Some of you may have noticed that things have been quiet lately…in the four years that I have written Live and Let’s Fly, there has never been a month with as few posts as the last one. Thankfully, my absence was not due to work obligations or a death in the family or a health crisis or just plain laziness; rather it was due to a very special event in my life that required my full attention: marriage.
Where to start? This blog has been all business, with the exception of occasional holiday blog posts and political musings that invite fierce debate but usually end up in name-calling. When it comes to my life, my family, my friends – I’ve been very private, and this was a deliberate choice. But it is time to open up a bit and share a little more about my life and those that are dear to me.
So a little about my wife, who you will be learning much more in the coming months: she’s German, lovely inside and out, and doesn’t share my love of air travel. Hmm…
Heidi is my perfect compliment – her strict, rules-oriented German cultural background balances out my laidback California style. Her unequivocal disinterest in money and power tempers the struggle in my own heart over life priorities. Her genuine concern for others is an inspiration. And she’s beautiful, brilliantly intellectual, loving, and has an amazing laugh. As an added bonus, she is an expert baker and cook and I love German food!
And then there is the issue of travel. Heidi would be content if I never stepped on an airplane again. In fact, she reasons the world would be a better place if people flew less, abstained from eating meat, and bought locally-grown produce. Oh no, a left wing environmentalist?! Nah, she’s quite conservative actually, just German.
It is the German way, and that is what I have been trying to figure out the last few years. We met when I worked for Star Alliance in 2011 and were engaged last fall. Long-distance dating was not easy, but much to Heidi’s chagrin my love of air travel made this relationship practically possible, as I was able to make frequent – eventually twice-monthly – trips to Germany and turn Skype conversation and e-mail into quality face-to-face time.
I crossed over the Million Miler threshold on United last December and you can accurately entitle my quest “A Million Miles for Love”. Well, more like 300,000 miles between Los Angeles and Frankfurt over the last few years, but close enough…
Since our wedding on June 7th, we have been busy moving in together, visiting family and friends, and submitting additional paperwork for Heidi’s visa to the United States – we will live stateside beginning some time in autumn.
Our honeymoon? Well, I had a beautiful “cliché” trip booked in Etihad First Class to the Maldives and a two-week reservation at the Park Hyatt, but we cancelled and spent four days in Paris instead. She would have preferred horseback riding in the country. Heidi and I are both busy with our many commitments and we will take several trips together over the next year rather than a single traditional honeymoon trip. I like shorter trips and though Heidi feigns frustration over being unable to acclimate, she is always happy to return home after a few days.
The whole story will unfold in the weeks to come – about our relationship and some of the struggles of being so far apart and from different cultures, how travel made the relationship possible, and you’ll meet some other characters in my life as well. We’ll try this more personal touch on a trial basis, along with the usual news and trip reports, and see how it goes.
Don’t think that my travel will halt now that I am married. Heidi supports how I make a living and in addition to our travels around the world together, I will continue to make solo trips to locales both on and off the beaten track. But now is a good time for me to catch up: Award Expert is a full-time venture and I am backlogged on trip reports and hotel reviews- some going back more than a year. Travel will be limited in the coming months as I catch up and orientate myself to my new life with someone going to bed and waking up with me every day.
I’ll end with a story. When Heidi came to California for the first time, I booked her a Lufthansa business class ticket back to Frankfurt on the direct flight from Los Angeles. She had never flown business before and I thought the 747-8 with lie-flat beds would be a great treat for her.
Nah. Her response after the flight – “Next time, book me in economy – I didn’t sleep and they ran out of vegetarian food.” Did you at least watch a movie? “No, I just read a book.” When we went to Istanbul in 2012 she looked around our room at the Park Hyatt Istanbul and said, “Wouldn’t a backpacker be cheaper?”
She does like flowers and jewelry, but I rather like the fact that she is content flying coach class and staying in hostels. We fly Lufthansa First Class next month – let’s see if she ever complains about the environment again or is willing to fly economy after that trip!
Marriage is a huge step, but I love my new life. Thanks for your understanding while I have been away, note that posts may still be in short supply as we settle down, but look forward to a whole new dimension to this blog that I hope will make it humorous and informative.