A small-town Midwestern girl, intent on building her career in advertising, gets on a plane with three suitcases. She’s 23. It’s late November. She’s headed to Rochester, New York, where she knows it snows a lot. But, she’s been assured, “it’s just ‘lake-effect’ snow that quickly disappears.
The girl’s job causes her to fly travel frequently to Philadelphia, New York City and San Diego. Those are the trip’s that everyone wants to take, despite long days and occasional red eye flights.
The ambitious girl also volunteers to make the trips to the more out-of-the way places that most of her co-workers aren’t as anxious to visit…places such as Wharton, Texas and Beardstown, Illinois. Less-than-glamorous-sounding places like Monroe, Louisiana and Biggs, California.
The girl experiences the pitfalls of frequent business travel – long days, flight delays and sometimes sketchy hotel rooms. Despite the hassles, she likes experiencing new places – whether a cosmopolitan city or a small town. She quickly learns that racking up frequent flyer miles is important to surviving long winters in upstate New York. Those miles meant flying free to sunny spots like Hawaii. Never mind that the “free” ticket required four plane changes and nearly 24 hours of flying, or that she had to travel alone. She was hooked.
Meanwhile, a very tall guy was building his career in his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. With a degree in international economics, he worked for a law firm, helping to audit oil companies, among other projects.
Growing up in Alaska in a military family, this guy was used to flying long distances from a young age.
Working in Alaska meant flying regularly since much of the state, including its capital of Juneau, is only accessible by air. He, too, learned to make the most of frequent flyer miles.
The guy liked use his miles to take trips to Europe, to do things like attend world hockey championships, and drink the original Budweiser Budvar at its Czech source.
Meanwhile the girl has moved cities as she moved up the advertising agency world, living in the burbs between Philly and New York City, then to a Chicago high rise near Wrigley Field, and finally to San Francisco, where she’s lured with a vice president title. She’s 30 and convinced she will never meet Mr. Tall-Smart-Handsome-Nice guy – but she heads west anyway.
Around the same time the tall guy is enticed to leave Alaska by a San Francisco law firm. There he plans to attend grad school part time.
At the San Francisco ad agency, the girl’s works with East Coast clients –causing her to spend even more time on a plane. The tall guy works non-stop – he’s transitioning into IT full time and works most weekends.
Finally, 16 months after they’ve both moved to the City by the Bay, divine intervention combines with a bartender’s introduction (that’s a different story). The tall, workaholic guy meets the ever-traveling girl. Once they work out their schedules for a date –this took from the day before New Year’s Eve until Valentine’s Day — the guy and the girl decide they like each other.
When the girl casually comments how she wishes she could to visit Hong Kong before the change-over from British rule, the tall guy shocks her by saying, “Let’s go!”
They only have five days during which they both can make the trip. They buy tickets and soon they are off, experiencing the legendary in-flight service on Singapore Airlines during a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong. Despite severe jet lag, high humidity and crowds of pushing people, the tall guy and the girl had a wonderful time. (Hint: If you want to test a new relationship, travel a long distance together in a short time.)
The guy and the girl fell in love, and got married in Sonoma Wine Country. Jobs at upstart companies lured them from San Francisco to the suburbs north of Seattle. They bought a new house and both found themselves working long hours for their companies.
During the two years following 9/11, the girl and the tall guy both endured layoffs when their “upstart” companies died. There was a silver lining – they started flying places on weekends — taking advantage of the new last minute internet deals. And they both found new careers. The girl found her dream job in marketing at a major cruise line. The guy got into technology consulting. And when commuting in Seattle traffic began to wear heavily on both of them, they sold their house in the burbs and headed downtown to test high rise living.
After spending more than six years in Seattle, the guy and the girl felt restless. They went away for a week on a cruise to Mexico to work out their plan: quit their jobs and go to Europe. Start out getting there via a transatlantic cruise, and then stay as long as their budget lasted.
Before they left Seattle, the girl took a course on how to get published. She had visions of writing a book detailing their adventures. During the course, she got a better idea – start a blog. The tech-savvy tall guy set up the blog amidst disposing of most of their belonging and putting the remainder in storage.
They drove to Missouri to the girl’s family farm –where they left their car and their cat, before catching a flight to New York City. Here they boarded a ship sail on their self-funded mid-career sabbatical, which took allowed them to explore Europe from the Black Sea to the Polar Ice Cap, sharing their travels via their blog.
While that’s the long story of how this blog came to be, the journey continues.
Upon our return from our summer adventure in Europe, we both quickly returned to jobs that made us road warriors once again. We still love travel and especially the art of making the most of each frequent flyer mile.
Travel has enhanced our lives beyond our wildest dreams. We continue to share our travel tips and discoveries in hope of inspiring other travelers.
What’s your travel story?