Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Amtrak allows each passenger to bring two carry-on bags. I am not wasting one on technology.

I almost did. I had to have some way to carry our two cell phones, my work Blackberry, my digital camera, two chargers, and potentially one of our two laptops to Seattle, didn’t I?

Next week, we leave for our first vacation in four years. To be fair, the trip in 2009 was actually a work conference for me with a couple of extra days tacked on for sightseeing. Which makes our last real vacation a trip to Vegas in 2001. My husband was there to play in the International 8-Ball Pool Championships. I went along to celebrate my 35th birthday at the largest margarita bar on the Strip.

I have trouble both relaxing and disconnecting. Between my two jobs, I’m plugged in nearly all the time with voice-tracking my show, answering email, working on projects, maintaining a website, and monitoring half a dozen social media sites. I’m rarely sans technology.

The train trip from Minot to Seattle will take 27 hours.  Plenty of time to get caught up on work and if I did manage to snap a picture or two, with all that hardware, I’d have the technological means to post them instantly and update my status and tweet about how great it is to take a break from it all.

That’s what I was thinking. Right up until my friend Kathy said, “Take lots of pictures so you can show me when you get back.”

That’s how vacations used to be, before cell phones and digital cameras and social media. You spent the time seeing new places, trying new things and enjoying the company of the people you were with. Then you’d come home, drop off six rolls of film and wait a week to see if you caught that perfect sunset over the ocean or a frame-worthy picture of the family by the Disneyland sign, with all eyes open and everybody smiling. Or something even better, a memory you didn’t even know you were capturing. It was the anticipation, the waiting, that made the excitement of the trip linger even after it was over.

We’ll be boarding the train with one cell phone each, a digital camera and the universal charger. What will I do with all the quiet? Scribble in my travel journal, talk face to face with people, and snap a picture or two. Who knows? Maybe if it works out, I won’t have to wait so many years to do it again.

Here are my favorite “surprise catch” photos from the years when I took regular vacations:

Sunrise over the bay in Corpus Christi

Sunrise over the bay in Corpus Christi

Giant ants at the Denver Botanical Gardens

Giant ants at the Denver Botanical Gardens

Steam clock in Vancouver, which for some reason always makes me think of Dr. Who.

Steam clock in Vancouver, which for some reason always makes me think of Dr. Who.


Sunrise silhouette in Santa Fe

Sunrise silhouette in Santa Fe

And the obligatory "family posing by the sign" shot. Apparently, I wasn't very patient back in those days, either.

And the obligatory “family posing by the sign” shot. Apparently, I wasn’t very patient back in those days, either.

What’s your favorite vacation memory and did you capture it on film?



My father tells two stories about his experience with flying, one haunting, the other horrific.

In the first, he’s on a DC3 headed for Springfield, Missouri in a thunderstorm when he looks out the window and sees the engine is on fire. The pilot shuts it down and with one remaining engine, looks for a break in the clouds so he can land. Spotting one, he banks sharply, dropping so low to the ground that in the glow of the landing lights, my father can see a herd of horses running across a field below. They’re so close that he can count 10 of them.

In the second, he’s on a 737 landing at the Kansas City Airport. My father and his co-worker have just come down the stairway in the tail of the plane and are walking across the tarmac to the terminal when the tail blows up. The explosion knocks them to the ground.

My father is not a fan of flying. Unfortunately, I inherited that gene. And Tuesday, it cost me my dream job.

For the past several weeks I’ve been a finalist for a marketing director position with a small publishing company. Despite the fact that the job came with a substantial cut in pay and benefits, I wanted it. It also involved a fair amount of travel and upon inquiring of the interviewer as to what made them reluctant to hire me (you should always ask), the flying issue is what did me in.

I recall the brief conversation during the third and final interview in which I commented that while large planes don’t bother me, small aircraft, the kind that hold 20 passengers or less, do. In the city where I live, small planes are the only means available to get you to a hub airport.

I made the admission because when I got the job, I would be traveling with this person and I wanted to be upfront about it. I imagined the scenario if I wasn’t: we’re on our first flight together, she strikes up a pleasant conversation and through clenched teeth, I say, “I don’t mean to be rude but right now I’m concentrating on not running down that narrow aisle and flinging myself out the emergency exit. So if you can please wait until we get on the big plane, I promise I will talk your ear off.”

I thought being honest was the right thing to do. It wasn’t.

I have a history of plane problems. When I was a baby, my family was on a 737 leaving Ashville, NC. The plane’s front wheels were just lifting off when its middle engine blew up. We dropped like a rock, bouncing and skidding on the runway, the plane stopping about 100 feet from the end. I don’t remember that. But my father does.

As an adult, my dicey track record with the unfriendly skies continued: planes struck by lightning, planes that caught fire, planes that tried to land during tornados. And the usual travel annoyances like lost luggage and having coffee spilled down my back by a stewardess who tried pouring during turbulence.

During my previous career, I traveled often, many times by myself, usually by plane or car. I’ve got the driving skills of an over the road trucker; I can knock off 800 to 1,000 miles behind the wheel in one sitting with no problem. Sometimes to avoid flying the small planes, I’ve just driven to the hub and caught the larger one. It’s never been a big deal for my travel companions, if I had any.

In rejecting me for my dream job this week, the interviewer noted that the position needed to travel the country “in the most efficient way without having to be directed to do so” and that it would have been a problem to “insist that someone overcome their hesitations in that respect.” That’s a very nice way to put it but it’s still a rejection. And I never said I wouldn’t fly, just that sometimes it’s not my favorite way to travel.

Do I wish I’d kept my mouth shut? Absolutely. Next time will I? You better believe it.

Have you ever been honest about something in a job interview and it cost you the job? If you had the chance to take it back, would you?