It is 1:52 PM on Sunday, June 3rd and I’m at SFO. I always leave too early for my flights as I have a fear of being late. There can be traffic, security lines and other types of delays and my anxiety gets the best of me. So here I am, two hours early for a flight to Dallas. The new adventure officially begins.
I woke up today around 5:30 AM after a night of weird dreams. My dreams are always different when I have something important to do the next day. I laid in bed for over an hour while general thoughts ran through my mind. I heard my oldest awake at 6:30 and finally got up. I did my morning routines and then we went out on the patio to play a bit. I felt a strong feeling of saddness as I really don’t like being away from my family. There is Japan every summer when we’re apart but I’m still at home. This will be the first time away from them so long while they’re still at home and I’m on business.
Packing for the trip didn’t take too long and it is good that suits are not in the culture of the company I’m joining. I thought that might cause me issues in deciding what to wear but it really didn’t take too long. When packing I always fear I’m forgetting something but tell myself as long as I have my wallet and passport I’ll be alright. I’m feeling a bit more up to date with the times because I’ve learned how to check in on my phone and show the boarding pass directly from the phone instead of waiting in line. I never did that before because we usually have luggage and I didn’t want to make any mistakes. For these business trips I travel light and just have a backpack and carry on.
When it was time my kids and wife gave me hugs and I hailed the Lyft driver which was coming in 5 minutes. During that time my youngest slipped on the newly mopped floor and cried a lot. My wife asked where he was hurt and he held up his index finger. I didn’t like that he was crying right when I was about to leave for almost a week.
The Lyft driver was there promptly and was listening to scary stories on YouTube. The story was about two guys in the army serving in Baghdad. They escaped being blown up, retired from the army and went on with their lives. They met up again but then one died. The driver and I wondered when it would get to the truly scary part as the story just kept continuing with twists and turns and no way to guess how it would end up. He was from Sacramento but came down to the Bay Area on weekends to earn more money. It made me realize how much of a bubble I truly live in. I go about my business interacting with the same people, doing the same things and am really oblivious to the world around me. So many people in the Bay doing different jobs, trying to make a living and I just stay in my own bubble.
The flight to Dallas isn’t too long, about three and a half hours. Once there I’ll take another Lyft to the hotel then have to be up really early for the start of four long days. Up until now I really haven’t been nervous but there is a little voice in my head which is telling me to be nervous. It has been easy to squash but I wonder if it will grow louder when I awake tomorrow and head in to my first day on the job. This really is a big change but is a necessary one that I must take for the good of my career and family.
Again, I am sad to be away from my family and now is the start of the summer which everything changes. I’ll return on Thursday and then we have Undokai that Saturday. I’ll be busy the following week shadowing my colleagues on sales calls and then return to Dallas. When I return to Dallas my family heads to Japan. My entire world abruptly changes at this time and although change is good I don’t like it very much.
Time: 3:45 PM
I’m now on the airplane and we’re flying over what looks like a vast, dry, almost desert like terrain. I was having anxious thoughts but now that we’re on the way my confidence has started to take over and I’m ready to start this training.
The thoughts that went through my head as I looked over San Francisco is how lucky I am to have taken so many flights and thus visited so many different places. I think about how many people never really leave when they are born. This was certainly true in my granparents age but still holds true today. It is a bit misleading when we go to the airport and see so many people; there are many many others who will never travel anywhere by plane. The next thought in this sequence is about how quickly Europeans spread over this vast country. The USA was only founded a short 300 years or so ago yet it is now completely covered with people whose ancesters are not natives. It is amazing to think about what a massive migration that was and that the migration continues. In fact, it is one of the main political issues of the day. People are always moving, looking for better oppportunities for themselves and their families. The Bay Area has absolutely exploded with people coming for better work, more pay and to advance. By an equal mesaure people are also moving out of the Bay Area to escape the massive price increases that have occured due to so many new people arriving.
People are always moving and it makes me think how I’ve been in the same place for over 10 years. My life was full of change in my twenties, moving from country to country and now here I am, 41 years old and have stayed put for a rather long time. How quickly life goes, especially when you fall into a routine; it is like a trance, a stupor that only travel can temporarily shake you out of.
I think about my work career, how I started in the corporate sector 11 years ago. I came to San Francisco and was full of excitement, of wonder at the amazing city. I spent two years with Japan Airlines which I was very fortunate to find. There I was in San Francisco, walking out my apartment door and down five blocks to the Nikko Hotel where the JAL office was located. Those two years went quickly and due to money concerns I had to make the move to Grainger. At Grainger I again walked out my apartment door and visited the skyscrapers and hotels where my customers were located. I spent three years there but the goals are harsh and thus turnover great. I did enjoy my time there and enjoyed walking all over San Francisco. Since I was out and about all day I felt very in-tune with the city and its heartbeat. I knew everything that was going on. At that time my wife had to work a lot of overtime so around 5:00 PM I’d cut out and head to my favorite watering hole Chelsea Place. I chose that bar because it was a dive that reminded me of my time in Asia. I missed Asia terribly and the Korean bartenders added a vibe that felt like I was in Asia again.
Then we were going to have a baby and thus had to buy a house. Luckily for us the housing crisis happened and we were able to buy something. At the same time I decided to put my resume out there and was lucky enough to land a job with Avis. Then six years just flew by and here I am. I’ve handed in my resume and now on a plane with a job that I hope to stay with for the rest of my career. This week is training and is the fourth time I’ve had to take a business trip like this.
The first time was to El Segundo in LA for Japan Airlines. I don’t remember much of that training. The second time was with Grainger and we flew to Chicago for some really great sales training. They flew us in twice, each for a week. The third time was to Morristown New Jersey for Avis training. I remember that well as it was extremely cold and the town so full of history. A bar the founding fathers frequented was there and I enjoyed seeing the monuments. I remember the people I attended with and I think all of them left Avis before I did.
My life with Avis was a great one. I spent most of my time at home communicating with customers and the latter half in my shed turned office. With this new job I’ll still be spending time in my shed and like it that way. I feel very fortunate not to have a commute to go sit in a cubicle somewhere. Everyday people are getting in their cars, spending time in a building away from their families. Working from home is fantastic. The trade off is that in sales you have to make your numbers. I’m now seasoned and used to it. With this new job I’ll still be in the same industry doing pretty much the same thing I was doing only for a different sector in the travel industry. I am looking forward to getting this training over with and getting settled. Change is good but again, I don’t like it too much when it actually happens. I like routine and being comfortable.
Well, I think that is enough for now. Next I think I’ll do some Linux study.
Arrival in Dallas
Looking down from the airplane over the suburbs of Dallas I find myself trying to count the football fields. They say that football is very big in Texas and I wonder what life is like for all of those students who attend those enormous high schools. The football fields are pristine and I imagine the football players stars. There are so many suburbs each with thousands of houses and of those thousand most have a pool. It must be sad to live in a house here without a pool.
Now that I’ve arrived and settled into my hotel – staying at the Aloft Love Field – I find it to be a nice business hotel with few amenitites. I see that they have a small snack bar for a cost but seeing as I like to lose weight I’ll forgo dinner and breakfast which should make me pretty hungry for lunch tomorrow. I do have to wake up early and be at HQ at 7:30 AM and then it all begins. The days will be much longer than I’m used to and four of them in a row! I’m looking forward to when the training is done and I can get to work.