Thursday, April 2, 2009

On The Road

I swear I've been on the road for a semester and a half.

I just went through the list of places I've been and well, its long.

Owego, NY
Moorestown, NJ
Newport, RI
Cambridge, MA
Chelmsford, MA
Dallas, TX
Laurel, MD
Houston, TX
Newtown, PA
Boston, MA.

Each of these trips has required planning on my part that has taken a significant amount of time. Yes, the Boston/Cambridge/Chelmsford trips may not be long in travel time, but that does not account for the planning hours. Cambridge was a job interview, Chelmsford was two major presentations, and Boston was building a robot that was the culmination of six weeks of insanity.

I am now mastering the art of rent cars and hotels. Be nice to the overly tired rental car agency late at night and they may not put you in that too small, hamster driven car. Same goes for the middle of the day when there are no less than 4 screaming kids and two angry business travelers. While driving that tiny car you may have to pray that you aren't crushed under a semi. Also, while turning on the car turn the volume on the radio down as fast as you can. You may be greeted by Christmas music at Halloween or rap music at 11 pm at night.

Hotels normally will let you into your room late at night. Even if you show up rain soaked at midnight, they will not cancel your room. Sometimes they will even have a free breakfast. Why in their right mind they ask if you want the directions to the fitness center when you are checking in at midnight and out at 7 am I still have not figured out.

There is also now defined smell in my life that is "airport" and "hotel". I have mastered TSA security to a level I never imagined. I know I need exactly two gray bins. No more, no less. After a few gross bathrooms I now carry hand sanitizer on me at all times. I also carry food after a few too many delayed flights at Logan. I could likely eat a meal or four out of my stash.

After all of this is said and done, the one major rule of adventures is still what can go wrong, will go wrong. I end up with plans A, B, C, and D. Flights are always delayed, traffic always happens, I get lost, and things happen. All of this has shown that I have an amazing ability to deal with change and make things happen despite problems. I think this may be Olin or the fact that I grew up in a barn kicking in.

Travel really makes me value the short amount of time I have left at Olin. Coming home to my own bed, in my own room, is likely the highlight of any trip. The only thing that would make this better is having my dog here to welcome me home; however, in a few short months this will become a reality.