Friday, December 9, 2016

Time is running out

"Welcome Mr Bingham."
 The man smiles slightly as he realizes he's back on the road again. The strange mix of professionalism and comfort to make you feel like you're with family when you don't know a single person in the room. He sets his things down in the airport club knowing that they will be safe while he grabs a cup a coffee.

The man sits down in the worn out and faded lounge chair with his cup of coffee and looks beyond the window in front of him. He sees a plane slowly getting ready to take off while another is landing. "It's all so simple," the man thought. Up, down, repeat. Unload, reload. Limited communication in the blue abyss of the endless simple.

What a run the man has had over the years of travel. Flying in luxury, achieving the highest status, going where the wind took him. The man sighed. Company policies were changing and the man's comfort was slowly being taken from him and the year was coming to a quick close.

Like all travelers, the man was thinking about the next year and what status awaited him. In previous years he never needed to worry because traveling 80% of your time far exceeded highest status on any airline. Now the man, like other travelers, crunched the numbers for flights in his head trying to figure out if his comfort status was within reach.

It almost felt surreal to the man. No matter how he worked the numbers, he wasn't going to make it. It was as if the home the man worked so hard to build over the years was being taken away from him. The man understood that it was only a matter of time, but change is never easy. The next year awaited the man, change was eminent.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Another a new adventure

The lights turn on. The man opens his eyes abruptly.
Good evening everyone, we have now started our decent into San Francisco International airport. Flight attendants, please prepare the cabin.
The sudden shock of being awoken starts the mans mind again.
What a nice sleep. I wonder if it's too late to get a drink. Nope. Thank you first class! oh man, why am I going to this destination again? His thoughts begin to fill his mind again...
The man looks out at the beautiful glow of the bay skyline in the dark.... an amazing achievement of mankind. The man had finally found home among the clouds, but the man's life was yet again changing. Work was changing how they do business and the man's home was slowly changing to a darkened apartment away from the clouds.

When your home is in a immovable structure, continuing relationships around the world becomes increasingly tougher and the man knew this. This trip to San Francisco was not for business this time, it was to find an immovable home. A home that grounded him.
Flight attendants please take your seats
The man takes a deep breath. knowing change is emanate, he sets his mind on making a home on the ground.

8 Weeks later

"I need to get up into the air. It's been nearly 8 weeks!"
The man argues with his manager. Alas, his manager caves and gets him into the clouds again.

Like an old friend, the TSA agent greets the man at security. Like a pro, the man continues through security in a matter of minutes. The club lounge feels like a warm hug to the man. Everything he needs for the comfort of the road, healthy snacks, cushy seats, chargers, drinks, wifi, ticketing help, business rooms, and most importantly, peace and quiet.

While the man sits in peace waiting for his flight, there's a moment of hesitation. Normally the man finds fun things to do-- code, watch the news, text friends, watch movies, and most importantly figure out what fun things he'll due at his next destination. His mind was in disarray though, the infrastructure of blocks and barriers to normal life had been whittled away from the normality of an everyday immovable home. The man was lost, confused, and at a loss.
I need to get groceries when I get back. I still need to furnish my immovable home and get my address changed. License. Registration. Register to vote. I need to find a new place to bike. I wonder if there is a local group I can join?
What is this? The man has not felt these feelings in years. Heck, the man drove from his immovable home to work and back the other day. The last time the man did that was nearly 5 years ago. The mans struggle was getting worse.
The moment I stop flying I'm stuck. Who the heck has the money to fly and see family and friends whenever they want? My miles are nearly depleted, I'm flying less for work, settling into this new immovable home. I'm stuck. I cannot move. This is what it feels like to be in the same area. how do I get out. What if I need to leave? What if I don't know anyone here? Can I even afford to move again? What have I done? If I'm not traveling, my life stops. Breath.
The mans anxiety raises. What is happening to the mans life? He had worked so hard in the last few years to fight the loneliness, the superficial conversations, and the loss of "home". The man now lies in a paradox that he just fought so hard to get out of. The man smiles,
There's never a dull moment in this thing we call life.
The man closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, looks out into the world and begins to embrace the reality that life that given him.

