SJC: do you know the way to San Jose?

bamaclemson

If you’re a Clemson or Alabama fan, you’ve probably found your way to San Jose for the College Football Championship tonight.  If you haven’t, then this post is for you!

San Jose Mineta International Airport is one of the main airports that serves Northern California/Bay Area and specifically the number 1 airport for Silicon Valley.  It’s only 4 miles away from Downtown San Jose, and thus you’ll notice that the buildings aren’t super tall in this tech hub due to FAA regulations.

Fun fact: this is the first airport I ever flew into when I was 9 years old, so it has a special place in my heart.

There are 30 gates split between terminals A and B.  Terminal A services American, United, Air Canada, Aeromexico, ANA, Delta, Frontier and JetBlue and B houses Southwest, Alaska, Hainan, and British Airways.  You can tell there’s a lot of business going on in the area based on the airlines.

This airport is very bare bones, but it gets you to and from where you need to be.  There’s an airport flyer bus that will take you to the Santa Clara station, where you can hop on a train to get to Great America station which is close to Levi’s Stadium.

Remember: ✈️ = facebook to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = apple (just kidding facebook bot who may be reading this post)

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ (4 miles away!)

Ease of navigating through terminals:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (it’s not a big airport)

Convenience of check in/security lines:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (this is an efficient airport, it helps that most passengers are well-heeled travelers)

Dining:✈️✈️✈️ (Gordon Biersch, Peet’s, Jamba Juice, smashburger, Starbucks not too many fast food options)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️ (fair, not the newest, but pretty clean)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (I mean, you’re in Silicon Valley so…)

Amenities: ✈️✈️ (randomly a Bearfruit jewelry kiosk which is a very niche jewelry store in CA, CNN newstands, See’s Candies, only one paid lounge: the SJC lounge)

the “I”s have it: happy 2019!

Happy New Year!  Wishing you a healthy, happy and successful 2019 filled with lots of travel!  I’ve already got plans for a few trips this year, for both work (boo, just kidding these trips have to get financed somehow) and play…because the wanderlust ain’t going to feed itself, y’all.

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a colossal travel year

For some reason,  I had a real proclivity for countries that start with I in 2018.  My travels took me to Italy, Ireland and Iceland (and my compadres added Indonesia).

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all is quiet on new year’s day — booyah, another u2 reference!

I also journeyed to the UK, Kansas City, Nashville, Las Vegas, Delaware, Chicago, Baltimore and Greenville, South Carolina.  Delaware was SUPER important as it marks only 4 states left for me to hit all 50!  I’m coming for you next Alaska, Maine, West Virginia and North Dakota!  Seriously, I already have plans to visit one this summer 😉

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steppin into 2019

If the “I”s had it in 2018, then the “C”s are gonna have it this year.  Hint, I’ll be cruisin’ for the first time since I was 16 :o.  This means I am both old and heading to an area not otherwise easily reached by plane.  Not a huge fan of open water or endless buffets, so we’ll see how that goes!  It’s always an adventure, isn’t it?

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may your 2019 be as relaxing as a dip in the blue lagoon

Thank you for traveling and reading along.  May your travels be safe and filled with joy, good company and no lost luggage.

 

 

there’s no place like home for the holidays

Christmas time is here…time for joy and cheer.  It’s one of the most popular travel times of the year, and hopefully when you say, “I’ll be home for Christmas,” it won’t only be in your dreams.  Whether you’re spending the day in Hollis, Queens or with your seven swans a swimming, step into Christmas and rock around the Christmas tree, jingle bell rock through a winter wonderland on your sleigh ride.  It’s Christmas all over again!

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clearly canadian

No fancy trips for me this holiday season.  As I have gotten older, I have enjoyed the creature comforts of being at home over the holidays; maybe it comes from spending a lot of holidays away.  Maybe I’m growing more tolerant, who knows?

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capitol christmas

It’s 70 degrees and sunny in SoCal, but family is here and that’s what Christmas means to me, my loves.  And we never have a white Christmas here in California, but that’s okay — snow is overrated anyway. 😉

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o tannenbaum

Wherever you may be spending the season, may it be with people you love.  And may there be chestnuts roasting on an open fire, hot toddys, hot chocolate and stollen or buche de noel or fruitcake.

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fa la la la land

As as the song says, if you’re traveling, from Atlantic to Pacific, gee the traffic is terrific. Christmas is more about being present than about the actual presents, and you can use that as your meditation mantra as you’re on the road with screaming kids or about the argue with a ticket agent at the airport.

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feliz navidad

Wishing everyone a safe holiday, Merry Christmas (belated Happy Hannukah and Kwanzaa) and a Happy New Year!  Be merry and bright, and polish off all the cookies that Santa didn’t last night.

