Hawaii 2020: Day 1

02.20.20 | Home | 02:04

I set my alarm for 04:15, but my body has been wide awake since midnight. I’m not going to fight it anymore- Today is the first day of my vacation, and I can hardly stand it- I’m so excited! Not only will I be one step closer to visiting every state (bucket list item number 99), but this is just going to be phase one of my adventure for the year.

This past August, my brother announced that we were going to Hawaii for our 2020 family reunion. Those invited: My parents, siblings, their spouses, and myself. We love the next generation, but these family members are not invited. We tried to do this last year, but there were just too many conflicts. We felt like this needed to happen- not only am I one step closer to completing my bucket list item number 99 (visiting every state), but this has been a life long dream of my mother. Since my parents are in their 80s, we figured that this is a good enough excuse to go. She ain’t gettin’ any younger!

The next seven days’ worth of posts will merely be ‘Phase 1’ of my 2020 vacation. I’m going to use ‘#Hawaii 2020’ Because there are going to be three phases over the next two months, I’m going to try my best to update this blog daily. A few friends have told me that they enjoy following along, and so I’ll continue to do what I’ve been doing over the years.

I want to do some more live-streaming on this journey, so I want to invite you to download the Periscope app and follow @DavTravels. I will post the videos on the blog as soon as I have time, but you can always see them sooner via Periscope.

I also want to invite you to join my Facebook page, if you haven’t yet. This is one way to get notifications whenever there is a new post. Just click the Facebook link up top! Then, “Like” the page, and you’re all set!

Salt Lake City, Utah | 04:32

I guess I was too excited to go back to sleep, because now I’m sitting in the Salt Lake City International Airport, waiting for my first flight.

07:34

This is my first time flying on Alaska Airlines. I handed the “A” flight attendant a bag of Dove chocolates, so I hope he was grateful for the gesture. I cannot stress enough: Bring something for your flight attendants!

08:54 | SLC-SEA

The flight crew just paged for medical assistance. It seems like something is going on with a passenger in the back of the plane. I hope they are ok.

09:02 | SeaTac, Washington

If I bring a gift for the flight crew, whether it be a gift card, snacks, or chocolate, all I expect is a “Thank you.” I’m not expecting them to upgrade me or any form of special treatment.

On the flights that I work, I try to make a big deal about receiving a gift, making sure the crew members know who brought it, so they can thank him or her. I’ll even jump on the p.a. and make an announcement if I feel it’s appropriate.

I feel like my first exposure to Alaska Airlines was nothing special. I’ve heard such good things about their flight attendants, but I don’t know what that first crew’s deal is. Nobody bothered thanking me.

When I handed the gift bag filled with chocolates, I smiled and told the lead flight attendant that I was also a flight attendant and that I work for Southwest Airlines.- I got half a smile.

I guess I should be thankful for that half of a smile. I have more chocolates for my second crew, but little do they know- their reaction or lack of reaction is going to be the deciding factor of whether or not I bother to bring a gift on my return trip next week.

Inflight Snack
SEA Airport

SEA-LIH | 13:23 (Hawaii time)

It looks like I got my wish. The new flight crew was incredibly kind and even told me they were very thankful for the chocolates. That’s all I wanted- my faith in humankind (and Alaska Airlines) has been restored. I’m going even to go one step further and give the airline bonus points because they have a place for me to charge my phone.

Soon, these amazing flight attendants were comping my meal and even gave me a tablet to watch movies. This crew seemed so much better than the first.

Princeville, Hawaii | 16:16

As soon as I got my checked bag from the baggage claim, my sister Karen, Joe, and Brett were already outside waiting for me. We drove to the north side of the island, to Princeville, where we are staying in two Vrbo homes that are side-by-side.

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This afternoon, my brother Matt took some of us down a very muddy trail to the ocean. The swimming area is called Queen’s Bath. It was so much fun to swim around in the ocean for a while!

The Muddy Trail
Queen’s Bath

The only tough part was walking back up the muddy trail to the car. B the time we made it back, most of us were covered in mud!

For dinner, we had some delicious grits with shrimp in them, that my sister Melanie made. It was perfect!

Dinner with Family

I have now been awake for over 24 hours, and I’m starting to feel that way. I’m hoping to fall asleep fast.

