My Trip to Austin

If I were to pick up my phone & ask Siri for directions to Austin, I’m fairly certain that an 8-hour round-trip drive in an “Ultimate Edition” through the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas & back is not the preferred route…but speaking from experience, it the most scenic ride (and it comes with a Cappuccino Heath Blizzard)!

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It definitely took a while – so long that people were probably wondering if I’d ever make it after all – but I knew I’d get there exactly when I was supposed to, and that everything would turn out exactly as it should.

If you ask me, my trip to Austin started back on June 6, 2010 as a gracious industry colleague pulled up to my house and loaded a squeaky duffel into the trunk of his rental car & inquired “Do you think there’s a DQ between here & Vegas? I could really go for a Blizzard”…You could probably end the story there & say the rest is history.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized agreeing to drive across the desert with someone I barely knew, and had never spent any time with outside of business meetings, could have turned out VERY different…but after absolutely nailing our partner debut at AICPA Tech+ that week, our victory ride home turned into what we have always referred to as the 45 minute drive home from Vegas.

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Now some might have a different perspective – I know my Mom & Grandma would likely say my trip to Austin took about 32 years, seeing as they’d been praying for my journey since July 7, 1983.

Of course, you could also say that it started on January 23, 2010, at P.F. Chang’s Irvine Spectrum of all places, where a few industry professionals gathered one Saturday evening to network (& the only notable request was “nothing fried, please”).

As with any trip, there were milestones along the way – things that stand out and stay etched in my memory as I look back on how far I’ve come…I’ll never forget October 17, 2010 – when I got chauffeured to the airport in the wee-hours of that Sunday morning, and as an added bonus, a fresh medium iced coffee from Peet’s, my favorite.

There were also some fairly traumatic stretches, like November 12, 2010, when I had to return the favor of an airport drop-off (and a detour to Dallas).

Two days later, on November 14, 2010, I was back on track & heading straight for my destination picking up speed & never looking back. I can honestly say that’s the day that my life changed forever, and I realized I was meant for Austin.

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Fast forward four years – and a LOT of badgering from friends & colleagues – on December 13, 2014, my journey continued on foot. This time up the San Jacinto tramway out in the Coachella Valley, where I officially agreed to relocate (and picked up an amazing souvenir for doing so).

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8 months flew by, and on August 30, 2015, in Palm Springs, California, I finally pulled in at home. It had been an unconventional road to get there, filled with laughs, tears, struggles, and victories, but I wouldn’t trade a single moment for anything.

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I’m not quite sure how 2 years have gone by since I married my best friend, and became Mrs. Austin. It’s hands-down the greatest decision I’ve ever made. Not because life is perfect – goodness knows we’ve had our share of curveballs thrown at us – but because I know life’s highs couldn’t be half as great, and the lows might not be bearable without sharing the ride with Brian.

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As it turns out, a few things in life are actually more about the destination than the journey.

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Happy 2nd Anniversary, Babe – now, let’s get some carrot cake!

#PSILoveYou

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The Glamour of Modern Air Travel

Every time someone says to me “You’re so lucky! I wish I could travel for work as much as you do…”, I always seem to be able to convince them to retract their comment…I figured I might have enough material now for an actual post…I didn’t realize it would be so hard to choose my top 10!

  1. TSA. Need I say more? Oh, but I will! I think part of the Pre-Check interview should be a dry-run through an actual TSA lane just to make sure we don’t let the guy who can’t hang up the phone and still removes his shoes, liquids, coat, and iPad (which never should have come out even PRE-Pre-Check) and puts them in the bin he shouldn’t be using into the program.
  2. What Coffee? Is it a law that you cannot serve good coffee at airports? Even when I’m excited enough to find something non-Starbucks, I’m typically brought back to a harsh reality by their ability to ruin coffee. Am I the only one who thinks that there are few scenarios where getting a good java jolt could be more critical than prior to blast off?
  3. The Armrest Lifter: Do I mind? YES I mind! Armrests should not be optional – they should be required not only in coach, but also in the back seat of most family cars to avoid the inevitable sibling “he’s touching my side” bickering en route to school. I’ll gladly let you use BOTH of them just as long as my butt doesn’t have to touch yours. If I ran the aviation world, there would be an optional shock feature that you could activate when your seat-neighbor crossed that magic seat division line.
  4. INfrequent Flyers: This might sound harsh, and I realize not everyone boards 4 airplanes a week, but come on people…a little special awareness maybe? Oh, and that little note on your boarding pass that says “Zone 6” doesn’t give you permission to stand in the Premier Access boarding lane when they announce that Active Military Personnel may now board.
  5. This space intentionally left blank for Stacy Kildal’s contribution.
  6. Oblivious Parents: Apparently to some, flight attendants are also babysitters. I’m always in awe when I see the single mom with three children put her ear buds in and pass out while the children race each other through the plane to the bathroom & back. Or perhaps my personal favorite, the father who’s so intently focused on his BlackBerry that he doesn’t notice (or care) his tantruming toddler next to him is screaming, convulsing, and kicking the seat in front of him from LAX to Atlanta (I’ll give you 3 guesses as to whose seat that was).
  7. Loud-Talking Sales Guy on Bluetooth in First Class: True Story – I once witnessed a man go from touchdown to live international sales WebEx presentation for GM executives before pulling into the gate. Sadly, he followed me right into the Untied club where he completed his pitch in the chair next to me. The poor woman trying to watch As the World Turns across from him muttered to me “I know more about what that guys does than I do about my husband’s work!”.
  8. Deplaning: Watching grown men mow-down elderly women and young children to beat them out the door. I typically lean to the woman next to me and whisper “his mother must be so proud”.
  9. Plane-side Luggage Valet: Apparently “line up against THIS wall” doesn’t translate into stupid, or doesn’t apply to the 6’3” 257lb. guy in a cheap suit who decides right in front of the 30-year-old business woman is the perfect spot to stand.
  10. Moving Sidewalks: Stand on the right. Walk on the left. By all means, let your children lie on the middle sprawled out with their backpack and rolly-bags that clearly weigh more than they do. It’s not like anyone is in a hurry to catch a flight around here.