By and large, the 2010s were fantastic years for me. The decade began with uncertain excitement when I enrolled mid-year as a thirteen-year-old in the ninth grade. The decade is ending with me now finding myself happily living my best life in the world of airlines and travel, while pursuing my passions in writing, vlogging, and writing music.
2019 has been especially eventful. I have completed nine trips. I have logged thousands of miles, criss-crossing America. I have worked literally hundreds of flights at my day job. And I’m pursuing a permanent career at my all-time favorite airline. (If you haven’t figured out which one that may be, check out my social pages.)
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine tagged me on Facebook to share ten back-and-white photos (without captions), depicting various aspects and moments in my life. I accepted the challenge, though as of yet, I’ve failed to act upon it.
I decided tonight would be the perfect opportunity to finally make good on my promise. Let’s be honest—what better night than New Year’s Eve is there to share ten pictures from my eventful life?
On August 7th, travel enthusiasts were greeted by a controversial article titled, “I Spent a Day at America’s Worst Airport; Here’s What It Was Like.” The article appeared on the popular travel insider website ThePointsGuy.com (TPG) and was authored by an in-house social media editor who, according to her TPG bio page, has served for two years managing the website’s “social media strategy and audience engagement efforts.”
As a passionately opinionated travel enthusiast myself, the moment I read the title I expected an article targeting one of the perennially offensive US hub airports like Boston Logan or Newark Liberty. But no, my friends, it was not. What I saw was a header image featuring the inside of a terminal I know all too well, with the logo of my all-time favorite airline displayed across its walls. This article featured Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), the secondary airport serving the Greater Chicago Metro area and the largest operation within the Southwest Airlines network of over 100 destinations, according to the company's media profile.
I was shook. My face was Pikachu Meme 2.0.
This morning, when I landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I touched ground in my twenty-fifth state. Yes, you read that right! I have finally made it through of half of the fifty states that make up our beautiful United States of America.
Today, I also learned a very important lesson: I should be more active on Twitter, just in case something interesting goes down. Which it did. Big time.
When I was a kid, my family and I flew all the time. Having been born in Phoenix, Sky Harbor (PHX) was my home airport. To a wide-eyed, imaginative boy such as myself, as far as I knew, PHX was the next best thing to heaven. Besides Orlando (MCO), of course. At the time, basically no other airports existed.
Fast forward a couple decades, and here you find me now working in the aviation industry, galavanting across the country here and there to experience more of the culture that aviation entails. Since departing my tender years of childhood, I have afforded myself the opportunity to visit other airports, both large and small, and in so doing have crafted my personal list of favorite airports, as well as a list of those that aren’t.
Last year, I visited perhaps one of the best airports in the United States: Raleigh Durham International Airport (RDU). Since my visit, I’ve chatted with countless other travelers who share my affections for the airport, so much so that I now like to call RDU the “Goldilocks of airports.” During my visit, I was so enraptured, I couldn’t help but snap several shots of the terminals to share with you on my blog.
Shortly after the new year, I received word that Alaska Airlines was unveiling a new line of uniforms for its employees as the company embraces its first brand refresh in over twenty-five years.
Upon hearing the news, I made a few keystrokes and contacted the marketing team of Luly Yang, the Seattle-based fashion designer who partnered with Alaska Airlines to develop a new collection of uniforms to be donned by the 20,000+ employees who faithfully serve the airline that features the face a jolly, smiling native Alaskan on each of its tail fins. Luly’s team was exceedingly accommodating, a true pleasure to collaborate with (special thanks to Angeline—you're amazing!).
Luly herself is a very charming lady, too. She and I enjoyed a pleasantly spirited conversation, discussing a wide range of topics related to travel, fashion, music, the arts, and of course, Alaska Airlines. From the moment we first greeted each other, it was apparent why Alaska chose Luly. For an airline that has just been declared the fifth-largest in the United States, following its acquisition of Virgin America, it's no surprise that Alaska selected a charming creative such as Luly to spearhead a pivotal moment in it's colorful history.
If you have any interest in commercial aviation, fashion, or travel, then this interview is for you. This story provides details of one of the most fascinating individuals gracing the aviation stage today.
Feel free to listen to the interview on YouTube or read the transcript below.
A few months ago, I sent a note to the arts manager for John Bolton Wood, one of Australia's most decorated operatic tenors alive today. He has performed in countless productions of classic operas and hit Broadway musicals throughout Australia and the South Pacific and Asian performance circuits. In the early 1980s, he was recruited to perform the role of Major General Stanley in the Australian production of Joseph Papp's hit Broadway adaptation of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance. Wood—along with Simon Gallaher, Marina Prior, and Jon English—was able to make this production a humongous success in the Land Down Under, and recently replied to my inquiry with this delightfully insightful letter discussing his memories and impressions from the show.
Shakespeare once famously declared that all the world’s a stage, and that the men and women in it are simply players acting out the scenes of life. Today, I’m excited to share a delightful interview I conducted recently with the beautifully talented Ms. Kaye Ballard in which we discussed her experience in an award-winning production of The Pirates of Penzance at the Minskoff Theater in New York City.