I feel like I’ve been in a constant state of transit for the past few months. I’ve been to Sydney three times, Singapore twice and Melbourne once. I was in the US three weeks ago. I was there again last week only landing at 5AM yesterday but I’m off to Sydney night. That will make three red eye flights in a week. I think that’s a record for me.
I usually don’t get jet lag but the last few trips to the US have been tough for me. The trip a few weeks ago I just couldn’t sleep. I arrived on a Sunday and left on a Friday and I think I got a total of about ten or twelve hours of sleep. I would go to sleep around 11PM and I would be wide awake at 12:30AM and won’t be able to fall back asleep. I think one night I managed four hours. Last week’s trip I managed one OK night of sleep but the other two I slept only a few hours.
I should only have a few more business trips to close out the year after this. I’m also going take some time to go and visit my parents in Florida. I’m really looking forward to the quiet period at the end of the year in Japan. The country shuts down for about a week to a week and a half at year end. If you put in for a few vacation days you can get two weeks off. I’ll be doing that. I’ll start my year with a business trip to Las Vegas.
I signed up for Global Entry a few years back but could never get an interview appointment for my interview. Some of the interview locations you can’t get appointments unless you book three or four months in advance. I typically don’t know my travel that far in advance. I just reapplied and I’m hoping I can line up an interview on one of my upcoming trips. When I fly to visit my parents I’m transiting through JFK arriving at 5AM with a 5 hour layover. Much to my surprise they start interviews at 7AM and have openings that day. I hope my pre-approval comes in before they fill up. it sounds like I have just enough time to deplane, get through customs, transit over to customs terminal, grab a coffee, get interviewed and transit to my departing termnial. What a productive layover!
I applied for the package that comes with TSA-Pre and the APEC Travel Card. I should have done this years ago as it will save me so much time especially with TSA in the US. Now I’ll be able to leave my shoes, belt and jacket on and leave my electronics in my bag within the US. I wonder if I will be able to use my TSA-Pre right away after the interview.
I made a big decision last year to finally move off of United as my milage program. It’s a big decision as I was a One Million Miler on United and I needed to fly without status until I earned it again on another airline. If you travel a lot status really matters as you get priority on a lot of things such as boarding, upgrades, and seat assignments. It makes your travel a bit better.
I’m now using All Nippon Airways (ANA) as my milage program. In the past I didn’t as United dominated the routes I was flying and it just didn’t make sense. United isn’t dominating these routes anymore and has pulled back on a few of them or always co-share with ANA.
I finally made Diamond status on ANA. The benefits are focused on priority, smoothness of travel and comfort; priority parking, priority check-in, priority bags, priority customs queue, priority reservations, priority upgrades, free upgrades if seats are unoccupied, dedicated Diamond lounge, complimentary valet parking at Narita, waived change fees, extra baggage free, and 130% bonus miles. This is a very well thought out program. Things like this make such a massive difference when you travel.
The tickets you can get with milage are also very reasonable compared to other programs. I got a round trip business class ticket to the US for only 80,000 miles. I used to pay more than 200,000 miles.
I haven’t been pulling my camera out as much as I like but I have continued to post on my Instagram if you want to follow along my travels.
Room with a view… From the Conrad Hotel in Singapore. It’s still amazing to me how much this city changed over the years since I lived there in 2001.
I’ve continued to work on Grown Man Shave in my limited spare time. I keep adding new products and tweaking the way the shop works. I hope I can keep this revenue growth trend. This is more of a toy I tinker with than something I’m actually doing for money but I do get a little jolt of excitement every time I get an order and my Shopify mobile app goes ‘cha-ching’. It is a very smart gamification from Shopify.
If you haven’t been to my shop please check it out and support it.
I seemed to have missed the Jiyugaoka Matsuri the past few years. I finally got to shoot it a bit this year. My favorite year was when I shot it on film back in 2012. I haven’t shot film for a while. I need to dust off my MP and shoot a few rolls.
I’ve only had a few opportunities to get out shooting but it always seems to be raining when I do.
I caught up with Alain again as he was passing through Tokyo again. We decided to go to my favorite place in Yurakucho. I really like going to dinner here. It really good, friendly and very affordable. You will struggle to get much over $100 for two people.
I think my favorite Yakitori place in Jiyugaoka won’t be around much longer. The build next to it and behind it are already flattened. It feels like it’s just a matter of time. This is a scene you see play out all over Tokyo.
The building across the street suffered the same fate already this week. Time to finish packing and head to the airport.
Thanks for stopping by today