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hello christmas

Feliz Navidad from Mexico!

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In the words of the great Jose Feliciano, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart!  Feliz Navidad is one of the all time great Christmas songs, and Mexico is one of the all time great travel destinations.  The culture, food, history, people– everything about this country is amazing.

La Ciudad de Mexico (CDMX) is one of the foremost cosmopolitan areas of the world, with bustling energy, a lively arts and fashion scene, inventive and traditional food culture, and architectural gems galore.  There are well preserved alhambras and monuments reminiscent of the grand plazas of Europe amongst a sea of modern skyscrapers and high rise hotels.

Fun fact: I won the Spanish language award my senior year in high school.  Another fun fact: my Spanish is terrible. Like muy terible. I have the worst American accent when I attempt to speak, but I do try, y es la intencion es lo que cuenta? Un poquito (read: oohn poke-ee-toe)?  En acualmente, escribo mejor que hablar, que lastima!  Lo siento, yo se mi espanol no es bueno, pero me humor por favor.

Nota: Todas las photografias en esta blog post son cortesia de mi hermana.

CDMX is having a real moment right now, so brush off your Paso a Paso book from high school…vamos a Mexico! HOLA y Bienvenidos a Mexico!

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Mele kalikimaka: a very Hawaiian Xmas

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Aloha, one of my favorite places to spend the holiday season (or any season) is Hawaii!  It’s the perfect getaway for a tropical vacation while staying on American soil (although I have heard tourists ask what currency is used there — facepalm).  As a Westcoaster, the rainbow state is only a stone’s throw 3-4 hour flight away, and Hawaiian airlines is the BEST domestic airline…free Mai Tais, anyone?  We’re lucky to be this close to paradise.

It’s very festive around the holiday season, and it’s a great reprieve from snowy weather — the average is high 70s with frequent showers.  But with many resorts and beaches and shopping and malasadas? Start planning your Hawaiian getaway now for next year.

Mele kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way of saying Merry Christmas to you!

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happy holidays 2: lost in new york

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Remember Home Alone 2?  That’s a holiday classic that never gets old.

New York is my favorite US city when it comes to the holidays, and really for lots of people — that’s why it’s featured so heavily in many movies around this season, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Scrooged.  From the Rockefeller skaters to the Rockettes, this city comes alive during the most wonderful time of the year.  Even though it’s colder than Jack Frost, there’s something very magical about rockin’ around this enchanting city while it snows.  Happy Hanukah and here’s to dreaming of a white Christmas!

Tis the season!

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know before you go: GSP

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Greenville-Spartanburg International airport in South Carolina is the best kind of airport. Modern, convenient and easy to navigate.  The architecture is clean, there’s not too much hustle/bustle, and best of all, there is a Chick-Fil-A.

It’s the simple things in life, truly.

There is one terminal split into Concourse A (Allegiant, American, Southwest and United) and Concourse B (Delta).  Check in terminal and security is the same for all gates.

Even though they call it an international airport, it’s really only international for cargo.  Who knew (probably everyone in this region), but BMW has manufacturing here, and so there are cargo planes that travel back and forth from here to Germany.  Most of the travel is local in the South (ATL most popular destination), but there are featured flights as far as La Guardia and Las Vegas.

Remember: ✈️ = it ain’t easy being greenville to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = this is SPARTAnburg

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (it wasn’t hard to get here, but it felt far?)

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ (so easy, good signage, straight terminal)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️ (Chick-Fil-A.  Baskin Robbins.  Dunkin Donuts.  Wolfgang Puck.  All your bases are covered, obviously)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️  (very clean and not too claustrophobic)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi available)

Amenities: ✈️✈️ (Just get a book from Hudson and call it a day.  There’s an Escape lounge for AMEX members, and weirdly a place to file grievances based on discrimination on their website?  Is there something you’re not telling us, GSP?)

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we kick off the busiest travel days of the year, it can be a real stressful time for both travel and family.  I get stressed out and I’m around my extended family all year round!  But they’re family, what can you do?  My sister is having me pick her up in the pit of hell LAX on Wednesday night.  I cannot imagine a worse case scenario…and if we didn’t share DNA I would straight up charge a hella exorbitant fee.  Friendship and family lines get drawn at LAX.

I digress…I did my traveling in the past two weeks together to pre-Friendsgiving it up, so to speak, and on these long plane rides, I was ruminating about life and conversations I had with my pals (as I tend to do), so here are some thoughts from my motivational speaking corner.

