Hello SoCal

Glendale, CA

I’m notoriously bad at taking photos while traveling if I’m actually having fun. I had a travel companion for this month’s Southern California trip who made it a lot more interesting, so I don’t have too many photos.

What I do have photos of, though, is meeting a glorious little puppy named Fernie.

Adam with Fernie the dog

Fernie the dog

I met Fernie when I stopped by the Tempo content house in Beverly Hills. One of our producers is taking care of Fernie, who is from Mutt Scouts, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dog rescue based out of Los Angeles, California.

Fernie has an interesting story—she has a weak esophagus, so she needs to be held upright after she eats, otherwise she may choke and die. We’re hoping that Fernie’s esophagus strengthens as she gets older, but for now, our producer helps Fernie stay alive by sticking her into a little vertical container with blankets inside and holding her upright after she finishes a meal.

Snacks

Flight attendant: “Would you like Veggie Straws, banana chips, or cookies?”

“Yes.”

Ok, that’s not literally what she said—she just replied “one of each”—but I felt like this was the perfect context for that meme, seeing as most people just select one snack … heh.

 

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Goodbye Orlando

Florida’s weather is some of the strangest weather I’ve ever seen in my life. A single day can go from partly cloudy to blisteringly sunny to pouring rain to sunny again, then repeat the entire process the following day.

West Lucaya in Kissimmee, Florida

Another observation I’ve made while in Florida is that the drivers are equally as wild as the weather.

Within the first day of arriving in Orlando, I nearly got into a collision while coming back to our Airbnb after picking up sushi because an oncoming vehicle wasn’t paying attention to the curvature of the road and nearly drove head-on into me. I managed to avoid it by swerving sharply off the road and going up onto a curb. Luckily, I was perfectly fine, though Monica’s boba was not… and I spent a few minutes soaking up tea from the floor mats of the rental car.

Not only that, but all drivers in general seem to be a bit strange. Nowhere else have I seen people not follow the speed limit so badly… in both directions. I very rarely saw cars driving at the speed limit—it was either 15 miles per hour above the speed limit… or below it. I mentioned this to one of my col­leagues, and he suggested that the reason for this is likely because those driving under the speed limit are retired, and those driving over it are sick of the retired people.

On a related note, my rental car this time around was a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. I obviously put in a reservation for a full-size pickup truck, but they only had one more available on the lot, and there was an­oth­er guy behind me who actually needed a pickup truck, so I let him take it and I took an SUV instead.

It was nice re-experiencing what a mid-size SUV feels like, because I hadn’t driven one of those for a while (I’m so used to driving huge vehicles now that a mid-size SUV feels very small and agile), but my overall con­clusion is that it’s wildly overrated. Of course, there was just the inconvenience of not having a massive cen­ter console like I usually do in full-size pickup trucks, so once I had two drinks, I didn’t have a place to put my phone and wallet. But, for a vehicle that appeared like it was optioned to MSRP at just shy of US$50,000.00, I’d rather get a luxury pickup truck any day.

One of the more irritating things about the SUV was that it had air suspension. Normally, that’s considered a good thing, but I like having a high ride height, and every time I set the suspension at the highest level, it would automatically lower when I exceeded a particular speed, then show “aero” on the gauge cluster. I’m not sure if there’s a setting that stops it from doing that, but I didn’t bother spending the time looking into it.

Orlando International Airport

After we took care of all the business we needed to address in Orlando, we booked our flights back to our respective homes—Monica back to Dallas–Fort Worth, and me straight back to Las Vegas this time. Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip with Monica unless she provided me with a final troll to say goodbye.

After returning the rental car, we walked through the airport and approached the security checkpoint, when Monica told me that she didn’t have her boarding pass and hadn’t checked in yet. Of course, I facepalmed, then told her to check in so we could get through security. She fumbled around with her phone for a few minutes, then told me that she couldn’t check in.

I took her phone from her and looked through her American Airlines mobile app… upon which I discovered that the option to check in wasn’t there. I grabbed her record locator and went to the AA.com website… upon which I discovered that the option to check in wasn’t there either. Confused, we found a place to sit, powered up my mobile hotspot, whipped out my lap­top, and tried to check in from a regular browser… and the check-in link wasn’t there either.

I told Monica that there was clearly something wrong with her reservation, and that we prob­a­bly had to check in in-person. We exited the main area of the airport out near the en­trance and went on one of the American Airlines self-service kiosks to check in… and we couldn’t check in there either. Now just bewildered in confusion, we stood in the line for customer service and waited for a representative to help us out.

The representative helped us discover the problem. Our travel date was July 30. Monica ac­ci­den­tal­ly booked her flight for August 13.

Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport is interesting. It takes the concept of “airport hotel” to a whole new level. I’m not sure if this is more common in other countries, but throughout all my travels, I have never seen an airport hotel actually physically literally be inside the airport. Apparently that is the case for Orlando.

After we made it through security, unfortunately, I discovered that The Club MCO in Terminal B, Concourse 4 was temporarily closed due to COVID-19. I could’ve gone to the one in Terminal A, Concourse 1, but because of the way that Orlando International Airport is laid out, that would mean I would have to exit security, go back through security on the opposite side of the airport, then exit security again and come back to the security check­point on this side of the airport to board my flight. I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble, so I just found myself a nice wooden bench to sit and work on.

Departing Orlando International Airport

I’m not really a big fan of how American Airlines is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Apparently they aren’t blocking out middle seats, and the flights are packed way too full—Monica and my flight from DFW to MCO was nearly at capacity. Because of this, I decided to take Delta Airlines back home (which is my preferred airline anyway), which meant my layover back to Las Vegas was in Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport instead of Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport.

