Ten years ago, this past September, I checked off number 28!

I went to Dollywood! I haven’t until now, however, posted the pictures or stories from this adventure. The good news: I just came across all of the images and videos from that trip. The bad news: I can’t remember most of the stories of what was going on at that time.

What I do remember, however, is that my friend Colee came to visit me while I still lived in Kentucky, and we went on a road trip down to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. On the way down, we listened to a lot of Dolly Parton’s music, and we stopped for a night at my friend Heather’s house.

Dollywood was a blast, and I would love to go back again! On the way home, we went Zorbing, and then we stopped by Mammoth Cave to explore. It was a really fun trip and an amazing visit with my dear friend, Colee!

I have finally put all these videos together, if you’d like to take a look. The first one is our trip down to Dollywood, and the second one is our trip back up to my home in Kentucky. I hope you enjoy!

Travel Week: 3

My assignment for my two-day trip was to fly from DEN to BOI to MDW, and finally, I was to end up at CVG. I was looking forward to this since I’ve never flown into Cincinnati. Day two was supposed to work two legs back to Denver. This got me to Denver with plenty of time to kill before my 13:40 check-in.

Low and behold, my first leg to Boise had been canceled. They still had me scheduled, however, to fly the rest out of Boise. The only problem: I’m in Denver, not Boise. Sure enough, they fixed my schedule. Instead of working two two-day trips back to back, they changed it into a three-day trip.

Sunday: DEN > GRR

Other than a slight delay, we landed in Grand Rapids without any incident.

Monday: GRR > RIC > BWI > DEN

With all of the delays and reroutes happening this week, I probably had a change to my assignment at least five times. When I woke up, the plan was to go GRR > BWI > MCO > PHL. Coworkers tell me that you should never make plans because once you do, the scheduling gods know, and they end up changing your trip. It’s like a Murphy’s Law thing. I jinxed our day because I was excited to take two of my crew members to get cheesecakes in Philly.

About forty minutes into the flight, we were rerouted to Richmond, Virginia. The result was 141 upset passengers. It would have been good to be finished there for the night, but an hour-and-a-half later, we were on our way to BWI. I reminded the passenger several times that we always try our best to be on time, but safety is our biggest concern. When we finally landed in Baltimore, I walked from the ‘C’ terminal to the ‘B,’ just in time to work the last leg back to Denver- which was the latest change to my assignment.

Both of the crews that I worked with on this two-day trip were just amazing. We had so much fun laughing and joking around with each other. It almost made it worth working a late shift (not quite, but almost). I got back to the crashpad at about 02:30 and was fast asleep about fifteen minutes later.

Tuesday: DEN > FLL

Another change! When I left the crashpad, the assignment was to work two legs to San Jose, California. Instead- I was to work one leg to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This 18+ hour overnight on the beach was just what my soul needed! I was scrolling through my pictures, and then it appears that the last time I was at the beach was back in January.

I stayed at B Ocean Resort-like last time. This is located right on the water. The only thing that I don’t like is the fact that the food there is so expensive! I know this is a vacation town thing, but still. Paying thirteen dollars for a waffle on Wednesday morning was a bit much. Not waffles (plural), mind you- one waffle.

After eating, I hit the beach. The hotel has a private beach area where those staying can use one of their beach chairs for free. If you want to fork out some cash, you can upgrade to one covered with a shade. I sat in the sun for about five minutes before deciding it was time to swim in the ocean.

We didn’t even have to head back to the airport until 18:30, so I had almost a full day of relaxation and enjoyment. I only headed back inside when I was starting to turn pink. I didn’t want to get sunburn like I always do.

Wednesday: FLL > BNA > DEN

Wednesday’s workday was very easy, as we only had to work the first of the two legs. The second was just a deadhead back to Denver. It was great to see my friend and coworker Linda, who happened to be working that flight.

Now that I’ve had the mental reset from some beach time, life is good again. Not that life wasn’t good before, but this particular beach visit was just such a welcomed surprise!

It’s time for my second TRAVEL WEEK post. I was hoping to do this more often, but the only one I’ve done thus far was way back in November of last year- whoops! This is a record of the places I traveled for work this past week. I’ve been working so many trips since returning from Scotland, that I hope to have some great stories to share, as well as the motivation to actually share them!

