Travel Stress

We leave tomorrow morning for Manila. We will be on an airplane or in an airport for 24 hours. While I am looking forward to the Manila, despite the fact that it is rainy season, I am stressed out about the travel portion.

I don’t mind flying. When I am taking simple trips back home to KY or for vacation out west I’m fine. I still get stressed about getting to the airport on time and the security line, but once I’m through security and at the gate, I’m fine. Especially if it is a direct flight. I don’t have any trouble at all with the actual flying part of flying. It’s the process of flying that drives me crazy. Security lines, transferring planes, etc.

This trip will have two connections. Two short layovers. Two opportunities to miss a flight. Then, at the end, we get customs. I wish the government in the Philippines were treating us the way the Chilean government did. We got off the plane and there were people waiting for us at the gate. They took us to a nice room with cookies and TV while they cleared us through customs and retrieved our bags. The same happened when we left the country. Same nice room, they checked our bags and then we went through a back portion of the airport right to our gate. If every country we visited treated us like VIP’s flying would be much more pleasant.

I’m still dreaming of a first class upgrade on a flight. 13 hours on a plane would be so much nicer if I was rich and could buy first class seats. I hope my family realizes I would abandon them in coach if given the opportunity.

I’m sure I won’t sleep much tonight. That might be a good thing. Maybe, for the first time, I can actually sleep on the plane.



What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I already posted about my high school reunion. The reunion was one of the things I did on vacation, but there was plenty more. We started the vacation by driving to my mother-in-law’s house in Kentucky. We had dinner, went to bed and then got up the next morning to head to Indiana University for a college tour. At the end of the tour I finally found a brain bigger than mine.

Indiana University

We left Bloomington and drove to St Louis. The next morning we went on a tour of Washington University.  It was a very nice campus, but miserably hot that day. They did give the students a free lunch and the entire family a nice water bottle.




We left the university and headed down to Grant’s Farm. I was skeptical and didn’t know if it was worth the trouble of going just to see the Clydesdales, but there was so much more. It was a fun place(with free beer samples) and worth the drive down.


Grant’s Farm


Grant’s Farm



While we were in St Louis we went to the City Museum. It was an interesting place and we had a lot of fun climbing around inside. I did bump my head several times and still have the mark. It’s also very hard on old knees. Everyone in the family chickened out and didn’t go down the 5 story slide.




After City Museum, we went to the Arch. The tram up was a little claustrophobic, but worth it. We were probably in line longer than we were in the arch, but the views were great.


Gateway Arch

View from the Arch


The Arch at Nighr

After St Louis we went to Bowling Green, KY for the reunion and to spend time with family. On the way back out of town, we went on a tour of my alma mater, University of Kentucky. We toured the dorm where I lived as a freshman. Well, it had the same name, but it was a completely different dorm than where I lived.


University of Kentucky

How to Make Vacation Seem Like Work

I will be on vacation soon. I will be away from work for a week, so I will be on vacation. The problem is, this vacation will not be very relaxing. After a good run of trips to places like Lake Tahoe, New Hampshire, Zambia, Norway, Sedona, etc we are only taking one week this year to head back to see family in Kentucky. That could be relaxing, but we took care of that by adding in some college visits. Here is the itinerary:

Day 1 – Drive 9 hours to mother-in-laws house. Eat dinner. Visit some. Go to sleep

Day 2 – Eat breakfast. Drive 3 hours to Indiana University for college visit(do I really want my kid to be a hoosier?) Leave IU and drive 3 and a half hours to a hotel outside St Louis

Day 3 – Head out early to see some sites in St Louis before going to college visit at Washington University. After college visit go to arch, city museum and other attractions. Very tiredly drive back to hotel.

Day 4 – Head out early to go to Clark Farm to see the Clydesdales before driving another 4 and a half hours to my brother’s house.  Spend a little time visiting with family before attending my 30 year high school reunion.

Day 5 – Finally a day with no driving. Hang out at my brother’s house. Hope the weather is good for swimming.

Day 6 – Still in flux. Hang out at brother’s house all day again or spend half a day there and then drive 2 hours back to MIL’s house. I’m hoping at some point my wife tells me what we are doing.

Day 7 – If we are still at my brother’s house, up early to drive the 2 hours to MIL’s house. If already there, a nice no travel day to possibly go to a movie.

Day 8 – Drive 9 hours back home.

I am scheduled to be back at work on day 9. I might need to ask for an extra day to recuperate.