On this day, 44 years ago, my parents’ were blessed with their favorite child. Up until this point, they’d had a miscarriage, a stillborn baby called Michelle, and five living disappointments, my siblings.

Fact: My mom tells me that after my brother Matt was born, they’d always felt like they had another child waiting for them. One can conclude, from this information, that I was the only inspired child, and therefore, my siblings are merely part of the baby factory.

I started my day in SeaTac, Washington, in a Doubletree hotel. My 03:00 alarm hurt like a mother. Since today was a workday, I had to drag myself out of bed, shower, and head to the SEA airport. I love walking in the morning, so it was a nice stroll to get to my plane.

Today’s Route: SEA – OAK – SEA – DEN

I just got back to DEN after a great three-day trip. My crew was amazing! I’ve always said that makes all the difference in the world- I was, once again in Omaha the first night and SeaTac the second night, which was my assignment for three out of the four weeks in August.

My coworkers blabbed to the passengers that it was my birthday, and so I have had a day filled with “Happy Birthday” greetings. Even the passenger that I wanted to eject from the plane eventually wished me a great birthday. It made me feel amazing!

I’m at the crashpad tonight and I just had the most amazing ice cream social with roommates! Just like last year, I happened to be here in Colorado today, so Dawn went out and bought a bunch of ice cream for everyone. I was really touched that she would turn this into such a big ordeal! It really makes me feel special!

“I Scream: 9” was a blast- I have already started to receive pictures from friends and family! I can’t wait to put together this year’s slideshow! I plan on posting it here on the first if I have time and can find a decent connection for the upload to YouTube.

Today was another easy day.

My assignment was OMA – PHX – SEA and now I’m staying at the Crowne Plaza, right next to the SeaTac airport. No turbulence, no stupid drama- that’s my favorite kind of day! When I first arrived, I grabbed some lunch (my weekly burger).

I wanted to get out of the hotel but didn’t want to do a major hike. I decided to walk down the street until I came to Angle Lake Park. A few years ago, I happened to be here on the 4th of July and was able to sit on the grass and watch fireworks. Since the sun is out, so were all the kids, playing in the water and swimming. It was a beautiful day!

Scotland 7: Day 40 (conclusion)

04.11.19 | Home | 07:15

By the time my head hit my pillow last night, I was out. My body had been up, at that point, for 22+ hours. This is what happens when you ride the cheap seats: LGW > SEA > OAK > SLC. Shoutout to the most amazing Norwegian crew who brought me from Gatwick to Seattle. They made that 11-hour chunk of my journey, so nice! Again, I bribed my way into their hearts by bringing chocolates that I grabbed from the duty-free shop at the airport. It never hurts, people! I’m telling you it doesn’t!

I realized when I landed at SeaTac, that I had forgotten to factor in the time it would take me to get through international customs and then all the way to the ‘B’ gates to catch my second flight. Thank goodness for the Mobile Passport app that I have on my phone! This made it to where I could cut most of the people in the line. I almost don’t want to share this information, because the more that people know about this, the longer the line is going to be. At least this blog doesn’t have a whole lot of readers- let’s keep this information on the D.L.

After missing my train exit, and going to the wrong security line, I got to my gate with only moments to spare. Then I found out that not only was there room on the flight, but the plane was a few minutes delayed. For once, I was very thankful for a delayed flight! I was soon in Oakland, waiting for my last flight to Salt Lake City. Once again, there was plenty of space, so getting back to Utah wasn’t a problem.

Here are some lessons I have learned over the last 40 days:

  1. Don’t bring a printed itinerary. It was a waste and I didn’t need it. From here on out, I will only use the TripIt App on my phone (check this out before you travel next time) and will keep a back up of all my confirmation information in an email folder.
  2. Just about every business in Scotland will take a contactless payment, therefore I can use my Apple Pay everywhere! This gave me so much peace of mind since I didn’t have to give out my card number a million times. I learned to go to a reputable A.T.M. (like a major bank) and take out about £100 at a time, but only using that for places that wouldn’t take Apple Pay, or I would use that cash to tip servers, etc.
  3. When booking trains/buses/transportation, factor in when I am allowed to check into my next lodging, that way I don’t have to lug around a heavy backpack while I’m waiting to check in. Some places will store a bag for me so that I can go out and explore, and some places will charge a fee for this.

