We landed in Newark Airport this morning at about 5:24am, my daughter, my wife and me. It had been 2 months since I last made this specific red-eye flight. That January trip was two months following my previous red-eye through Newark. This trip is also two months prior to my next landing in Newark on my way to Ireland.
We are on our way to Orlando Florida, for the second time in 3 years. That visit, we spent 36 hours in New York and then flew to Orlando via JFK. This time, we were going to take a direct flight from LAX to Orlando, but the red-eye route was cancelled and when given the choice between flying to from LAX to Orlando through Dulles or flying Orange County airport through Newark, I actually chose the latter route, which was longer, but more familiar and convenient.
After deplaning this morning, we proceeded to the Dunkin’ Donuts in the airport for coffee and breakfast, like I always do. As I ate my usual egg-white bagel, drank my large coffee, and I checked to see what time sunrise was.
The Child at the Dunkin’ Donuts in EWR
We headed down to gate C 97, which is where you can get the best view of Manhattan and we took pictures of The City with the sun rising behind it. I think The Child took at least 50 pictures on her phone, my phone and my camera. After that, I called my sister in London, like I usually do. It was 6am Eastern time and the 5 hour time difference makes her one of the few people I can call when I land on the East Coast first thing in the morning, After that, I popped into the newsstand and pick up a copy of the Financial Times to get me through to my next flight.
My wife commented that I am a creature of habit, especially when I travel. That fact is certainly true. I have found that if I don’t maintain a certain discipline when I travel, I am apt to create chaos for myself. It was about 8 years ago that I broke protocol when eating dinner in Connecticut. I didn’t realize that I had left my backpack in the restaurant until I arrived at my hotel in Rhode Island. Luckily my hotel room that night was pre-paid and I didn’t need my credit cards. I did have to borrow gas money from one of my colleagues so I could drive the rental car back to Connecticut to pickup my laptop, credit cards, and ID. Then I had to turn around and drive to Boston to catch my flight.
I am also consistent in what I wear when I travel. If I am getting off a red eye and into a meeting I have a set non-wrinkle wardrobe for that scenario. For flights longer than 2 hours, it’s always jeans and a long-sleeve shirt, something light that can be worn comfortably should the flight be warm or cold. For trips of two weeks or so in duration, I have an orange long sleeve shirt that will be starched and folded at the dry cleaner and sit at the bottom of my suitcase in its plastic bag, not to be removed until the day of the journey home. I’m not sure why I do this, maybe it’s just the visual clothing candy reward for the end of the trip or the associated joy that comes from pulling that particular shirt out and to know that I am heading home.
When I flew home from Newark airport in January, I was wearing my newly acquired NY Half Marathon long-sleeve shirt and the same pair of jeans I was wearing today. I would be wearing the same pair of K-Swiss tennis shoes as well, but I tossed them yesterday and pulled out a new pair of the same brand shoes last night. The fact is, I have been wearing the same brand of tennis shoe for 33 years. If I really wanted to be honest, I would disclose that I have a few boxes of new K-Swiss tennis shoes in the garage so that when one pair wears out, I don’t have to wait to order another pair. I know what I like and I stick with it.
I’ve heard it said that all travel is risk-mitigation; you don’t check a bag if you can carry on. You never trust the airline to get you to an important meeting on time. Assume your driver doesn’t know where you want him to take you. Always have a back up plan.