I came. I saw. I travel.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The flight is home

The time was 4:45pm on a Friday and the man was relaxing in a taxing feeling relieved of his efforts of the week. He though about the flawless execution of his recent delivery on the subject he teaches different companies around the country. The client was happy and finally knew the direction of execution they needed… something that had been lost through venders, teams, and confusion of the product. The man was content, relaxing in his taxi with all of his belongings headed to his home, the airport.

As the clock struck 5 o’clock the taxi arrived at the airport and the man thanked his taxi driver for the comfortable ride, he grabbed his lugged, and breathed in a sigh of relief while closing the taxi door.  He then started to focus on the task at hand, 
'I wonder if this airport has a lounge I can relax in peace and quiet in. Oh I’m gonna be real sad if they don’t have precheck, oh well, I’ll get through. I wonder if they have good seafood here. Oh I should text Rob and see if he’s around this weekend to catch up. Mom. Call mom. I can do that when I get into the lounge.'

The man dove deep into his thoughts while walking, 
'alright where is security? There, there it is. Oh! I should email my manager about that issue and maybe suggest the solution I have been thinking about. And I need to look into that cruise information. How cool would it be to travel for vacation? precheck. ‘why don’t you slide….’ Gosh this is a great song, I should really add it to my favorites. Crap, I’m next, better get my mobile app out with my pass. No I’m not a terrorist, hurry up I’m hungry.'

As the man entered the terminal, the man found a nice restaurant with some lighter food and a good whiskey selection. Best part about the restaurant was that it had wifi, SCORE! While enjoying his whiskey, the man was able to check his emails, follow up with colleagues, and start to answer some of the questions that the client had. His mind began to rush with thoughts, 
'I really should look into that idea, I bet thats a pain point for a lot of clients and just a good thing to read about. I should send out a pic and show everyone me enjoying my life at the airport!'

As the man receives his check for his meal, he realizes how much cheaper the bill is than what he was expecting. 
'I cannot believe this is my bill. I suppose I didn’t get the Glenlevich 12 yr this time, so it makes sense. I have plenty left so I can probably tip them at least 30%.. oh thats not enough, lets do 35%. Now, where is that club, I have relaxing to do.'

Terminal Announcement: Flight 2033 out of Gat B4 is delayed 35 minutes due to weather conditions"

'Sweet, more relaxing time in the club. Maybe I’ll meet a cool world traveler.'  
'I still don’t understand why I can’t just give them my member number to enter in the club. Awesome! they have some different snacks rather than the normal ones. Remember before snacks, lets grab and apple or two, then we’ll dig into the snacks. Alright, where’s the bar, there should be plenty of seating there and a few travelers to talk to.'

As the man orders a complimentary drink and opens his laptop to the free wifi, the bartender smiles and asks where he’s headed. Of course the man tells her how he’s headed to the city he lives in, but will be back on a plane on Monday, headed to a new destination. She then asks him, “What are you going to do when you’re home??” The man then begins to ponder the question, 
'Crap, now I have to come up with some answer that makes me sound interesting. Maybe I’ll say I’m going to hang out with friends. Or better yet, lets say I have a lot of work to catch up with. Oh man, what do people normally do on the weekends? Visit friends? Family? Drink? Go and explore? I do all that during the week and I'm so tired... I just want to sleep and be lazy this weekend. Maybe I’ll just say that this time, but I need to phrase it in a way that it doesn’t seem like I’m lonely where I live and am just waiting to get back in the air again….'

The man’s flight was about to board so the man paid his compliments to his bartender, said goodbye to his platonic friends he just made, and was on his way. Next up, to find his gate. 
'Alright, where’s those signs, ah B4 to the right. 4 minutes until boarding, no problem. Yep, there’s the lines for my flight… boarding group 2. I suppose I should smile at the people in the other boarding group. That guy and his wife look particularly stressed right now. I wish I could express how relaxing flying could be but they probably wouldn't believe me. Oh well, better get out my mobile boarding pass.'

