When I was in my late 20s, travel seemed glamourous. I took every trip I could get. By using the pedestrian “Saturday Night Stay” tactic, I could easily finagle planning trips from point A to point B with time to actually see point B. Adventures in Point B were, of course, fully-funded by saving the company enough on airfare that they’d pay for my hotel, food and rental car. I got to see a lot of the US that way.
When that got boring, I broadened my fun. I noticed flying to some cities was 2 – 3x the cost of a nearby city where there was competition. Using this “Airline Geography” maneuver, I could easily fund adventures in point C, an intermediary city. This presented opportunities like taking an air boat ride in Florida and touring the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. My reverie was squashed when I flew into Providence to save bucks on a trip to Boston. Driving in Boston is for the insane.
When I recovered from the Boston trip, I cleaned the bits of steering wheel that flaked off into my lap from the iron-grip-of-fear. I graduated to become a master of the “Open Jaw.” With near-poetic motion, and pleasant background music, I finessed jewels like three days in Copenhagen and a free Broadway screening of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” All expenses paid.
I got out of the work-related travel gig in 2000. I had accumulated enough frequent flier miles to go to the moon, but seeing as the major airlines were taking turns reading (and sometimes re-reading) Chapter 11, I accelerated my disposal of them. I flew friends and relatives around the country. For the remainders, I subscribed to a potpourri of magazines.
Now I’m traveling again in my current job. My priorities have shifted to minimizing the actual time traveling for obvious reasons: I can’t sleep, I miss my family, and I have a razor thin ABTL. The only difference is now I live in a moderately connected city and have an option to minimize price and transit time by timing my connections or preventing them entirely.
I have a trip to Minneapolis in October. Yes, that’s like two months away, but I got giddy fracking with the airline’s pricing and itinerary systems to pluck the ridiculously cheap non-stop from their system. I would do a comical “touchdown dance,” but there’s no room in seat 49E. (Clearly I’m rusty at my technique.)
Oh, in the unlikely event anyone reading this is going to be at IEEE Visualization 2005, please let me know.