BA first class job search travel My Thoughts and Musings Travel travel saved me year in review

How Travel Saved Me with First Class & Chocolate

London NYE Fireworks London Eye Thames

Let’s begin with the truth that 2018 was a crap yr for me personally as a result of a job layoff and the ridiculous government job search.  Add to that, my pals woes (dying of a mother and father, most cancers analysis and job search drama) and it was robust to seek out the positives. Actual life doesn’t get an Instagram filter, sadly a lot of social media presents the rosiest of worlds.  That stated, from a journey standpoint, I nonetheless managed to get away and have superb experiences all made attainable with my factors. The truth that I might perform a little journey this yr whereas unemployed actually helped save my sanity and make me really feel regular if just for a little bit of time.  Travel is like air to me, I have to journey to breathe, to really feel regular, to discover and uncover in an effort to reset my thoughts, physique and spirit. So right here is the journey yr finish evaluation crammed with chocolate, first-class and my loopy elite standing flight.

Observe: I don’t advocate touring throughout unemployment until you’ve got adequate financial savings to pay your daily payments and journey bills.  Nobody ought to go into debt to journey for any cause. 

Beginning the New Yr with Fireworks in London

For years, I sat alone on the sofa at residence watching the midnight fireworks in London (7pm EST) as a result of I’d be quick asleep by midnight.  After years of golf equipment, home events and different New Yr’s Eve celebrations, I got here to take pleasure in my solitary celebration with pizza, wine and countdown protection.  However I needed to be in London sooner or later (dare I say a bucket listing merchandise?) and I used to be in a position to try this.  Thoughts you, the timing wasn’t nice, I booked the London NYE fireworks tickets earlier than I used to be given my layoff discover.  However understanding it is perhaps some time earlier than my subsequent trip, I used my factors for flights and located an excellent lodge deal at The Mondrian London lodge on Southbank.  I used to be not on the sofa alone, I used to be as an alternative surrounded by hundreds of individuals watching the fireworks stay in individual in London.  It was actually incredible to see, hear and expertise.  I began the New Yr off in London filled with potential. Filled with hope.  Filled with risk.

Fireworks accompany music within the background from the London Eye

We Assume You Want To Go Away – Hitting the Job Search Wall

I began off with a loopy schedule of networking, recruiter and job interviews once I returned from London in January and by Might, my household, pals and social media people have been telling me I wanted a break from the insanity and the wallowing in chocolate after a couple of robust losses (one interview course of was three months – six telephone interviews, two lunch interviews and a 20 minute presentation I wanted to create and ship by way of webinar). Every thing was closing in on me.  I acquired rejections each day and to be trustworthy, I felt like a failure day-after-day I didn’t get a job.  My mother was sending me job clippings from the newspaper after which modified her tactic to every day texts of prayers. Haha, no strain.

Tripophobia QuoteJourney Quote

Positive, I had a routine to get out of the home and go to the fitness center however the job search was mentally exhausting to get to the ultimate rounds of interviews solely to lose to the interior individual.  There’s actually nothing you are able to do to beat the interior candidate. With the Memorial Day vacation upcoming and understanding that everybody can be on trip, I booked a final minute journey to Rotterdam for the Traverse journey blogger convention.  I had factors for the airfare (British Airways JFK-London) which was the most important hurdle and allowed myself a little bit of spending cash from my financial savings to take the break and see my journey associates.

Three Days in Rotterdam

Rotterdam turned out to be a stunning shock for my three day convention go to.  With points of interest reminiscent of De Markthal, the Rotterdam meals market, Rotterdam Road Artwork and Dice Homes there was sufficient to maintain me busy outdoors of the convention schedule..  The straightforward to navigate metropolis was lower than ½ hr. from the Amsterdam airport by practice. I additionally added a brand new Rotterdam boutique lodge (Mainport) to my favorites record.