Life is too short to be unhappy.  It is unpredictable, especially in the world we live in –nothing is guaranteed, so pursue what brings you joy.  And if you already have it (many of us do), don’t push it away, make time for it.  We all deserve that chance for ourselves, and how do we get it?  First by trusting ourselves.  We all need basic things like food, water, clothing, shelter, but what I think a lot of us really need is belief and confidence in ourselves.  I always say 75% confidence, 20% luck and 5% skill.  If you don’t believe in yourself, you don’t have much of anything because that inner confidence is typically the driver of determination, hope, and state of mind.  In order to best serve others, you have to first best serve yourself — it is the oxygen mask dictum.

Work isn’t everything.  Repeat that.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great– you need work to get money and provide for yourself and your family.  But, your job that you’ve put so much of yourself into, the thing you’ve sacrificed so much for — it’s not the only thing you have going for you.  Don’t take the extra shift, spend it with your people, they need you more.

Note the words: basic needs.  Learning to be apathetic about materialism helps.  You need things, but do you need things?  Marie Kondo your life.

Knowing your worth is huge.  You have much more to offer than you think, and if you are unsure, ask someone you trust and they’ll lay it out for you (you can ask me, I am typically that person in the friendship).  And if they don’t listen or they aren’t there, or if only they say stuff that you want to hear, then they’re probably not your friend.  It’s better to have truth men than yes men, and yes, the truth hurts.  No pain, no gain.

At the same time, surrounding yourselves with people who are only like minded is a recipe for insulation.  Not always a good thing.  Read more, do things that may make you a little uncomfortable, always keep your eyes open and learn.  That’s why traveling is so important — it makes things a little less abstract, a little more relatable and in reach.  It makes you a more well-rounded and patient individual.

Be strong, be calm and walk away if needed.  This year, I left my comfortable job to go out on my own.  It was the best decision I have ever made (granted, it wasn’t a difficult decision).  There was definitely something better at the end of the tunnel, and for every trial and tribulation in life that comes your way, just know that you’ll come out on the other side.   I am thankful to the people I have around me that have supported me and spurred me to find the best situation for myself.  Happy Thanksgiving and because I yammered more platitudes than you’d see at Home Goods, here’s a pic of Jerry’s World from the sky.  They’re hosting the Redskins/Cowboys match up on Turkey Day, so post up and be with your loved ones!

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know before you go: DXB

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Appearing like a glittering jewel oasis in the middle of the desert, arriving into Dubai and being saluted by the sea of skyscrapers and hotels makes you feel like you’ve stepped into another world.  A paradise that is far more fancy and luxurious than anything you could imagine…except no need to pinch yourself, you’ve made it, you’re here.

DXB is one of the world’s preeminent destinations, so it’s no wonder that its airport is one of the top three busiest in the world.  The numbers for passenger traffic are astounding when you take into account that there are only 2 runways.  Being the largest traffic stop for Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 helps.  It is the hub for Emirates (if you live in the USA, that’s probably how you’ve arrived — from a very long flight out of LAX, JFK, SFO, IAH, ORD), flyDubai, and Qantas.

The MASSIVE airport is split into three Terminals.  Terminal 1 is for international flights and is connected to a separate Concourse D, and 2 is for travel around the Middle East region (“domestic flights” as it were), and Terminal 3 is the main one, further divided into Concourses A, B, and C.   Emirates operates out of Concourse A.

Terminal 3 is the second largest building by floor area in the entire world.  Think about that for a second.  Yeah, there’s multiple 5 star hotels, more shopping than most massive luxury malls and several FLOORS of executive lounges.  In fact, there is a secondary mini-terminal near Terminal 2 that is exclusively for people richer than you and me.

As one of the top cargo ports in the world, there’s even a terminal specifically for flowers.  FLOWERS.  This is how you know exactly how extra they are at this airport, and I’m here for it.

Remember: ✈️ = dub down to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = dub step

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (there’s metro, ground, taxi — just be sure to check the times if you’re traveling during Ramadan)

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️ (it is massive, but there’s a people mover and shuttles –luckily most connections are long bc it takes more than 30 minutes per shuttle ride in some cases)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (Your typical International fast food brands — Starbucks, McDonald’s, Burger King, Shake Shack, Krispy Kreme, KFC, Charley’s Steaks?, Pinkberry, Subway, Wolfgang Puck, and a lot of Indian and Asian fare)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️  (obviously very clean, and +100 for FREE showers at Terminal 3, C gates)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi available)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ (This is what makes it worth it.  Gucci, Hermes, Ferragamo, Chanel, Cartier are some of the high end.  Many spas, executive lounges — literally the Emirates lounge has been my travel goal for years– 5 star hotels, showers, prayer rooms, gardens, gym, conference rooms).  Shout out to the baggage claim, too.  What usually looks like a bottom of a trashcan in most airports looks like the foyer of a palace here, mad props to DXB.