I visited Minneapolis once before for X Games Minneapolis 2019, so it was nice seeing it again.

Approaching Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport

Taking the inefficient flight path via Delta up northwest instead of straight west did mean that my travel day was right around 8 hours instead of 6.5 on American (or potentially as low as 5 if I took Spirit or Frontier, but there’s no way I would’ve done that), but I personally think it was worth it for my own safety. At least I got some extra Delta Medallion-qualifying miles for the extra distance traveled.

Lake Mead

Home, sweet home.

 

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Hello Orlando

After spending a day in Dallas–Fort Worth with my assistant Monica, I headed out with her to our final destination in Florida.

Luckily, The Club DFW was open, so we were able to swing by the airport lounge to grab some food. I did a quick overview of airport lounges during the pandemic in my blog post from when I traveled to New York City, and the idea in Dallas was pretty much the same—a lot of seating areas are blocked off to force social distancing, there’s a lot of plexiglass separating employees from clients, and the buffet area was converted to a restaurant-style ordering process.

The Club at Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport

The Club DFW was also one of the more intriguing airport lounges I’ve been to. The layout was a little strange, and it felt more like it was three micro-lounges in close proximity, rather than an actual real lounge.

Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport

Upon boarding our flight, I discovered that Monica is actually 80 years old when she whipped out her knitting kit and started knitting a scarf for one of her players while on the flight.

Monica knitting on a flight

I opted to do things that were more fitting for our age, like use the in-flight wifi and take pictures out the window.

Flying out of Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport

After just shy of three hours, we made it to our destination, Orlando, Florida.

It was an intriguing sight flying into Florida, because I had never seen so much swampland in my life. Seeing as I call Las Vegas home, and flying into the Las Vegas Valley involves flying over endless barren desert, it was weird looking out the window and seeing so many shades of green and blue.

Flying into Orlando International Airport

Unfortunately, because I’m here for a sensitive human resources matter, I can’t really provide many details on what’s going on. But, in my free time, I tried to do some sightseeing.

If you’ve taken a look at the news lately, you may have heard that Florida is one of the hotspots of the spread of COVID-19. Being here first-hand, I can definitely see why that is. For some reason, Floridians are almost acting as if there isn’t really a global pandemic.

I decided to check out Lake Minneola, which is out in the Orlando suburbs and somewhat near where my lodging is. It actually looked surprisingly similar to Illinois, where I grew up, and Wisconsin, where I went to university.

I saw about 40 people, only two of which were wearing face coverings, both of whom had their masks on their chins, so I opted to just look at things from inside the rental car, and then just flee.

Lake Minneola

Lake Minneola

Florida is wild.

 

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Hello Dallas–Fort Worth

Less than a week after a personal trip to New York City, I’m already back in the air and on the road, this time for business travel. First stop is the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.

Flower Mound, TX

The second leg of my trip to my final destination will be tomorrow. Today, I stopped by Texas to meet up with my travel companion Monica, Tempo‘s mobile esports manager, and my assistant.

I got a rental vehicle for a day so I wouldn’t have to use rideshare to and from my hotel and the airport, and so I could swing by and pick up Monica on our way to the airport tomorrow morning so I wouldn’t have to burden her boyfriend into giving her a ride. Unfortunately, no RAM Rebel this time, though a RAM 1500 Laramie is close enough.

RAM 1500 Laramie

Of course, it wouldn’t be a meet-up of Tempo employees without all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue, so I took Monica and her boyfriend to Gen.

Gen Korean BBQ with Monica and her boyfriend

I swear, it was an enjoyable experience. Don’t let the look on my face deceive you.

After dinner, I stopped by their apartment to meet their two cats, Marvin and Mildred.

Marvin eating catnip

Marvin eating a treat out of Monica's hand

Mildred the cat

Marvin was exceptionally friendly, but Mildred took a little time to warm up.

After spending about half an hour petting cats, I drove off into the sunset back to my hotel in Flower Mound.

Dallas–Fort Worth sunset

The next several days are going to be interesting. I’m hoping that doesn’t end up being an understatement.

 

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Some thoughts

I always say that the best part of traveling is coming back home. Throughout all my trips, I’m always looking forward to my return flight… being able to shower again in my own bathroom… getting a good night’s sleep on my own bed.

But what if the problem lies not in the travel itself, but the types of trips I take, and the places I go?

What if, sometimes, just maybe, the best part of traveling isn’t coming back home, but rather, the experiences you have and the memories you make?

Last week went by too fast.

2020072401

If you really think about it, the scope of the world is a bit intimidating.

Think about how complex you are. Think about the relationships you have, the role you play in your community, and even just the fact that you are com­plex enough to think about this very concept.

There are nearly eight billion people on Earth. Nearly eight billion organisms that are just like you, have their own intricate set of thoughts, and have their own life stories.

I think one of the most dangerous things you can do in life is to focus too hard on your own world. When I was younger, my parents regularly told me a Korean proverb about a frog in a well. To the frog in the well, the sky is nothing close to a formidable opponent. But once the frog exits the well, it’s in for an astronomic surprise. Literally.

Once in a while, something comes up that keeps my perspective in check. Sometimes, it’s just a gentle nudge, while other times, it’s a blazing inferno.

Beginning tomorrow, and over the next several days, I’m going to try and put out a blazing inferno.

2020072404

On a lighter note, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

2020072403

This upcoming trip that I’m leaving for tomorrow is definitely going to be one of those trips where the best part of traveling is going to be coming back home.

I’ll see you next week, Las Vegas.

2020072402

 

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