Markthal Rotterdam Market View of MuralMarket stalls plus a view of the “Horn of Plenty” mural and luxurious flats at Markthal RotterdamShow Cube House Rotterdam Courtyard of CubesCourtyard of the Dice Homes of RotterdamRotterdam Road Artwork by Tymon "Mr Merida"“Mr Merida” by Tymon – road artwork in Rotterdam with South American influences

Two Days in Bruges

From Rotterdam, I boarded the practice to Bruges.  Like so many, I found the town of Bruges by way of the Colin Farrell darkish comedy “In Bruges”.  The previous city surrounded by the canal is a stunning vacationer vacation spot through the day however it was at night time that the fairly magic of the town got here alive for me. It helped that there have been 90 chocolate outlets in Bruges to maintain me busy with analysis.  Plus the Triennial Artwork exhibit was fascinating with the environmental theme and shows across the metropolis. The Bruges Whale continues to be, to today, a strong artwork piece that resonates with me as a tragic reminder of what plastic is doing to our oceans.

Best Chocolate Shops in Bruges Dumon ChocolatesRows and rows of goodies at Dumon – milk, darkish and white crammed with flavorsThe Bruges Whale Art Skyscraper Bruges Canal HousesHighly effective thought scary artwork in a cute whale manufactured from plastic waste from the ocean

In a single day in Ghent (Gent)

Boarding the practice from Bruges to Ghent (Gent) was fast and straightforward as there are a number of trains per hour between the cities.  Gent was simply an in a single day keep for 2 days. The 1898 The Submit lodge was a newly opened and award profitable boutique lodge gem that I by no means needed to go away.  Ghent is a metropolis that may shock you and it is best to keep for a couple of days – undoubtedly begin with a strolling tour, I liked my information who began his personal tour firm, Charlie’s Excursions Ghent.

1898 The Post Hotel Letter Room GhentA bigger room, Letter, at 1898 The Submit Lodge has the identical design options with totally different arrange relying on the historic constructing mapGhent Canal View next to 1898 The Post Hotel GentThe canal outdoors of 1898 The Publish Lodge. Straightforward to discover a boat tour on both aspect of the canal lined with cafes and outlets

RTM to LCY – Rotterdam to London Metropolis Airport

Whereas I might have taken the practice from Rotterdam (would have been faster that day in reality), I selected to fly to London Metropolis Airport as a result of I wanted one flight to finish my Silver Elite standing with British Airways.  So my day began in Ghent the place I took an early taxi to the native practice to Antwerp which stopped a number of stations early so I wanted to get off and discover the opposite native practice to Antwerp the place I might then switch to the Eurostar to Rotterdam, chill an hour within the Marriott foyer after which take the native airport bus to The Hague Airport (Rotterdam) the place I arrived two hours early solely to be subjected to a two hour delay.    All in, I had greater than an eight hour journey day for a 45 minute flight to London (What I don’t do to maintain my elite standing!). Subsequent time, I’ll take the practice.

Connection in London

Arriving in London Metropolis, presents one of the best views because the touchdown strategy is over the Thames.  All the time e-book a window view!  From London Metropolis airport, I used to be simply capable of navigate to the tube line that was direct to Southwark and stroll to The Mondrian Lodge on the Thames. This was my second keep on the lodge and within the neighborhood (Southbank and Southwark) and I used to be actually liking it.  In the course of the day, I ventured to Borough Market or The Tate Trendy (free rooftop viewing platform) and at night time I might stroll alongside the water and over the Millennium Bridge to The Metropolis and St. Paul’s for probably the most superb views of the town aglow.

St. Paul's London at nightSt. Paul’s London at Night time

First Class London to Philadelphia on the Dreamliner

Flying house in First Class on BA was loopy because the newly opened First Safety at LHR was having points and it took almost 45 minutes to get by means of (regular safety would have been quicker) which reduce down my time within the British Airways Concorde Room. Whereas a bit frazzled as a result of I nonetheless needed to plan time to get to B Gates, I used to be richly rewarded onboard.  I had chosen the later flight as a result of the Dreamliner (787-9) is again on the seasonal schedule and had the brand new BA First product.  Even higher is that the cabin of eight had solely me and one other passenger so I had half of the cabin to myself with my very own devoted flight attendant.  I used to be unemployed and this was surreal to be flying house worldwide top notch. I stored telling the FA that I used to be high-quality and it was an excessive amount of to fawn over me however she was a star!  For almost eight hours, I forgot about the whole lot and let somebody maintain me with meals, wine and chocolate.  I escaped into the films on the leisure system.  Thanks Avios factors!