As the man boards his plane, he looks around and smiles. He is continually amazed about flying and the complex process made easy to world travelers. To fly above the world and look down and to see civilization's amazing marvels and experience the awe that is collaborative expression in the world has always been a passion of the man and now he was living it regularly. 
'I wonder where that couple is going. They seemed like they were headed out to vacation but seemed stressed.. hang in there buddy, you’ll get there, just a bit further……. Ahhhh A window seat, a relaxing area of zen.'

The flight attendant comes on over the intercom, “Welcome aboard flight 2033, flight to…”

'Time for earphones. ♫'My baby don’t mess around because she loves me so and this i know for sure. But does she really wanna or can’t stand to see me walk out the door…. Cant stand to fight the feeling cuz the thought alone is killing me right now, thank God for mom and dad for sticking together because we don’t know howww ….. heeeey ahhhh, hey ahhh, hey ahhh, hey ahhhh…''
'Why are the lights still on, I just want the cabin to be dark….moving toward the runway, thank God, relaxation here I come. There’s the acceleration, I absolutely love the g-forces, it’s so relaxing, I’ll be out in no ti- …. zzzzzz'


I came, I saw, I travel

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Flight

The time was 4:45pm on a Friday and his fingers were frantically trying to finish up an email for his replacement on the project he had been working on for the last 6 months. This project was his all he focused on the last 6 months and finally he could see his release in sight, vacation. He just needed to finish this email with the final details of what needed to be accomplished in his absence. 

As the clock struck 5 o'clock, the email was finished and his vacation notification was set, “I am currently out of the office this week, for any immediate issues, contact my replacement below”. He then shut his computer down, grabbed his keys, and headed to his car. As he stepped out to the parking lot, a long list of things to do flooded his mind, 
'pick up kids from daycare, call mom to make sure she’s made it to our place to watch the kids, call wife, stop to get snacks and a new carry on, don’t forget the clean underwear in the dryer!, print off itinerary, and breath, the flight will be okay, everything will be fine'

A few hours went by and the kids were finally fed and everything was packed into the car. He hopped into the car and looked over at his wife and smiled thinking they were so close to relief; beaches, sun, relaxation, good food, a suite to themselves, and most importantly no mention of work! As he drove to the airport anxiety started to set in. 
Did I leave money for mom to feed the kids? Did I remember to tie up all the loose ends at work? Do I have my ticket? Are we going to get to the airport in time? Hopefully my suitcase isn’t too heavy. Will we make our layover? I really hope I don’t get sick with the turbulence. I really really don’t want to be cramped into that sardine can for 4 hours. Breath.'

He parked the car and they wheeled their suitcases to their terminal. His anxiety continued to build,
Oh great a line to check my bag, I knew I shouldn’t have pack those extra sandals. Do I have my ticket? Did I forget my swimsuit, oh no I remembered that. breath.'

Once his bag was checked, over to security and his thoughts continued to flow, 
Another line? You’ve got to be kidding me. We can do it. Do I have my ticket? Oh crap is my ID in my wallet? I’m not a terrorist. I’m not a terrorist. If I’m frisked I have nothing to hid because I’m not a terrorist. My belt? You want me to take off my belt!? Wait, you have to pat me down because there’s something wet on my back? It’s sweat! I have been in lines for the last hour and I’m sweaty and tired! I just want to get to my vacation, but I’ll smile and allow it because I’m not a terrorist.'

He put his belt back on and looked back at his wife, who looked miserable, so he smiled and re-assured her that they are on vacation and it will be good to be away from everything for a week. 
We can still make it. Just hurry down the terminal, wait, which way? Where’s my ticket, it says on there. B4? B4. B4…. where the heck is that. Ah, B1-B15 to the right! What boarding group did they announce? Wait, what boarding group are we? Never thought I’d be so relieved to see a line at my gate, we made it. Time to get into that sardine can. So close.'