I’m working the “D” position on this trip, so that means I’m with a few different crews. I love this, as it gives me an opportunity to meet more of my [thousands and thousands of] co-workers.

Monday: DEN > MCO > IAD

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Add A Fried Egg and Bacon!

Herndon, Virginia | 20:50

Day one ended at Washington Dulles International Airport. My overnight stay was in nearby Herndon, Virginia at the Hilton, which is only about a ten-minute ride from the airport. The afternoon was very overcast, and since I had to wake up so early, I really wasn’t feeling like leaving the hotel to do anything. I walked down to the restaurant/bar and grabbed a burger for dinner. I had them add a fried egg and some bacon- it was so yummy!

Tuesday: IAD > DEN > SLC

Salt Lake City, Utah | 21:57

A huge job perk is when I happen to get a Salt Lake City overnight stay. Normally, if my stay is more than about 15 hours, I’ll drive home and spend the night in my own bed. Today I decided I’d just stay at the hotel and spend some time in the city. When I first landed, I called to book a massage. They gave me a therapist who I’d never had before and the guy was amazing! I’ll definitely come back to him in the future! When the hour was over, I told him that I’d wished I’d had him for another hour, at least. I believe in massages! I love them- and they’re much more affordable, thanks to places like Massage Envy.

One of the places where we currently stay here in Salt Lake City is The Grand America Hotel. This is my first time here and this place is, without a doubt, one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in! One of my coworkers commented that this hotel shouldn’t be in Salt Lake City, but rather, New York City. That’s how nice this is! Definitely in the top five! I had no choice but to walk around the halls and grounds, just to take a few pictures.

IMG_1816I found dinner at Beto’s, which isn’t too far of a walk from the hotel. Truth be told- I’ve been spending too much money on food as of late, and this is a great meal for cheap! For my Arizona peeps, have you ever eaten at Filiberto’s Mexican Food? It’s that same vibe, in fact, somebody once told me that the recipes are the same, because Beto’s was started by the guy’s brother. I’m not sure if that’s true, plus I’m too lazy to do the research. You just can’t go wrong with a delicious fish burrito, however. I know it sounds gross- it’s so not gross!

Wednesday: SLC > BWI > DEN

Brighton, Colorado | 21:20

Today was good. I worked a couple great crews, including some Baltimore-base girls who I haven’t seen in more than ten years! It was so great to see them! The flights were pretty bumpy coming from the east coast, but we landed safe and on time at DEN.

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Dawn Works the Grill

Tonight I’m back at the crashpad in Brighton, Colorado. I had planned on ordering some delivery for dinner, but Dawn told me that she was going to make barbecue for us instead. Once in awhile, she will surprise us and make dinner. One year, for New Year’s Eve, she even made us lobster and crab! Tonight she grilled burgers, sausages, and chicken- it was so good! I think I ate a bit too much!

Thursday: DEN > ABQ > DAL > DTW

Romulus, Michigan | 22:13

My day was good but seemed long. This is probably because we had over three hours of ground time at DAL. Other than one rude passenger on our first leg, everyone else seemed to be in good spirits- it was a great day! I even got to flirt with one of our elderly lady passengers. She was a hoot! I’m working with a great crew, too! One of them is a former crashpad roommate.

Tonight I’m at the Four Points Sheraton in Romulus, Michigan, very close to DTW. I just had some overpriced soft tacos, and am hoping that I can fall asleep soon. If I can fall asleep in the next half hour, then I will actually get seven hours of sleep tonight! This is a worthy goal, but it’s not going to happen.

I think I’m going to lay in bed and watch Forensic Files. Such a cool show!

Friday: DTW > ATL > PBI > ISP

Hauppauge, New York | 18:14

This may sound ego-driven, but my crew and I definitely earned our paychecks today! Nothing demands patience like working a full flight from West Palm Beach, Florida to Long Island, New York! We were like a flying senior center! Every New Yorker has a sassy/ spicy attitude- they all have something to say, and every passenger will demand your undivided attention.

The passengers in my section were actually very nice. Yes, they were loud and demanding, but the best part about working a plane full of New Yorkers is the fact that I can be just as loud and sassy. They don’t care- this is just how they communicate. We had quite a few good laughs.

