know before you go: IND

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As alluded to in my post from last month, Indianapolis International Airport is one of the nicer domestic airports through which I’ve ever been.   I’m not the only one who is impressed; this airport tops ‘best of’ lists of airports year after year.

Modern, spacious, it’s your standard two story, two concourse (A&B) airport but the open, airy design and ease of moving through said space makes it anything but average. From the time you step foot inside, you can tell the personality of the city and just how proud of it they are.  It’s an enjoyable feeling, even if just for a layover.

As it is the gateway to one of the most visible international sporting events in the world, the airport has to make a great first impression, and it does.  The most eye catching feature is the large civic plaza which is a rotunda just outside security that gives you a 270 degree glass-windowed view of the Indiana plains.  There is great signage, and technology both at the airport and on their website informing you of line wait times.  There are about 44 gates serving most domestic carriers (American, Alaska, Allegiant, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United) and one international carrier (Air Canada).

Remember ✈️ pace(r) yourself  to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ Gentlemen, start your plane engines!

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (if there’s one gripe, it’s that it’s about 25 minutes west of downtown, but that’s where there’s a lot of open space)

Security/immigration:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (clear signage and wait times posted, TSA was very efficient)

Ease of navigating through terminals:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (not a massive airport, but it feels very large yet easy to get from concourse to concourse, rental car facility on the lower level)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (your normal fare: Au Bon Pain, Chick Fil-a, McDonalds, Starbucks, local deli Shapiro’s)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (well dispersed, there are a lot in the ticketing area, pre-security)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi, the civic center area has charging at almost all their lounge chairs.  This cannot be overstated.)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️ (Delta Sky lounge, barbershop and multiple Indy themed giftshops to pick up your last checkered flags and racing memorabilia)

hoosier daddy: indy day trippin’

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Indianapolis is a place you hear about constantly if you’re a sports fan.  From the Indy 500 to Larry Bird (Reggie Miller, if you’re in my age group) and Peyton Manning SB team of 2007, the “Hoosier State” capital is hallowed sports ground.  It has been the bullseye of the news cycle lately, notably for the retirement of Colts QB Andrew Luck.

I can honestly say beyond sports, I didn’t know much about this city, other than the fact that it seems like I know a million people from there.  Impossible, since it is the 17th most populous metro area in the country with about 2 million in population, but their residents certainly infiltrate everywhere else in the Midwest.  Indy is about the size of Kansas City, and similar in many ways.  There are great neighborhoods, a friendly sense of community and an unmistakable pride in their hometown.

Gentlemen (and gentle ladies), start your engines…

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3 days in Toronto: NBA Finals edition

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A year ago, I literally posted that about the move that sent Kawhi up north. Well, apparently that trade certainly paid off as the Toronto Raptors will be playing the GS Warriors (yawn) in the NBA Finals.  No hate towards the Warriors, but aren’t we all sort of rooting for some new blood to take the Larry O’Brien?

Here’s a throwback post all about the great white north:

Oh Canada…

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MSP: NCAA Championship edition

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Man, it seems like Minneapolis is getting all of the sporting events because of their fancy new stadium.  Of course, the NCAA tourney will be played there on Monday, April 8th.  For those of you heading to the game this upcoming week, here’s a little Minnesota refresher.

you’re gonna make it after all…

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welcome to Atlanta: big game edition

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Where the players play and we ride on them things like ever-y-day.  How awesome was Atlanta hiphop in the early 2000s?  They were so fresh, so clean clean.  Usher was confessing.  There were hoes in different area codes (RIP Nate Dogg). And who could forget Lil Jon’s thinly veiled euphemism to the window…to the wall…you know what I mean, Peaches and Cream?

The Super Bowl is this weekend, and while I am disappointed that my favored Chiefs didn’t make it, I am even more disappointed that the Saints didn’t.  NFL is fixed, I tell you!  Anyway, the big game will be played at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in ATL (not to be confused with the Mercedes-Benz Superdome of New Orleans, who did not make the Super Bowl…still salty), so get your dirty bird, dirty south on!

Atlanta is an interesting city with a lot of different personalities and there’s no shortage of entertainment to fill up these days around the Super Bowl.  There’s some of the biggest companies in the world based there (Coca-cola and Turner broadcasting), one of the pre-eminent aquariums in the US, a robust entertainment industry (umm, hello Donald Glover and Walking Dead), many feisty housewives, a huge medical industry (home of the American Cancer Society and the CDC), and it’s in the deep South.  And oh yeah, it hosted the Olympics!

So, be like the devil and head down to Georgia…

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Touchdown in Kan-SAS CITY

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THE AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IS GOING TO BE PLAYED AT ARROWHEAD!  THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

For the first time EVER, Kansas City hosts the AFC Championship game on Sunday and I am STOKED to say the least.  It’s gonna be hella cold, but I know Chiefs Kingdom is going to show up.  Unfortunately, I’ll be watching from Vegas (poor me, right?) but for those who are visiting KC, welcome to the loudest stadium in the NFL!

If you’ve read this blog, you may know that I lived in Kansas City just shy of a dozen years (and write about my visits) and I LOVE coming back.  It will forever be my second home, and the Midwest is very dear to my heart.  The trips have become fewer and far between as I am now an Adult (capital A) with a “job,” but recently I had the chance to go back for a little bit of work and a lot of play.

The changes that have occurred in this city since I left 4 years ago are astounding and numerous, and I guess in some ways I am lucky all of these cool, trendy places weren’t around when I was living there, or else I’d be broke and/or very large.  I’m even luckier that many of my pals still reside here, and I get personal tours every time I return.

I visited some old favorites and found some new ones, and of course, got to spend time with people I love…which is the best reason to travel.

Going back to Kansas City!

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SJC: do you know the way to San Jose?

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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)

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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weekender in LA: happy lebron day

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Happy Lebron-starts-for-the-Lakers Day everyone!  A momentous day, hopefully an auspicious one.  There’s been a drought not only in Southern California’s water reserves, but in winning seasons for our Showtime squad and that just will not do. We were obviously spoiled by the Kobe era.

And if that weren’t enough, the Dodgers play the Brewers tomorrow to win the NL pennant race!  Because everyone loves October baseball…let’s continue the series of NLCS/ALCS cities with LA! We goin’ back to Cali, Cali, Cali…

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life is beautiful: las vegas stripped

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I’m one of these weird people who visits Las Vegas and doesn’t really spend much time near the Strip.

I know, I know — what’s the point right?

Well…I prefer to lose my money in different ways than gambling (see: shopping), I have family in the city, and I’ve left my clubbing days where they belong…back in my twenties.  And honestly? The locals’ Las Vegas is cool AF (except when it is literally scorching hot outside), there’s so much to offer visitors and natives alike.

And there’s so many big events in Vegas all year round, like this weekend’s Life is Beautiful Music & Arts Festival.  And really, in Sin City, there is no lack of feeling that life is grand.  It’s a city of hopes and possibilities.  After the tragedy last year at Route 91, Las Vegans showed they are truly a strong community, and that they’re resilient and proud.

Obviously, if you’ve never been to Vegas before or if you’re there for some sort of celebratory shenanigans, by all means, strip ’til you drip.  See: the Hangover.  But as a warning, don’t sleep on the other parts of the city because you’ll be missing out on delicious ethnic eats from all corners of the world, arts and design rivaling any coastal cities, and architectural and natural delights all around.

Viva Las Vegas!

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