John is a perpetual traveler who is constantly on the move for either business (as a management consultant) or pleasure. He writes about his life on the road at Travel Rinse Repeat where he discusses his journeys and his efforts to make the most out of every travel opportunity. Please enjoy this week-in-the-life of John as he combines business and pleasure across the United States.
Day One – Monday
4:00 AM – My alarm is going off again, letting me know it’s time to get up and go to the airport. I can’t hit the snooze button because I’m already cutting it close for my flight this morning given the time it takes me to get to the airport. I pick up my bag that I packed the night before and jump into the rental car (it’s actually cheaper for me to rent a car when I come home instead of taking a taxi to and from the airport) and make the drive to the airport.
There is no traffic in the city of Denver at 4:00 in the morning. I drop the car off and head into the airport. All of a sudden, the quietness and stillness of the morning comes to an abrupt halt as the airport is packed as it always is – everyone seems to fly out on Monday mornings. I make it to the gate as they’re calling for people to board.
Somehow I sleep not only through the safety demonstration but also through takeoff…must have been really tired. I wake up and we’re above 10,000 feet so I pull out my laptop to catch up on emails for the day. I spend the majority of the flight doing work. Before I know it, I’m touching down at the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson. I pick up another rental car and start the drive into work, finding a unique restaurant along the way to stop in for lunch. This time it’s a gourmet bodega selling unique sandwiches in the East Atlanta neighbourhood.
By the time I get to work, I’ve already been up for six hours and I’m just starting my work day. Fortunately it’s a short one and I’m out of the office by 6:30. I check into my hotel, work a few more hours for my job or on the website and try to make it an early night to catch up on sleep.
Day Two – Tuesday
6:30 AM – Despite waking up only a half hour later than the previous morning (with the two hour time change), watching the sun rise as I wake up makes all the difference in the world. I iron my clothes that have been stuffed into my impossibly small carry-on bag and head down to the hotel lobby for breakfast. It doesn’t matter where I stay – all the hotel breakfasts seem to be exactly the same. Afterwards, I head back to my room and pack my bags again.
I rarely stay in the same hotel for consecutive nights, even if I’m working in the same city. There is always some promotion taking place that awards based on ‘stays’ instead of ‘nights’, so if I can squeeze three stays in a week instead of one, I’m tripling my bonuses. This week, the promotion is with Marriott – I’m earning 2,000 United miles for every hotel stay. If I stayed at the same Marriott all week, I’d earn 2,000 miles total. If I switch Marriott’s each night, I earn 6,000 miles. 4,000 additional miles for spending five minutes packing up my bags each morning? Seems worth it to me.
I try to get into work early as I have a client meeting early this particular morning so I want to make sure I’m prepared. The meeting goes well, and I grab lunch with my coworkers. I feel like I’m in a food coma when I return to work, and despite wanting to take a nap beneath my desk, I shake it off and get down to completing my tasks for the afternoon.
I’m out of the office by 6:30 again and on my way to meet my old college roommate who lives in Roswell, Georgia now – just a half hour north of Atlanta. Business travel has provided me plenty of opportunities to visit with friends I otherwise might not have had the chance to see. After dinner I decide to spend some time wandering around the quaint, charming downtown area. Despite practically being a suburb of Atlanta, it feels worlds away.
Day Three – Wednesday
7:00 AM – Alarm goes off, I wake up, eat another hotel breakfast, same story. I make it into work just after 8:00, and the day seems a little slower than normal. Perhaps it’s because I know whats waiting for me that night. Some coworkers and I picked up tickets for the Atlanta Hawks game tonight. I’ve never been to a basketball game while traveling for work, so this is a first for me.
Due to Atlanta traffic, we opt to take the Atlanta’s public transportation system (MARTA) to the game. With tip off set for 7:30, we try to leave the office at 6:00 in order to leave time for the train, dinner, and finding our seats.
We arrive at the CNN Center and grab dinner in the massive atrium with one of the largest food courts I’ve ever seen. This incredible center is attached to Phillips Arena, where the Atlanta Hawks play their home games. By the time we’re done eating, it’s 7:35 and we’ve already missed tipoff. But we make it into the arena, find our seats, and settle in for the game.
The game finishes around 10:00, and I am lucky enough to get a ride back from one of my coworkers to the office where my car is waiting. From there, I return to my hotel from the first night for my final night in Atlanta.
Day Four – Thursday
7:00 AM – I pop out of bed with ease as I’m fully adjusted to the eastern timezone by this point. Today is typically the day I’d fly home, but instead of going home, I’m taking a flex trip to visit my sister in San Diego, California.
