Tag Archives: Travel

Spring Forward: Day 1


March 13, 2011

Los Angeles – Chicago – Cleveland

Distance traveled today:  2075

Total distance traveled:  2075

Today I leave home for an eleven week work trip.  This is the longest I have ever been away from home base in the twenty-plus years I have lived in Los Angeles.  It surpasses the last such record which was made last year, when I was on the road for seven weeks for this same client. 

Spent a very short night sort-of-sleeping before getting up at 3:00 a.m. to catch a 6:00 flight to Cleveland.  The night was made even shorter by the fact that, as luck would have it, this was the weekend we lost an hour of sleep as we resume Daylight Savings Time.  I didn’t care, though, for three interrelated reasons:

  1.  I have a rule that I only get up this early to Go on a Trip or to Star in a Major Motion Picture.  (The fact that this rule has been heretofore employed excusively in service of the first circumstance minimizes its legitimacy not one bit.)
  2. I’m particularly excited about this unusual trip.  More on that later.
  3. Finally, when you’re flying East for work, it’s always worth the extra trouble of taking as early a flight as possible.  You get to your destination hotel earlier and have plenty of time to relax, unwind and prepare for Entry into the new office bright and early Monday morning.
Yay, frequent flyer miles.
Yay, frequent flyer miles.

After hauling my five bags into the cab at 3:30 a.m. I immediately noticed that the cabbie had a thick Russian accent.  I told him the last stop of my trip was Moscow.  He grunted and said nothing more.  Not particularly encouraging, I thought, considering I was at least as nervous about visiting this notorious city as I was excited at the opportunity.  Perhaps I should have asked his advice for Best Practices When Kidnapped.  

I don’t love flying even though I love to travel.  However, I used to really enjoy The Travel Day.  Choosing what book and what video game to spend time with, splurging on overpriced tacky airport food, the friendly flight attendants, the excitement of going somewhere.

It’s much more difficult now.  Since 2001 almost every aspect of The Travel Day has gotten worse.  Actually, it began to happen several years before 2001.  Everyone blames 9/11 for how awful flying is now, but many people have forgotten that much of the unpleasant routine we have grudgingly gotten used to was in place well before that awful day in September.

Today was even more challenging than usual, as I had made the perhaps foolish decision to bring all of my fancy photo equipment with me.  What this meant was that this would be the first time I have traveled with three things that I must take on the plane with me:  photo bag, laptop and C-PAP[1].  There was a tense moment when the We Don’t Care, We Don’t Have To gate attendant growled at me that if I didn’t check one of my three bags, and if I got inside the plane and couldn’t find a place for one of the bags, it would be my tough luck.  I “wouldn’t be able to check the bag at that point.”  Her unspoken threat hung in the air.  Yeah.  I imagined the tantrum I would throw if they tried to “dispose” of one of my three bags at the last minute, and realized that, while I can throw a pretty good tantrum, these days the airlines always win.  I saw myself getting thrown off the plane.  Great start to the trip.  I imagined the awkward call to the Client.

Luck was with me, though, and I sprinted down the aisle and found space for everything.


It has occurred to me that I should not enter into such an impressively long trip without giving it some thought. Without having a goal or two.  I should have something to show for the trip when I’m done beyond money and some snapshots.

Goals For My Eleven Week Globetrotting Work Trip

  1. Endeavor to not merely look, but to See.
  2. Write as much as possible.
  3. Take as many good photographs as possible.
  4. Try to find Mexican food in every city I’m in.
  5. Try to go to the movies in every city I’m in.
  6. Try to return from the trip thinner than when I left.


Do you look anything like this? Then the correct answer when I approach you and tell you I want to photograph you for a magazine is "Yes."
Do you look anything like this? Then the correct answer when I approach you and tell you I want to photograph you for a magazine is “Yes.”

On the short hop from Chicago to Cleveland, there was a pretty impressive hunk sitting right in front of me who I managed to catch up with after the flight and give him my “I’m a photographer for Exercise For Men mag” spiel.  If I believed in omens I’d take it as a good omen.  It’s a good start, anyway. 

 He probably will not call me, which is a shame, because he’s perfect for the magazine.  Screw him; his loss.


[1] Continuous Positive Air Pressure machine.  It treats my sleep apnea.