Tonight I ended up at ISP and am staying at the Hyatt Regency in Hauppauge. If I had a longer time, I would be tempted to jump on a train and head to Manhattan. Unfortunately, I have to be awake so early tomorrow (like 03:45!) and so I’m hoping to fall asleep in the next hour or two. Again, it’s probably not going to happen.

IMG_1821Instead, I went downstairs to have an early dinner with my coworker, Kevin. He had a burger, and I had a French dip sandwich. This was possibly the most delicious French dip sandwich I’ve ever had. I can’t even describe it- it was like melt-in-your-mouth delicious. This may be because I was extremely hungry when I sat down to eat. That’s what happens when the only food I’ve had all day is protein shakes on the plane.

Saturday: ISP > BWI > ORF > DEN

Home | 21:48

Today was an amazing day! As the passengers left the plane (at every stop), we received so many compliments- many of them told us that they had never been on a better flight. I love it when a passenger gives me a compliment like that. It means so much!

Three legs back to Denver! When my plane landed, I rushed to the other side of the terminal for my commute flight home. Thank goodness I was there before any other employees (only one other coworker showed up) because every seat had been taken. Never underestimate the power of one night in one’s own bed. Yes, just one night. Tomorrow afternoon, I fly back to Denver to start another travel week.

Last night I ended up in Arlington, Virginia.

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I didn’t realize that the DCA hotel we stayed at was close to The National Mall in Washington D.C. If I had known, I would have left the hotel earlier and done a little tourism, maybe hit the Smithsonian or something like that. Instead, I tried to sleep in. I think I made it until a little after 07:00.

fullsizeoutput_7358I had an early lunch at an Ethiopian hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Dama, very close to the hotel. They have the best food! The first time I ate there, I went with a flight attendant who was originally from Ethiopia, and she told me that Dama is very authentic. The restaurant is buffet-style, so I don’t even know what was in the dishes that I ate. I do know that they were very different and very delicious! They brought me some flatbread which had a sour taste to it, and the best way I can describe the texture would be to take a bite out of a dryer sheet. Not my favorite surface, but still delicious!

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The rest of the morning and early afternoon, I was pretty lazy. The walk to and from the haircut was about 3 miles, round trip. I needed a nap. Regretfully, I was sucked into stupid judge shows and even The Maury Show. It never ceases to amaze- the guests on these shows are such idiots! I’ve only seen a couple episodes in my life, so don’t judge me.

One of my crashpad roommates was actually once on The Maury Show. I haven’t seen the episode, but another roommate told me that he (the roommate who was on the show) was arguing with his girlfriend and was denying that he was the father of her child. He thought this because even though the baby was healthy, the child had been born prematurely. He thought one of his babies could never be premature, and therefore concluded that she had cheated on him with another man. Anyway, the whole story was made up, and the show even gave these actors money for their appearance.

Now I am sitting in the airport in Omaha, Nebraska. When we landed here, they told us that we had an unscheduled aircraft swap. Instead, they gave us a plane that doesn’t fly. At the moment, it’s being fixed. So who knows when we’ll leave or where we’ll end up tonight. It’s anybody’s guess.

Last night’s sleep in Fort Lauderdale was not that best.

At 23:40, the fire alarm went off- for about 20 minutes. I went down to the front desk, and they told me that it was a false alarm and that everything was OK. After that, I really wasn’t able to fall back into a deep sleep, just a little snoozing now and then. Pretty soon, it was 03:30, and my alarm was going off.

We worked three legs, but when we landed, my body had felt as if it had worked about seventeen legs. This is partially due to my lack of sleep last night and partly because we happened to have two medical emergencies on our very first leg. I’m happy to report that both affected passengers walked off the plane when we landed- there’s nothing more I could ask for! Not fun at all, but an essential part of this job that I love.

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When we checked into our hotel, I wanted nothing more than to lay down and take a long nap. The only thing that kept me from doing this was because I was long overdue for a haircut. I was starting to look like Wolverine, only without those really excellent blades that extract from my knuckles. I googled where to get a haircut, and even though I just needed something cheap, I ended up at Roosters, a Men’s Grooming Center.

I walked inside and asked the receptionist if they had an opening, and as luck would have it, they did! A girl named Serenity walked me over to her chair, and after telling her what I wanted, she gave me an adorable haircut. She asked me what I would do with my facial hair, and I told her that I would probably trim it up when I got back to my hotel. She said she would fix it up for me.

