24 (Scratch That, 40) Hours in My Shoes – My First Day at XCM

As I’m sure is the case with many road warriors like myself, I’m often asked the question “Where are you based?” My typical reply is “30,000 feet in the air”…I always get a chuckle from whoever asked. All in all, I have managed to outgrow some of my early career travel woes (maybe one day I will share the story of Webster, TX one June afternoon), but with as many frequent flier miles as I’ve been earning the past few years, days like I had last week are just bound to happen.

To anyone outside of work, my life on the road is exciting & glamorous “Wow, a week in Las Vegas – how fun!” Then I help explain that most of the events I attend could very well be held in Fargo (which, actually has happened), or Omaha and it would be exactly the same experience: airplane, taxi, hotel, conference room, trade-show food, late nights, early mornings, taxi, airplane.

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE what I do, I just want to dispel the myth that Star Alliance Gold status isn’t earned with plenty of blood, sweat & tears. So I decided to share my journey last week from home (The OC) to my new home away from home, XCM Headquarters, in Braintree, Massachusetts, for my first day on the Job…

July 9th, 2012

6:27am PDT – Orange County, CA: Wide awake before my alarm…of course I didn’t sleep well last night, constantly waking up to grab my phone in a panic – convinced I had overslept and missed my flight. Since I’m up, I might as well check a few last minute “to-dos” off my list before my 8:45am flight. First stop: Javatinis, for my morning Iced Coffee fix. Thanks to the caffeine jolt, my morning went well and I’m at the airport in plenty of time (translation: left the house about an hour before my flight, prayed the whole way here that I would not hit traffic & would breeze through the new bizarre security line at SNA airport. It worked, barely.), absolutely thrilled to finally be en route to Boston to start this new chapter with XCM.

8:13am PDT – Orange County, CA: Flight #1 – Departing on time for Houston

But that’s about the end to my “normal” travel day…in a nutshell, here’s how the next 23 hours went:

1:34pm CDT – Somewhere over TX: “Houston, we have a problem” – flight is being diverted to Austin, Texas until Houston’s thunder storms subside

6:45pm CDT – Houston, TX: Finally arriving in Houston – only 6 hours behind schedule

7:55pm CDT – Houston, TX: Missed all flights to Boston for the evening, and I’ve just missed the last flight which would connect to a Boston red-eye…it’s going to be a LONG night!

10:00pm CDT – Houston, TX: Found a flight to Newark, NJ (after a mad dash, a near riot at the gate, a missing Drivers License scare, and an hour more delay on the ground). I’m finally heading a little closer to my first day in the office.

July 10, 2012

2:03am EDT – Newark, NJ: Made it to Newark with a whopping 4 hours before my flight to Boston

2:53am EDT – Newark, NJ: Arrive at the airport hotel & get a room for 2 hours – at least I can get some work done, shower, and change…isn’t this how everyone prepares for their first day?

6:00am EDT – Newark, NJ: Departing for Boston – one last flight

7:15am EDT – Boston, MA: Arrived early and I just ordered my “6 espresso shots over ice” which will have to power me for the next few hours. Next stop: 639 Granite Street!

8:00am EDT- Braintree, MA: (ok, I’m lying, it’s actually 8:06): As I pull up to the XCM/ Xpitax office, I suddenly don’t care that I’ve been up for the past 23 hours, or that I’ve only eaten a protein bar since yesterday’s breakfast, or that I have a full day of work ahead of me. I’m feeling a lot like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz as she opens the door into Oz – everything seems to go from black & white to color – wicked-good Orange to be exact!

July 11, 2012

1:27am – Quinsy, MA: I’m not at the Westin, but I assure you, never in my life have I seen a bed so heavenly. In the past 40 hours I’ve survived 4 flights, earned 3,000 United MileagePlus miles, spent an amazing first day in the office, and have been treated by my new team to a wonderful welcome dinner overlooking Boston at sunset. I think it’s safe to say that I earned my Road Warrior status today (well, yesterday really)…closing my eyes at last, good night!


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