Ok, I need to go get some things done before I return to work- no pressure, but there is only approximately 324 days until ‘Scotland 8’.

At about 10:30 yesterday morning, my easy one-leg day ended in SeaTac, Washington.

As I was walking to the hotel, I thought that I needed some kind of adventure. It may be a good day to check off bucket list item number 90, which is to go up into the Seattle Space Needle. I checked online and found out it would cost me $22 to do this. Well worth the money to fulfill a dream.

I grabbed a small pizza for lunch at the hotel and brought it back to my room. After eating, I started to get really tired since I’d had to be up so early that morning. I thought that maybe I just wanted to stay in and take a nap. This Space Needle will have to wait.

While I was lying there, munching on an overpriced chocolate bar from Starbucks, my second wind kicked in, and I felt like I needed to get up and do something. I sent a message to my friend Jordan, a SeaTac-based flight attendant for Delta, to see if he was in town and wanted to grab dinner. Luckily, he was and invited me to dinner with him and another friend, Eric.

Interestingly enough, I had never actually met these two in person. I came across Jordan’s Instagram account a couple years ago when I searched for posts that used the hashtag ‘CrewLife.’ This search pulled up what seemed to be a million different flight attendant and pilot feeds. I followed some that looked like they may be sharing some of their travels and adventures. Side note: I’m not a fan of and don’t like to follow those who constantly post selfies. Sure, an occasional selfie is alright, in my opinion, but why do some feel as if they need to continually show off their face. Get over yourself! Turn the camera around so I can see what you see!

We decided to meet and eat at Coastal Kitchen, a seafood-inspired restaurant in Capital Hill. The Uber driver who gave me a ride into Seattle was incredibly chatty! I love to chat with strangers, but sometimes I get the vibe they may want me to hush. He is originally from Afghanistan and has lived in the states for years now. He told me about his family and about his growing up years. Afghanistan in the 1970s was similar to the U.S. The wrong person/people rising to power has brought on the drastic changes these people have to live with today. I’m so blessed to live in a country that allows me to follow my dreams!

My food was delicious! I recommend a visit! I ordered a lamb dish that had some white beans, perfectly seasoned. Eric had a burger, and Jordan had a pasta dish. The conversation was fun, and it’s always interesting to chat with flight attendants from other airlines to get their perspectives on things.

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Later, my Lyft back to the hotel was with a man who is originally from Mexico City. We talked about the death of his parents a few years back and how he never goes back for visits anymore. He moved to the states alone and had to save up to send for his wife and kids. He is yet another person who had/has an American Dream. I’m inspired by this.

Today I ended up, once again, in SeaTac, Washington.

I know I say this often- I love the northwest so much! I could totally live up here again! Not sure what my problem is- it’s not that I’m not happy in Utah. Maybe it is some kind of grass-is-greener complex (by the way, the grass really is greener in Washington). My mom told me that I needed to wait until she dies before I move away from Utah. If I decide to go to Washington, she would forgive, support me, and she’d still love me. It just seems like even though I live in the same state as the folks’, I see them about as often as I did when I lived in Kentucky. Maybe I work too much. For now, I’ll stay where I am.

I thought I’d write about three more things on my bucket list. After that, I’m going to sit back and watch the film Enough. Remember that movie? I decided to buy it on iTunes the other day.

  1. When I was planning my trip to Australia back in 2014 xxxUPDATE LINKxxx (see post), the initial idea was to spend part of the time there and part of my time in New Zealand. I soon realized, however, that I didn’t want to spread myself too thin. There is just too much I wanted to see and do in Australia, and the same goes for New Zealand. Number 73 on the bucket list is to go to New Zealand.
  2. I love a good road trip! Number 81 on the list is to drive the historic Route 66. Maybe on a motorcycle (bucket list item number 69)? We’ll have to see about that. I guess I need to get a motorcycle first.
  3. Number 9 is to go to Brazil. Since the Olympics is approaching, I heard that they are going to change the rules so they will no longer require a visa to visit, but just a passport. That will make things easier (and a bit cheaper)!

I prefer a.m. over p.m. shifts at work.

I think I’m just hard-wired to be up in the morning. Even on my days off, I tend to wake up pretty early- I was even born in the morning. Last week I was planning on going home to Utah for a couple days, but I saw a really easy-looking two-day trip available to pick up. Even though it’s was a p.m. trip, I decided to grab it before someone else did. I’m glad I did!

