127 Miles From Something {GBD Part Five}

While driving outside of Boston this week, I passed a mile marker that said “Mile 127.” My initial thought was… from what? I mean, not literally – I know how mile markers work, people. But I looked around me as I drove down the interstate, sun shining, surrounded by big, lush trees. This got me thinking…

Aren’t we always 127 miles from something?

Whether it’s something in our past or something in our future, we seem to always be stuck thinking about something very far away from where we are in the moment. Why is it so difficult to stay in the moment, and trust that God has us exactly where we are supposed to be? My weekend goal is to just be, one moment at a time.

On a lighter note, these thoughts led me to think about all the millions of people in every tiny corner of our country, hustling and bustling about their days. And THAT made me think about all the random little stuff that I didn’t know about some of these cities I’ve been travling to when I started in my job. A bunch of random things came to mind, so on this Friday, I present you with:

Just a few things I’ve learned from traveling to new cities.

  • Boston Logan Airport is basically on its own island, which I think is pretty sweet.
  • The show GCB (which failed) was based on Highland Park in Dallas, and it was mostly accurate.
  • In New Jersey, “jug handles” make left turns off of any major highway one of the most confusing things you’ve ever done.
  • Most sky scrapers have their elevators divided by floor. Going to 39? Don’t get on the “2-20” elevators, or you will be SOL.
  • People in every part of this country will help you if you give them a big smile…and if they don’t, well, just smile bigger.
  • Dallas has some seriously good shopping.
  • Boston can be unseasonably cold in June; and Chicago can be unseasonably warm in March.
  • A “lobster roll” in New England is not sushi.
  • Everyone in Chicago works in or just outside The Loop. Know The Loop. Embrace The Loop.
  • Tolls suck.
  • Somewhere outside of Dallas there is a steak house / cigar bar with a Cognac and Cigar Lounge that is legit. We need a cigar bar in Nashville.

This could go on a while but really, my point is just that there is so much going on RIGHT NOW outside of the little bubble we each live in. Go see it!

First Time Flyers {GBD Part four}

I realized I hadn’t written an installment of The Good, The Bad, The Delayed in a while, and after a quick New Jersey trip, I thought it might be time to chat it out again.

This is a short, sweet, and fun little story, placing it in “THE GOOD” category of GBD. On Monday morning, I took a flight to Baltimore along with about 40 8th grade students. I’m guessing they were on an end of year trip, but their chaperones told the gate agent that they would go straight to the back of the plane, and they would be as quiet as they could get them.

Well, rumor quickly spread among passengers that for many of these 8th graders, this was their first flight EVER! How exciting!! It was fun to see them chit chatting and adrenaline-filled just before take off.

But the best part? As we raced down the runway, their giggles got progressively louder – and I looked back to see that just about all 40 of them had their hands in the air like they were on a roller coaster. Man oh man! a) I wish I could remember my first flight, and b) I hope I had that much fun with it!!

It really made me laugh to see something that is becoming so routine for me – something that I can practically sleep right through sometimes – bring so much joy and excitement to some eager kids.

This week, I’m going to try to see old things in a new way. You should too! Happy Thursday!!

Under the Influence & Flying {GBD part three}

A GBD story for you.

A few weeks ago, on my way back from New York, I had a lay over in some city that I can’t remember at the moment. I took my seat in an oversized chair near the gate, and fired up the kindle to dive in right where I’d left off. Two seats down from me, a woman – maybe 35 years old – was sound a sleep, hunched over right there in her chair. I hardly noticed her at first – every seat was full and we were all pretty much minding our own business.

Fast forward five minutes – someone’s cell phone is ringing LOUDly. Some song I’ve never heard before, something about a great man or a great love. It rings and rings…and rings. And 30 seconds later, the caller tries again. My first thought is that a woman in front of me, who has head phones in, just isn’t hearing her phone. I scold her in my head. It isn’t until the caller’s fourth attempt that the phone is finally answered by the woman two seats down from me. I realize at this point that she is SO sound asleep, she hadn’t even heard the ringing.

But then she speaks. She speaks with such slurred words, I think to myself, “Is she drunk? Does she have a speech impediment? Is she high?” I just couldn’t tell! But it didn’t take long for her to tell all of us in the gate area exactly what was going on. The phone was, somehow, on speaker phone, and she could not manage to turn it off. I think she even fell back asleep while trying to turn it off, and the caller had to call her back yet again, and then we got the whole slurred spousal conversation…

…wha?…imathe gate.

—why aren’t you on the plane?

…isss delaaayed.

*she manages to turn of speaker at this point, turning this into a one sided conversation*

…wha? I sid is delayed.

…wha?

…wha? No this isn’t some try to not come home. Wha? (starting to get louder)

…no im nahdrunk.

…because I took my perkaset, TODD!

…justwo. (getting even louder)

…no TODD.

…shut up. Whatryou talking about?

…Todd you NER LISTEN TO ME

…youarent lisning todd.

It went on. It got louder. There were hang ups and SEVERAL calls back. If you are worried about her…I am too. But she did make it on the plane. I don’t know why Todd would think she wouldn’t want to come home, or if she took perkaset because she is sick or because she is afraid to fly or what. But man, it was 20 minutes of solid entertainment.

And wouldn’t you know that the next week, I got on a plane where a saw a girl my age helping her friend, another girl my age, get into a seat. Her friend immediately curled up into fetal position in a middle seat and slumped over, sound a sleep. What was up with her, you ask? Well, she apparently took five xanax.

