I found myself in an unusual situation this past weekend. For the first time inâ€¦ wellâ€¦ for as long as I can remember, I had enormous anxiety in both not traveling or having anything â€œon the books.â€
It began on Friday when I jealously monitored my Twitter feed noting how many of those I follow were arriving in Chicago for the Chicago Seminars. That event is a â€œmust attendâ€ for any frequent flier junkie, and while Iâ€™ve been in the past, I had made the previous regrettable decision to skip it this year.
Meanwhile in San Francisco, United held its annual Family Day event, another experience I had enjoyed a couple of times in previous years, but I also made the decision to skip this year.
And perhaps what got to me most was missing the rare public opening of the iconic TWA Terminal at New Yorkâ€™s JFK Airport this past Sunday. Iâ€™ve never been to it and would have loved to flown out for the day/weekend.
All three events were announced in advance, and I could have easily booked a trip to any of them, but I didnâ€™t. And I suffered from it as a result this past weekend.
If youâ€™re a long-time reader of my blog, you know that Iâ€™m beginning to value my time at home a bit more these days. For various reasons, Iâ€™m starting to slow my ridiculous amount of Frequently Flying to a modest rate. Iâ€™m no longer gunning for top-tier status on United and Iâ€™m letting go of my â€œneedâ€ to hold elite status with any particular hotel chain.
But Iâ€™ll admit that Iâ€™m having a very difficult time transitioning to my new lifestyle. And so, after a perfectly wonderful Sunday spent with my parents at their place, I returned home and began searching for new trips.
My desire is to begin burning the hundreds of thousands of United miles that Iâ€™m holding for new flight and travel experiences. I have yet to ride on a Lufthansa 747-8, or in Asianaâ€™s new first class, or a single trip on ANA. Those are a few of my goals, but I began my search by looking to yet again visit my favorite country â€“ Australia.
Australia feels like home to me (and it was for a short time in my life), so with a couple of United Global Premier Upgrades (GPUs) yet to use this year, I began what I thought would be a fruitless search for R-class space. And to my amazement, I found a reasonable itinerary with upgradable seats available at booking. Even more amazing was that the W-fare necessary on which to use GPUs was only $150ish more than the cheapest coach fare for the same flights (and much less than my last United airfare to Oz).
After a quick Skype call to my friend in Sydney, I booked the flights and I happily have another trip to look forward to. Phewâ€¦ my phobic anti-travel situation has been solved.
Itâ€™s weird, really, being in a position where lack of travel causes me anxiety, but it does. The only (#firstworldproblem) thing Iâ€™m upset about now is that I couldnâ€™t get an upper deck window seat on my return.
Flying and travel will always be a requirement in my life. For whatever reason, itâ€™s embedded in my DNA and Iâ€™ll seemingly never be fulfilled unless I have an adventure or other travel plans in my (near) future.
Do you have the â€œbug?â€
â€“ Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.