He and his wife board the plane with the stress starting to come off… but only to build back up once he enters the tiny vessel that will be traveling 500+ mph, 6,000 feet above the ground, and almost no movement room for 4 hours. 
What’s that smell? Did you really have to reapply the perfume right before you got onto the plane? Why does first class already have drinks? I’m not even to my seat yet. Where’s my ticket? What’s my seat? 31D, a middle seat. That guy overflows into my seat! How am I supposed to fit!? Crap, I checked my headphones… and my book.'

The flight attendant comes on over the intercom, “Welcome aboard flight 2033, flight to… please take a moment to look at the card in the pouch describing this aircraft…. in case of a emergency…. in case of a water landing…And thank you for choosing us for your flight”
Wait, what did they say about a water landing? We shouldn’t be flying over water. Are we really in danger of crashing? Maybe I should tell my wife I love her. oh shit the plane is moving. Breath. Quit biting your nails, it’s fine, everything will be fine. Wow, that’s a lot of acceleration. The engines are really loud.. please please don’t fail, I just want to get to my vacation. There goes the front wheels. Breath. Okay, here we go.'

Stress free vacation, here he comes...

I came, I saw, I travel.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


I now have been traveling about 8 months now. My perception on life have certainly changed in terms of what "home" is.

Home is familiarity

Home is familiarity. When growing up home meant my family. When in college, home meant friends. And when I moved to the city, home meant a location. But now I'm finding home truly means familiarity. This is a more generalized version of home, and as a traveler I can appreciate it more.

In the famous words of Sheldon Cooper, "In an ever-changing world it is a single point of consistency. If my life were expressed as a function on a four-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, that spot, at the moment I first sat on it, would be (0,0,0,0)." Consistency = familiarity.

Consistency = familiarity

Now, I am not saying anyone's definition of home is wrong, I'm justing that home is being defined as a more general term for me as my years progress to allow for "consistency" in my life.

Home means familiarity for me because I no longer feel "comfortable in my skin" in my apartment, in my city, around my friends, or around my family. Home is where you are content with life. It's where you are accepting of your life, or at least some aspect of it.

For travelers home is the road. Hotels, flights, rental cars, bars, restaurants, local attractions, and most importantly, consistency. Staying at similar hotels, flights, cars, and bar and restaurant types is what brings that consistency. For me, home would be defined:

And if I find a live bar with wifi, life is perfect

Then flying united while enjoying the United clubs, resting at Marriotts and Hyatt hotels while running directly after work. For fun going out to local Jazz clubs or country bars. And if I find a live bar with wifi, life is perfect. Then collapsing at my null apartment all weekend in preparation for the next wild week.

This is the traveling life,
I came, I saw, I travel.

Note: This blog is merely defining home for me. In no way does this explain that I do not get happiness from friends and family. I love that part about my life. To be able to see family and friends is a special treat for me as a traveler. They are the reason I keep traveling, to see them all around the US.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Unwrapping the MileagePlus Club Card

Since I spend a lot of my time in airports, I decided to get a credit card which allows me access to the United MileagePlus Club in the airports. Now for those of you that have never experienced the awesomeness that is a club in an airport, let me tell you: The club is a space secluded from normal airport traffic. Most people that go there are frequent flyers and understand the the life of the road. There is a customer service desk so you don't have to wait in long lines to talk to the airlines. There are free snacks, fruit, cheese and meats... lounge couches, power outlets galore, and large flat screen TVs with sports and news on. There is also an open bar with always friendly bartenders. 

Now, along with the club access, it gives you silver status on United, Platinum membership to Hyatt Hotels, and access to a ton of great deals on luxury hotels all around the world. Check out the benefits. But this blog isn't about the card benefits, it's about when I got my card.

I went out to my mailbox looking for an envelope, and instead I find a package... a 5 pound package...

When I opened it, I realized what was in the box

And then I open this beautiful box, and see a letter. "Congratulations on qualifying for the MileagePlus Club Card"

Oh yeah, here's you card btw embedded to the 1/8" cardboard cover of this box.... you might want this.

