For a guy who started out his career traveling every week domestically in public accounting, and added international travel after performing various internal audit roles, I haven’t traveled for work in a long time. Looking back, my last business trip (outside of New Jersey & Pennsylvania) was a trip to Dallas in June 2010. Big change.
As a function of my new role, I’m expecting to be on the road more often. That’s both good and bad, but it should be interesting nonetheless. I just returned from my first trip, which was also my first visit to Seattle, Washington, out on the West Coast. Never been, and promised to be interesting. I brought my suitcase on the train to the office that Monday morning, and worked until about 1 PM, then took the trains back to Newark Airport. Our team’s flight was delayed, so we ended up working at the airport gate until the plane showed up. Although I had middle seats on both legs of the round-trip journey, I ended up lucking out on the way to Seattle. A mother asked me to switch to her aisle seat so she could sit with her young daughter.
The flight was six hours, and we arrived late into Seattle. We were staying at the W Hotel Seattle, which is in the downtown area, which was a decent enough hotel. First time at a W Hotel property, actually. I would have been more excited, except my internal clock was at 3 AM, so I was barely awake. We spent the next two days working until nearly 9 PM each night. We did get to see some of the sights midday on Wednesday as we traveled to another facility. After the facility review, we had lunch at the Space Needle. Color me surprised, but I had not heard about the SkyCity restaurant at the top. Before we left, I grabbed some souvenirs to bring home to the Ipes, and then we were quickly back to work.
Thursday morning, we were up early to check out of the hotel, return the rental car, and catch our 6:51 AM flight home. Funny anecdote — I got delayed getting a morning coffee, and was hustling along the last moving walkway to my gate. Almost all of the passengers had boarded, so I was way behind. As I pulled out my boarding pass, I dropped it in the narrow space between the two moving walkways parallel to each other. Now picture me with a laptop bag on my right shoulder, my coat hanging off my left arm, and a medium vanilla latte in my left hand. And I’m running backwards on the walkway, stopping, bending over between walkways, and trying to catch my boarding pass as I zoom by it. And I had to do this three times. Way too early for this romantic comedy sketch. I did catch it on my third pass, but also spilled some of my coffee on my hand. Oh well, I had a boarding pass and went through the gate.
Unfortunately, I was last on the plane, still had a middle seat at the back of the plane, and all of overheard compartments were full. And I was sitting next to a large Southern man who snored the entire flight. And the flight was so stuffy and warm, that I sweated the entire five hour flight. And I had my bag in front of my feet on the floor. Ah well, just got to roll with it.
That’s it. Seattle is one and done. It was overcast and a little gloomy, but supposedly unseasonably warm for January. It was very green (lots of pine trees), still very grey and gloomy, but very scenic. I wouldn’t mind going back sometime on a personal trip to actually explore the city.