


Friday, July 04, 2008

The Road Warrior Returns

While I was on vacation, I had an epiphany. Well, maybe not so much an epiphany as a self-realization that I'm at my best whenever I'm on the road. It took a conversation around two in the morning at a Denny's in the Seattle area for me to begin to realize this. A young friend of mine wanted to hear my life story during vacation. I was talking about various things which led me to the road warrior game. I had decided to give it up last year, and go into semi-retirement, and I had to stop and think if that was the right decision for me. I recounted the good times and the bad times on the road. If anyone has actually been reading any of this stuff, you'll know that I've had some strange adventures on the road, balanced with some of the less intelligent things that happened out there. To borrow from Dickens, I guess it has been the best of times and the worst of times.

In my absence, I apparently was promoted at work. I've also decided to get myself back on the road from time to time. A year-long absence made me realize that I was at my best when I was out there on the playing field. Though I'm not going to knock myself out by traveling every single week any more, I'm still going to be out there more often than as of late. It's been a really good vacation. I should take a couple of weeks off more often. Now, it's back to life at 35,000 feet.