Underneath the letter are two books. One to explain all the benefits of the card and the other to outline the luxury hotels that you could get deals at.... as if the internet hadn't been invented.

And in case you didn't see all the benefits on the single page on the internet for this luxurious card, here's a 3/4" book explaining your benefits with lots of stupid flowery information.

Don't have the internet? Wait, what's the internet? No Problem! Here's a 1 1/4" thick book of all the luxurious hotels you can stay at with basically all the same deals: free breakfast and a round of golf. Thank God I always wanted to haul this book around.

Don't believe the thickness?

Oh wow. look at these images and descriptions.... SOOO worth it.

At the bottom of the box, finally the information everyone knows is going to bit them in the butt, but the CC companies don't want to share.

The legally binding contract crap.. and insurance, and interest, blah blah blah... But look at the cool books I go too!

This is the remnants of a ridiculous credit card package. Deal United and Chase, All I wanted was a piece of plastic that got me into the United Clubs, not a package of crap that I can find on the internet.

Thanks for killing trees and verifying you put my annual fee to good use,

I came I saw I travel.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The enjoyment of Train Travel

Today I travel on the train. Normally this wouldn't seem like a big deal, but I am traveling cross country. Something that you would usually do on an airplane. I'm not traveling this week for business and therefore this trip on a train was specifically purposeful. Many who have not experienced long travel on a train would cringe at the idea, I’m here to change your mind…. If you're willing.

In order to truly enjoy the train rather than flying there are a few things that have to be understood.

First, you cannot be in a hurry. A train at times travels faster than a car would, but calculating in the stops along the way, it’s about the same speed as driving.

Second, you have to be traveling to travel, rather than to get somewhere. If all you are focused on is getting to where you want to go, then you cannot realize the awesomeness of the train. Live in the moment.

Third, you have to be open minded. Each train ride is different; don't expect the same experience twice. Be happy with the experience you have.

Fourth, Don't stay in your seat. No matter how long your trip is, get up, get out, and experience everything on the train.

If you think you can do these things you will love your train experience, guaranteed. Why? Trains bring together so many great aspects of human culture, history, and nature.

You meet completely different people each time.

You meet completely different people each time. When in the viewing car (a car with windows everywhere)  I sat and listened to guitar music, while listening to a few french people talk. and then was greeted by an indian man who was showing the scenery to his kids. Then in the dining car I run into a couple riding the train for his 70th birthday, another lady who went to Reno to try her luck, and a mountain lady going to visit friends. Ya just never know who you will meet on the train.
Update: the guitar player was kicked off the train because of heavy intoxication.

The scenery is breathtaking.

The scenery is breathtaking. Seeing the countryside away from the highways (which are usually heavily populated) you really get to see a different side of the world. Mountains, sunsets, trees, trees, more trees, fields, beautiful country houses, and tiny towns that look like they are from the 1800s. You see random people stopped along the road to wave at you. You see cliffs, lakes, scenery that looks like it has never been touched by man, it’s absolutely incredible.

You can bring anything.

You can bring anything. Unlike most transportation that is available, you can take food, drinks, alcohol, blankets, pillows, and up to 3 bags on for free (each as big as a checked bag on an airplane). My biggest point with this is you can be comfortable. You can have changes of clothes, have some coffee when you want it, a drink when you want it, go to the viewing car and make food (that you brought), and just live like you normally would.

It’s relaxing

The train isn’t stressful, it’s relaxing. The seats are big, normally you’ll have 2 to yourself. You have plugins for all your electronics, the seat is a recliner. You don’t have to stay in your seat, you can go to the dinning car, snack car, viewing car, or just wander around. In the viewing car there usually is a volunteer that rides the train and points out all the interesting historical stuff that you pass through on your journey throughout the day.

My biggest point to hit home when riding the train? You’re there for a long time, sit back relax and love your life because you are seeing and meeting people most people won’t.

I came I saw I travel.