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Suddenly, she leans my chair back and starts to give me the most incredible facial massage. I don’t know what lotions or oils she was putting on me, but it was nothing less than excellent. This thing lasted about 25 minutes too! If you’ve ever had a great massage when you were particularly stressed, you may have been close to tears- this is what I was feeling. I didn’t cry in front of her, but I really wanted to! This was just what I needed for my stressful day! I also kept thinking: I wonder how much this is going to cost me!

After a hot towel treatment, she shaves my sideburns off. This is done the old-fashioned way, with a straight razor and soap. It’s how I imagine this was done in barbershops log ago. I decided to keep my goatee just so I don’t feel totally naked in the face. She places a cold towel on my face to close my pores- without any warning. Woah! That woke me right up!

I found an excellent smokehouse restaurant for dinner called Epic. Get the ribs- they are phenomenal! It was the perfect finish to this roller coaster of a day! I just set my alarm for 04:00. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings! I am so blessed!

You know that horrible feeling that you get when you forget or lose something important?

It can be something as simple as placing my phone or wallet in the wrong pocket. When this happens, it sometimes feels like someone kicked me in the gut. I may as well have been robbed at gunpoint. I’m pretty sure that it would think about the same.

This morning, as I was stowing away my bags on the plane in Boston, I realized that my backpack was missing. I was overcome with that instant panic. At first, I wasn’t sure where I had left it. My guess was that I had set it down when I’d come through security. I told my captain that I’d be right back and ran as fast as possible through the airport, back to the security checkpoint. I then discovered that nobody had seen a bag left behind.

That was horrible! I figured that I had left it back at the hotel! All of a sudden, I’m incredibly thankful for two things. The first is that we stayed at a hotel that is right next to the airport- I wouldn’t need a cab or a shuttle to get me back there. The second is the fact that my first flight was only booked to 37 people. This meant that I just might have time to sprint all the way back to the hotel, find the bag, and make it back to my plane before it was too late. It might be possible.

Let me tell you this- if you would have been inside Boston’s Logan Airport this morning, you would have seen the absolute fastest mad-dash out of the airport and to the hotel. I can only imagine that I had a look of dread on my face. Here’s the thing: As a flight attendant, if I am the cause of a delayed flight, that could result in disciplinary action, which could turn into suspension or worse. I’m over 12 1/2 years into this career, and I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon.

Now you’re beginning to understand why I was in such a hurry to find my bag. A bag, which by the way, contained my electric flight attendant manual, an item that I’m illegal to fly without. Not to mention my personal iPad, laptop, and wallet. If I’d have left any other bag, it wouldn’t be the end of the world- Walmart can provide most of what I need when I’m on a work trip.

I get to the front desk, show my i.d., and ask for another room key. I make it to my room on the 5th floor, only to find out that my missing bag isn’t in there. I run back down to the desk clerk and ask if any black backpacks have been turned in. She calls security, they tell her they have my bag! I’m so thankful, but now, as I’m waiting for them to bring my bag, I’m looking at my watch. The time was now two minutes past when I was supposed to be on the plane to start boarding.

I realize that it took longer for security to bring me my bag than it took me to run from the plane- all the way back to the hotel. I’m relieved that the bag is on its way but very worried I’m about to cause my first delayed flight. My mind starts to wander- I’m wondering which airlines are hiring right now if this all goes from bad to worse. British Air or Emirates would be a blast! Delta would let me be based in Salt Lake City or Seattle- now there’s an idea! Finally, my bag arrives, and now comes another sprint back to my plane.

I made it back to the plane about 15 minutes late, but with plenty of time to board 37 passengers and still push back from the gate early! I am incredibly grateful that a potentially harmful situation was avoided and that I made it back with time to spare! Sometimes I’m such an airhead!

Tonight I ended up at Dulles International Airport and am staying in Herndon, Virginia. I just finished some fish tacos (pretty good, not great) and am looking forward to a night of deep sleep. Before I nod off, I thought I’d talk about another item on my bucket list.

Coming in at number 16 on the list is to attend a circus. I’m not sure how or when this will happen since most U.S. circuses are now gone. I’m not sure if it’s an animal cruelty thing, but I think this would be cool to have this experience. Perhaps I’ll have to attend a Cirque Du Soleil event and call it good. Or maybe they still have traveling circuses in Europe? Time to do some research!