The Concorde Room LHR First Class BAThe Concorde Room welcome champagne for British Airways First Class passengersBA First Class LHR-PHL Dreamliner new productBA First Class new product on the Dreamliner LHR-PHL

Summer time of Interviews and Job Rejection

When family and friends have been touring in the summertime, I used to be confined to my home and consumed by the job search.  I began the summer time with three Fortune 500 interview processes after coming back from my European escape.  I additionally had smaller agency interviews in course of as properly.  Juggling a couple of numerous alternatives was promising as I stored my hopes in verify.

One interview course of consisted of ten (sure 10!) interviews, one other rejected me then modified their thoughts to deliver me onsite to interview after which reject me once more.  Every course of was three to 4 months of interviews and ready.  Sadly, a number of days after Labor Day, all the corporations rejected me in favor of the interior candidate (I’m wondering if I ever had an opportunity?).  A summer time spent scrambling to get observed, to be heard, to be thought-about.  A summer time spent in my interview go well with (which I need to burn) assembly individuals, attending community occasions and dreaming of the seashore in Gozo.  I might have spent the summer time on the seashore and had the identical outcome – ranging from scratch.

New York Travel Convention – SKIFT Discussion board

So I began over but once more in September and by probability, had a tremendous alternative current itself. There’s a wonderful journey business convention that I’ve all the time needed to attend, the Skift Discussion board.  I had the final minute (three days prematurely discover) alternative to attend the 1.5 day convention that’s typically been referred to as “the TED of Travel”.  Once more, factors saved this journey as I used to be in a position to make use of my Marriott (former Starwood) factors to remain at The Moxy NYC.  For 2 days, I forgot I used to be (nonetheless) unemployed.  For 2 days, I talked about journey and felt seen once more.  Watch the movies from the Skift NYC Discussion board to study extra concerning the journey business leaders and upcoming visions.

The Moxy NYC Queen Room viewQueen room view at The Moxy NYC – 200 sq ft cleverly designed and adorned

How to Travel for Much less Class

One cool factor I used to be capable of do was train a weekend class “How to Travel for Less” at Fundamental Line Faculty Night time (grownup enrichment courses) in October.  I used to be a bit apprehensive questioning if anybody would enroll (and pay) for the category however ten journey fanatics did.  I hung out making a packed presentation with ideas, tips and tons of journey info. It was a enjoyable and interactive class to ensure I addressed every individual’s private causes for attending.  My class critiques have been 5 star which made me glad and I used to be invited again within the spring to current the category once more.

Review The Lights Festival Philadelphia Night Sky Filled WIth LightThe night time sky was crammed with lantern mild from about 3000 attendees on the Philadelphia Lights Pageant

Travel in Evaluation

Blondie's Kitchen Cookies London Double Chocolate Tahini Sesame SeedThe Double Chocolate Tahini Sesame Seed Cookie from Blondie’s Kitchen London was my favourite taste

Regardless of the open calendar and chunk of free time which had me itching to journey to flee this drama, I used to be grounded as a result of I didn’t need to spend any extra money from financial savings.  I wasn’t positive when the job search would finish however knew when the cash would run out. How I needed to run away and discover the world with the free time.

So 2018, I’m glad to see you go from a private work standpoint since you’ve tortured me (and my pals), made me really feel lower than and made others ask me “what’s wrong with me” (reply: nothing).  From a journey standpoint, I used to be capable of take pleasure in a brand new nation (Belgium) that had lengthy been on my record (Belgian friets and chocolate oh my) and return to London to see associates. As I’ve typically endorsed individuals who need to journey for much less, it may be completed in case you are strategic with factors accumulation/diversification and when to redeem.  Fortunately, my factors accounts, chocolate, cookies and journey saved me and helped me keep (considerably) sane within the yr of the job search.

Observe: Thanks for all the help throughout this robust yr.  I’ve appreciated the type phrases and notes.  I nonetheless have many posts to share from the travels of the yr each on the weblog and on PhilaTravelGirl Instagram account.  As all the time, when you’ve got any questions, simply contact me.