Friday, July 27, 2012

Lesson Reminded: Never make a hotel reservation on a road trip earlier than the day of

Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village
Princeton, NJ

Last-minute gala invitation + hotel reservation 4 hours away + major rainstorm = a very hectic drive.

Around 9pm last night, donning a bright blue cocktail dress, I raced out of DC's Capital Hilton with luggage in car to make an ambitious 4-hour drive to Princeton where I had made a hotel reservation to take advantage of a Starwood special to get bonus SPG points while on my way to Upstate New York. I love taking my time on road trips and I love making my travel points along the way. [Insert Up in the Air comment here.]

I was originally planning on leaving DC in the afternoon, or at worst, early evening, so even a 10pm arrival would be decent (I guess I wasn't planning on touring around the New Jersey Turnpike area too much). However, a few days ago, I ran into a friend who invited me to the International Leadership Forum & CAABO Gala where he'd be presenting an award. Of course, I couldn't say no. I figured I could just leave early, but you know how these social schmoozing events go. So I avoided the wine and doubled the coffee.

My GPS projected a 1am arrival. Ugh! But I knew I could do it. It happened before when I was in South Dakota and made the mistake of reserving the Sheraton in Sioux Falls, which happened to be across the state (I learned next time to look at a map before making reservations!) from Mount Rushmore, which I didn't leave until around 7pm. I'll finish up my post about that crazy day another time.

Distant lightning flashed in the DC sky while driving up north on 16th. I hoped it'd remain as distant as the storm traveled east. Weather reports said it'd miss DC, but of course I didn't look to see what it'd do to Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. And then I found out: strong winds, blinding rain and crazy, agressive drivers. Passing Baltimore, then Philadelphia and even Trenton, I started to regret not being able to just pull over to some random hotel by the freeway. The things you do for points.

I made it to the hotel just as the storm had passed around 12:30. I can't imagine how quickly I could have made it if weather conditions were actually favorable. Let's up they're gone as I make my way up north right now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One Crazy Summer -- so far

Part of me feels guilty for not writing so much on this blog, trying to capture the amazing moments I've been blessed to experience, but then the other part of me is having too much fun to slow down and more experiences keep coming. We're barely in mid-July and I already feel like I've had a full summer. Alas, I know there's more to come.

Since leaving my job back in April, it's been just a whirlwind of work. I once read a saying that the definition of an entrepreneur is someone who avoids working 40 hours a week for someone else by working 80 hours a week for himself, and I've certainly learned that to be true. Thankfully, all (or most, at least) of those hours consist of work I love doing.

Aside from the coaching and consulting work, photography, of all things has taken off like wildflowers. I've always loved taking pictures, but it wasn't until January, in fact, New Year's Day, that I broke down and purchased a good camera. While I have already been blessed with an amazing nation-wide clientele, and I haven't even started marketing my work yet. And even though the reality of the field is setting in (the costs and the hours of work outside of the actual event), I still love it and am grateful for the opportunities that have arisen.

Top 10 Summer 2012 Experiences . . . SO FAR (in no particular order):

- Getting to watch Pete Souza in action up close may have been an experience unto itself, but when I got to meet with President Obama, discussing our love for Pete's work, while Pete was actually taking our picture.

- Witnessing Carol & Jim exchange vows on a beach in Tulum (one of my favorite places in the world), when a rainbow magically appeared in the background.

- Experiencing the toils of life as a jet-setter, with a 24-hour travel day through 4 countries & 4 languages.

- Surviving the streets of Paris behind the wheel, including various circles like around the legendary Arc du Triomphe.

- Visiting Monet's Gardens in Giverny, France

- Hugging Amma

- Walking the labyrinth at National Cathedral

- Unexpected visit to Amsterdam

- Being wined and dined on La Barge Luciole while sailing through the canals of Burgundy, France

- Co-hosting a reception for Senator Daniel Akaka, retiring after 22 years of service, to thank him for his tireless work for the Filipino community including obtaining benefits for World War II veterans, including my grandfather.