The work day goes by fast and before I know it, it’s time to go to the airport and arrive at my gate a few minutes before boarding starts. I hear my name called over the loudspeaker to check in at the desk. “You’ve been upgraded,” the smiling Delta agent says to me, handing me a new boarding pass. This is the best news I’ve had all day – not only will I be in first class on this flight, but it’s on one of the longest domestic flights I’ve ever taken.
I settle into my seat surrounded by people who look much more deserving than me to be sitting in these seats. My hair has grown long, I’m experimenting with a beard, and my clothes are a little wrinkly. I take a special pride in being the most homeless-looking person in the first class cabin. I spend the better part of the flight working on Travel Rinse Repeat until my laptop battery dies and spend the rest of the flight watching cartoons on the back of my in seat TV while all those around me are watching something boring like CNBC.
We touch down in San Diego five hours later, but due to gaining three hours, it’s not that late. I pick up my rental car (if you can’t tell by now, I drive A LOT of rental cars) and drive to my sister’s house. I never get sick of this city. The beautiful weather, laid back attitude, delicious food, and the ocean keep me coming back.
We head out to a nearby Mexican restaurant for one of the local delicacies, The California Burrito – a carne aside burrito stuffed with french fries. I get mine with guacamole and ranchero sauce. We head back to my sisters house, I blow up the air mattress, and I settle in for a night of sleep. I have another early morning tomorrow.
Day Five – Friday
5:00 AM – It sounds early, but since I’m still on east coast time it isn’t too bad. I may be in San Diego, but my coworkers (and more importantly my clients) are still mostly in the eastern timezone, where it is 8:00 am. I check my emails and look at my schedule for the day to see how flexible it will be. Lots of meetings today, but fortunately, most of them are in the morning.
By 9:00am, I am already four hours into my work day and everyone else I work with is headed to lunch. I use this as an opportunity to head out to one of my favorite coffee shops in La Jolla to settle in for the rest of the work day.
I spend the rest of the day working from this shop which is only steps from the cliffs of La Jolla cove. I’m done a little before 2:00pm, and I head out to the beach while my sister finishes her work day.
Walking along the beach in the winter, I’m reminded just how lucky San Diegans have it. It is winter in the rest of the country, yet there are surfers riding swells, girls laying out in the sun, and families playing beach games. I wonder to myself, ‘does anyone in San Diego have a job or is this what they all do all day?’
Day Six – Saturday
8:00 AM - Finally it’s the weekend, and I have the day off. Today, we’re going to explore North County San Diego. We hop in the car and head north, stopping in beach towns along the way. Del Mar. Solana Beach. Encinitas. Carlsbad. Each town unique in it’s own way. We stop a little longer in Solana Beach to spend some time wandering along the shore. I love exploring the cliffs, tide pools, beaches, and other stretches of shoreline along the coast.
We end up in Escondido around lunch time which can only mean one thing – lunch at the Stone World Bistro. What started as a brewery (Stone) has turned into a mini-empire complete with this restaurant, which is one of the best in all of San Diego. The menu is full of unique food items, the beer list is long and diverse, and the environment is second to none. We grab a table next to the window overlooking the spectacular gardens and indulge in our meals.
After lunch, we make our way back down to San Diego proper and spend the afternoon visiting Point Loma and Cabrillo National Monument. When we arrive at Cabrillo, we spend some time exploring the tide pools, but the tide is getting high (and dangerous) so we get out before we get stuck. We head up to the monument dedicated to Cabrillo who was the first european to discover the San Diego area. Supposedly this is a great place to spot migrating grey whales, but on this day we see nothing. However, we’re treated to one of the best views of San Diego.
We make a quick run over to Coronado island via the impressive Coronado bridge where we take in the view of the San Diego skyline before heading back for the evening.
Day Seven - Sunday
8:00 AM – Unfortunately, my time in San Diego is short, and it’s already my last day in the city. We grab breakfast at an outdoor cafe in Del Mar. I’m trying to enjoy every minute I can outside. I know when I return to work, it won’t be so warm.
We go for a walk through Balboa Park, one of the best public parks in the nation in my opinion. My flight out is just after 2:00, so my time is limited. We head over to Ocean Beach for the rest of the morning and take a walk out on the pier to watch the surfers. This is one of those quintessential California experiences that I know I won’t find when I go back to work, so I soak it in while I can. Unfortunately before long, it is time for me to head to the airport.
I drop my rental car off (once again) and board another airplane, this time back to Virginia Beach. I arrive several hours later and find my way to the hotel. I get to bed, knowing it’ll once again be another early morning.
John will be focusing his efforts on the central United States next, working in Wichita, Omaha, Oklahoma City, and other cities across the great plains. For personal travel, John will be headed to Moab, Phoenix, and Austin. Check out his adventures at Travel Rinse Repeat.
Are you a full-time or long-term traveler who would like to share your own week-in-the-life with readers of The Professional Hobo? Drop me a line and I’ll send you some guidelines!