I’ve Had It With These Monkey Fighting Incidents on These Monday to Friday Planes

United has a man dragged off a plane. A flight attendant is in an altercation with a passenger after the flight attendant hits a woman with a stroller. Passengers fighting on planes.  This is getting out of control. I don’t get it. I’ve flown quite a bit. Short fights from here to Nashville or Louisville. Longer fights out west. Even a 24 hour trip to Zambia. I’ve never seen any of this happen on my flights. The flight crews have been either pleasant or at the very least blandly competent. There have been annoying passengers, but none that have inspired a fight. I have been on flights where the flight crew had to remind a passenger that they were holding the flight by refusing to take a seat, but it ended with the passenger taking their seat. I don’t know how things have gotten our of control, but I have some advice for flyers.

First, to the flight crews – I don’t now anything about your jobs so I can’t really speak to your experience. I can say, though, that most people who work with the public every day at some point would like to have a customer dragged out by security. It doesn’t make it an appropriate response. The only thing I can say is to be professional and not act in a way that will escalate the issues.

Now passengers:

  • Get to the airport early. No reason to be anxious from the start because you are short on time.
  • Start with the security line – know what to take out of your pockets before you get to the front of the line. Be ready to move through as quickly as possible. A bad security line experience can lead to angry travelers before they ever get to the plane.
  • Board quickly. Get on the plane, store your bags and sit down. If there are things you need out of your bags, take them out before boarding, not while standing in the aisle while others are trying to board.
  • If the flight crew says you need to check an item, check the item.
  • Bring entertainment – books, magazines, music. Whatever will distract you from the stress of traveling. I am an anxious flyer and this really helps me not to focus on the bad parts of travel.
  • Be aware of how your actions affect those around you. Kicked seats, seat reclined in to your lap, etc will not make for happy cabin mates.

I know that it is easy to blame the airlines for all of the issues and I agree that they need to start treating passengers better, but a lot of the issues can also be fixed by the traveler. Just be a decent person and think about how your actions affect others. Or take the bus.

Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

Today’s challenge was to post a picture that represents travel. I have hundreds of travel photos I could have chosen, but I decided this simple sign from the middle of a bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe was the best for this challenge. I was officially standing in Zimbabwe taking the picture and then to a couple of steps back over to Zambia where I was staying.


via Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

Reflections From the Road

I’m sure the 10’s of you who actually read this blog noticed that I have not posted in a few days. Since pretty much all of you are my actual friends in real life, you likely know why. I have been traveling back home to Kentucky more frequently to visit my mom who is ill. It is good to see my family and everything, but it is not a fun reason to get to go home. Please keep my mom and our family in your prayers. It has been a tough time recently and it will not get easier from here. Below are some of my reflections from the road(and air since I flew this time).

The airports this time around were very easy. Both National Airport and Nashville Airport security lines moved smoothly and quickly. I didn’t notice any of the people who tend to slow down the lines because they don’t think about the giant metal jewelry they are wearing or the jumbo size bottle of shampoo in their luggage. Both flights were on time and people seemed to be able to board efficiently without holding up the line while they contemplate luggage placement. I’m sure I will pay for this on my next trip and everything will go wrong, but for one weekend air travel was pleasant, efficient and on time. Well, with the exception of breakfast Tuesday morning. I stopped at Swett’s on the way to the gate to get something to eat and they were out of biscuits. How the heck does a restaurant in the south, even one in an airport, run out of biscuits? They should be shut down on principle.

Speaking of food: We had a grand plan to head to Owensboro to eat at Moonlight BBQ after visiting my mom on Sunday. I was very happy with this plan because I have not been to Moonlite in years. We all headed out to Owensboro from my mom’s house. I decided to check the hours to make sure they were open and discovered they close at 3pm on Sunday. We turned around, headed back to Bowling Green and ended up eating at O’Charley’s. I like O’Charley’s, but it just wasn’t the same. This was likely the worst good meal I’ve ever eaten.

There have been some creepy clown sitings in Bowling Green. I was really hoping to see one.  I really want to get a picture of a creepy clown in the wild. The streets around my brother’s neighborhood is perfect for a creepy clown. I was very disappointed with the lack of clowns there. I don’t think they share my opinion.

Finally, it was very nice to be at my brother’s house the week I crushed him in fantasy football. Winning against him is fun. Almost doubling him in points is more fun. Doing this while at his house is perfect.