Lord almighty.

wrong place, wrong time, walletless {gbd part two}

When traveling for work, I typically fly into the airport, rent a car, and spend 2-3 days driving around the city, going from meeting to meeting. We have an extensive database for tracking office addresses, as well as other useful information. Typically, while setting up an appointment, I confirm that the office address I have on file is correct. Sometimes, I don’t.

Recently, on a trip to Dallas, I made two huge faux pas. I left my hotel around 8:15, and arrived at my destination at 8:35 – plenty early for my 9:00 meeting. To kill some time, I sat down in the lobby and pulled up my email correspondence with the man I was about to meet, just to be sure I didn’t need to remember anything in particular about our conversation.

While doing this, it dawned on me that my wallet was not in my bag. I had managed to leave it at the hotel, but luckily I would have time after this meeting to swing back and pick it up. No problem, since 99% of offices I visit validate your parking tickets anyway (and in fact, I had been to a meeting in this building before, so I knew for a fact they validated).

After a few minutes of reading my email, I noticed something that made my heart sink like a stone. Right there, in the email he sent me weeks ago, I saw it: a different business address than the one I had. I couldn’t believe it! My phone said it was 8:50. Thankfully, the correct address was just a couple blocks away…but I didn’t have any money to get out of the parking structure.

I gathered my things and got to my car in no time flat, pulled up to the parking attendant, and put on the saddest face I could manage without actually crying. I explained my “situation” and how I was going to be late and how I was SO SO SORRY and how I would call him with my credit card information if it helped. He told me if I had been there less than 10 minutes it would have been free, but I’d been there for about 16, so it was $1.60. I repeated my groveling – so sorry, very late, no money, SO SORRY – and with a look in his eye that said “you suck,” he opened the gate. I thanked him profusely as I ran away…well, drove away…to my meeting.

…which I was on time for, while my alumnus was 15 minutes late.

Thanks for reading part 2 of The Good, The Bad, and The Delayed.

The good, the bad, and the delayed {GBD Part One}

My dad has told me (more than once) that I should journal about my travels. Considering that 95% of my time on the road is spent actually working, reading, or sleeping, I don’t really feel like it is worth journaling about…especially considering that my journaling efforts usually last about two days.

But I DO like to blog, so it dawned on me…maybe I should blog about the quirks…the 5% of my travel that is abnormal, unusual, or downright uncomfortable. Also, my dad really loves Clint Eastwood. And so, I give you…The Good, The Bad, and The Delayed.

I started jotting a few notes, and realized I have a handful of stories to share from the past few months, so I couldn’t just write a single blog post. Rather, I’ll share a few anecdotes here and there with you. Let’s start with New Jersey. It was this week. It was rough.

I tend to have 8-10 meetings on any given trip (3 days, 2 nights). This might sound like a lot, but considering they are typically 30 minutes each, it could be worse. And normally, I am able to schedule one meeting for every three to four people I contact. Well, New Jersey was not normal. I was able to schedule six meetings. Six. Out of a possible fifty people. That’s a pretty crummy ratio. 0.12 to be exact.

That said, I was not overly picky about my meetings. I took what I could get, and they were all over the state. My less-than-36-hour trip would mostly be spent driving from one meeting to the next. On this map, I have drawn my route.

I also need you to know that I am extremely optimistic when setting my schedule – I assume that if google maps says I can do something in 1 hour 9 minutes, I can do it in 1 hour 3 minutes. It never happens. Ever. But I still believe. So I scheduled my last meeting for 3:00 in a town that is 1 hour 9 minutes from Newark Airport. I scheduled my flight for 6:00. What I didn’t know (but learned when I arrived) was that the rental car company I selected was about a 15 minute shuttle ride from the terminal. Well, let me rephrase…there is a shuttle train that connects the terminals and the parking areas, and the shuttle to my rental car place picked me up at one of those parking areas. So I was TWO shuttles away form my car.

I digress. A perfect scenario was: leave meeting at 3:30. Arrive at car place at 4:40. Get to airport by 5:00. Get to flight by 6:00 departure. Meanwhile, I also found out (thanks to the fact that my loving boyfriend tracks my travels) that my flight was twenty minutes delayed. Hooray! But like I said, I don’t have the best track record when it comes to doing things according to google time. Here is how it really went down:

2:55 Arrive at meeting EARLY!

3:19 Leave meeting EARLY! GPS says I will be there by 4:30. PERFECT!

4:24 Take the wrong exit, leading me into traffic h-e-double-hockey-sticks on the Jersey turnpike. THE JERSEY TURNPIKE. Because, why not. I almost get hit like, a gazillion times. But I don’t actually get hit, so I play it cool while calming my nerves with a granola bar (judge me).

4:31 GPS says I’ll arrive at 4:41.

4:41 GPS says I’ll arrive at 4:51. I hate GPS.

4:59 ARRIVAL.

5:01 Get on the shuttle to the shuttle.

5:07 Arrive at the second shuttle.

5:07:37 Change from heels to flats. Shove heels into bag.

5:09 Get on second shuttle.

5:17 Get in the security line.

5:23 Go all George-Clooney-from-Up-In-The-Air in record time: laptop, coat, shoes, briefcase, suitcase, BLAM! You’ve been Clooney-ed.

5:31 Exit security line after impatiently waiting for slow polks.

5:37 Arrive at gate like a rockstar, completely nonchalant.

And so I give you Part One of The Good, The Bad, and The Delayed. I hope you enjoy.