After flying between 150,000 and 200,000 miles every year since 2006, this year I barely flew 10% of that. So it is with great sadness that I say farewell to United, my 1K status, free upgrades, free checked bags and fast lines at the airport. I am now a free agent in the airline world, willing to fly whomever will get me from point A to point B the fastest, most conveniently and cheapest.
I miss flying around the world even when it meant delayed flights, missed connections and lost luggage. This week there were two cool videos that were posted to satisfy my flying needs. The first video is a behind the scenes look at what happens to your luggage from the time you check your bag to the time it is delivered to you.
The second video is a cool behind the scenes look at an average day at Denver International Airport, an airport I flew through way to often in my 5+ years flying United.
For years I have wanted to go to the Turks and Caicos. Located 650 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, and part of the British Overseas Territories the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCIs) the TCIs have the most amazing color of water and the most pristine beaches I have ever seen.
As of December 2011, there are no non-stop flights from Washington, DC to TCI, so we hopped a prop plane up to Newark, NJ to catch our flight down to paradise. I caught a great sunrise picture departing National Airport:
After a 3 hour flight from Newark, we arrived in Provo which is the largest city in the TCIs. One of the most popular places to stay on Provo is an area called Grace Bay and is considered one of the top 10 beaches in the world.
The beaches were completely empty and the color of the water definitely lived up to its reputation.
The downside of the TCIs and Provo is that the cost of food and other goods on the island is in some cases 50% higher than in the US. In one store I saw a container of Breyer’s Ice Cream selling for $12.50!
The cost of food aside, the privacy, solitude and beauty of the TCIs definitely make the trip worth it. To see it from above is even more beautiful, here is a video of our departure:
2011 was an incredible year for social sharing. I spent the free time over the past 2 weeks processing incredible amounts of data (we process 70+ terabytes per week!), and Jeff did an awesome job turning my spreadsheets into a great infographic. I am really excited to share with you the great nuggets we were able to find amongst the 11MM+ publishers and 1.2B+ users who share through AddThis.
Last month when I wrote about Penn State University and morals, I had to re-write that post a few times because my original draft was very angry. I was angry at so many people, and I wasn’t even sure why I was angry, I did not personally know any of the people involved. When I stepped back, I realized my reaction was due to shock…I was shocked that Coach Sandusky could do what he is accused of to children and, Coach Paterno and Penn State could turn a blind eye.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving, and now there is a similar scandal erupting at Syracuse, my alma mater, class of 1999. Again, I was shocked when I heard these allegations. I spent 4 years working in the athletic department, I got to know Jim Boeheim, his wife Juli, and the coaching staff. I never saw or heard anything to indicate that Coach Fine was abusing children.
The reaction that I had, and the inactions of Penn State University and definitely the inflammatory remarks from Jim Boeheim come from the same place, shock. See, we never really know a person. You may be friends or work colleagues with someone for 30 years, but you cannot possibly know everything about that person. I first learned this lesson when my rabbi was caught on Dateline NBC to Catch A Predator back in 2005. I kept asking myself, how could this happen? I knew this man, I traveled to Israel with him, and was friends with his daughter, but you see, you never really know a person.