I may have blogged about this fact before, but I have this little philosophy that I like to live by. Simply, I try to assume that everybody I meet in life wants to be my friend until they show me that they don’t want to be. That may sound conceited, but it’s really not. I try to treat others as if we’re old friends and that we just haven’t seen each other in a while. I have had so many incredible adventures because of this.

On my flight last night, I met a passenger named Jared. We started chatting when I came through to bring him a beverage. He is a singer/songwriter who grew up in Reno but spent years in Nashville. Now he’s come back to live in the northwest. After my crew and I finished our service, we hung out in the back of the plane talking. Jared actually came to the back to have a chat with us.

We had a very long conversation. I liked the way he listened and seemed to be interested in what I was saying. He asked me about the nickname ‘Dav’ and told me all about his family and that he’s the only one who goes by his given name. We talked about singing, music, travel, dreams, and a thousand other things. It was a great chat! I asked about his music, and he let me hear a couple songs that he’d written and recorded. He is really talented!

Once the plane landed, I grabbed his album off of iTunes, and he told me to learn the songs so he could call me up to sing backup vocals with him someday. How awesome would that be?! I’m about ¾ of the way through the album, and I have to say I’m really impressed! It’s great to make new friends! Trust me- I don’t throw out music compliments unless I feel like they’re really deserved.

https://safe.txmblr.com/svc/embed/inline/https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DTjoavVSK26w#embed-58ac44ebab361174645505

Washington Camping Adventure: Day 6

I woke up early this morning and after walking to use the “facilities”, I came back to camp and guess who was waiting for me? L.B.! I chased him around the table a couple of times and he shot off of a tree. I’m not sure what he’s after because we cleaned all the food up before we went to bed last night. Perhaps he was just checking to make sure. I want to kill him and have him stuffed and mounted on my wall at home.

We declared today “shower day”. Swimming in the lake does a pretty good job of keeping the stink down, but we really felt the need to start fresh. The nearby Lake Quinault Lodge provides a shower for a small fee. This gives us a key card that will last for one day. It was so nice to feel the hot water! I no longer smell like a campfire! I’m sure I will by tomorrow, but I still feel great at the moment.

We had to spend some time at the lodge to use their Wi-Fi signal. Megan is having a situation with her dog, Hobbit. Her dad is taking care of him, but he needs to be out of town soon. She finally found a place for Hobbit and had to make all kinds of arrangements. We were getting hungry for lunch and so we ate at the lodge restaurant. I had my first Monte Christo sandwich (not sure if that’s how it’s spelled though). What a funky combination of flavors! Megan had a salad.

We were getting hungry for lunch and so we ate at the lodge restaurant. I had my first Monte Christo sandwich (not sure if that’s how it’s spelled). What a funky combination of flavors! Megan had a salad.

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It was laundry day! About a mile down the road we found a laundromat and spent about an hour washing and drying our clothes. While we waited for our clothes, we sat in some grass on the edge of the lake, chatted and listen to some music.

It was time to check out Forks! This happens to be one of the items on my bucket list! Now before you judge me: I wanted to see forks since I serve a mission here. This is because one of the missionaries who served here told me that to live in Forks, you have to have either a lazy eye or finger missing. This was back in 1994 and if you do the math, that was way before the Twilight Saga came out. But on the subject of Twilight, GO TEAM EDWARD!

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We got to the town, we could see that EVERYBODY was trying to capitalize off of the Twilight frenzy. Megan even pointed out a sign that read “Twilight Firewood”. It made us both laugh!

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Next we went to visit the first beach that La Push (Remember the scene where the friends all went surfing and Jacob hinted to Bella about the vampires?). Such a beautiful beach!

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We found some clam chowder at a restaurant called The River’s Edge where we both had the clam chowder. I ordered a delicious seafood Alfredo, and Megan not only fell off the HCG wagon, but she seems to have lit the damn thing on fire!

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On our ride back to camp, Megan came up with a brilliant plan! It was about an hour before sunset and so she suggested that we go find a beach nearby and watch the sunset. I took way too many pictures, but I feel like they turned out really great! Here are some of my favorites.

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Today’s quote: “It was like a movie, only we had our clothes on.”