Nonstop You. In the Friendly Skies.

Seven flights in seven days. Without a hitch. The effective travel machine of “right-place-right-time-friendly” United and “nonstop-you” Lufthansa took me around North America, Middle East and Europe to all my 26 meetings. On time. What is the likelihood of that?

the intern ud51I traveled with celebrities like Meryl Streep (Get Ready for Ricki) and Robert de Niro (The Intern) among many others. And my feather-light laptop of course. I ate all kinds of meals at odd hours. Lured my body to believe it was dinner time when it was anticipating brunch. And slept a few hours here and there. You know, the kind of sleep where you are aware of most things around you. And wake up instantly when a whiff of coffee reaches your nose.

I have to say coffee was my faithful buddy on this trip. And I have many iPhone pictures (didn’t carry my camera gear) to prove it. Like this one in Frankfurt, where my friend kept me and my luggage company for hours. Four cappuccinos went down before it was time to board my flight to Amman, Jordan.

coffee in Frankfurt Germany UD51My arrival was greeted by a gorgeous sunset. And after our descent through the cloud cover, the ancient city revealed itself, sparkling like a diamond.

Arriving to Amman ud51My modern business hotel was situated in the newer part of Amman. From my window I could see a hillside condo building of beautiful limestone, typical for this area.

view from my window Amman ud51The highlight of this short visit came on my second night in Amman. A friend of mine, with whom I had worked in Egypt three years ago, invited me to her beautiful home for dinner. What an evening that was! Sumptuous dinner with delicious Jordanian dishes and wonderful company of my “Jordanian family” – an experience I will always treasure.

Jordanian Dinner ud51When I left her home late at night, I snapped a picture of this hilly neighborhood, very typical for Amman.

Amman at night ud51After two days full of meetings, I left Amman on a flight just after midnight. The rich history of this fascinating country made me want to return with proper time to explore all its famous sites, including visiting the ruins in Petra and floating in the Dead Sea. Just like the man in this photo by Pete.

1024px-Dead_sea_newspaperUpon landing for the second time the next morning, I found myself in West Indies. In the heart of Geneva, Switzerland. A charming small hotel with its Indies-inspired rooms decorated in warm saffron and pepper colors, offered an exotic interlude for this weary traveler.

hotel room in Geneva ud51By this time my body clock was very confused. It would put me to sleep or wake me up to do some work at any time I wasn’t with my clients. And it kept me updated on the primaries in Florida. Whether I liked it or not.

hotel TV ud51But it was nice to me too. Unlike at home, it allowed me to eat whatever my heart desired. Like rich croissants for breakfast. Two cups of coffee for lunch. And a huge pizza for dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. Life was good.

pizza ud51The days and nights melded into one long string of working, sleeping and eating. Until it was time to carry my luggage once again up the 16 steps to the aircraft.

alps ud51I learned (again) that traveling light, while it ensures your stuff goes where you go, is actually quite heavy.  I also discovered that with a dose of divine protection “killer trips” are indeed survivable.

I’m happy to be back home again. Hoping for a gorgeous sunset tonight. Just like this one the day before I left on my trip.

sunset ud50I wish you all a wonderful week ahead. Peace.

78 thoughts on “Nonstop You. In the Friendly Skies.”

  1. Looks marvelous, Helen. Good for you that you adapted so well to all the different time zones. The food looks so delicious, and I would also love to float like that man on the Dead Sea. Very cool indeed. 🙂 Enjoy being back in Florida and I look forward to seeing what’s going on in the salt marsh when you’ve recovered from your long trip. 🙂 xx

    1. I adapted so-so 🙂 My body clock was not in its “normal time” most of the trip. The Jordanian dinner was beyond delicious, mild dishes mixed with more spicy ones. And learning more about the culture and life in Jordan was precious. Salt marsh next! I have checked on Sandy and Stanley from my terrace, Sandy is still sitting tight but she’d do it even the first 10 days after the egg(s) hatch so I will need to investigate to know more 🙂 XX

  2. Your life sounds remarkably like mine. 🙂 I’m grateful to have enjoyed one whole week at home this week! First one in 4. Flying out again tomorrow. :-S

    1. I am lucky in the sense that my trips are not that frequent as most of my clients are abroad. I have time in between to work from home, but when I travel it’s always super hectic. I hope you’ll get more time at home soon, Nancy! Take care XX

  3. Wow! You have WAY more stamina, drive, and motivation than me ~ after 2 meetings, I would have been saying “Skype me!”

    Nice that you hooked up with a friend in Jordan for dinner at her home.

    1. Oh, I’d like to say “Skype me”, but as we do it on a daily basis anyway that will not work. I held “focus groups” for 20-25 people among my normal meetings so I just had to be there in person. The dinner was truly something I appreciated over anything – the warmth of the people and the delicious food 🙂

  4. Were you able to do anything on the planes where you saw Meryl Streep besides stare at celebrities. I would imagine it is very tempting to reach out and touch them, just to see if they are real.

    1. I saw these celebrities in movies I watched while flying 🙂 But I have met Meryl Streep in real life too, many years ago in Acapulco, Mexico. She was vacationing with her children at the same resort where we were, and we used to have breakfast at the same time in the mornings. She is just like any of us, very down to earth.

    1. I know, Jackie, travel is really tiring. I’m very happy to be back home. I have rested this whole weekend. Yesterday decided to stay in my pajamas the whole day 😀 We’ll “talk” soon, my friend ❤

    1. Oh, yes, there’s a big difference between work and vacation travel. I prefer the latter. It’s great to be back home and able to check on the Osprey family from my terrace. I’m hoping for a good walk tomorrow 🙂

    1. Absolutely better than pizza, no comparison 🙂 And the company was wonderful. But since I don’t normally have pizza, I enjoyed it too…in my own company.

  5. I’m speechless! 26 meetings, 7 days, 7 flights around the world. Here i thought you were human, remarkably special but still human. Now I’m beginning to wonder. 😉 I did especially enjoy your Amman photos! Hope you’ll be resting a lot this week! Whew!

  6. Oh, very human and very tired 🙂 The Amman experience was wonderful, but far too short. Made me wish to go back as a tourist to see all the wonders in Jordan. What a historic and beautiful country!

    1. It was an interesting week, indeed. But coming home I was completely exhausted and rested the whole weekend. Now I feel like a human again 🙂

  7. You did very well to find the energy to take some pictures and to post them when you got back. Us dull stay-at-homes are grateful for your window on the world. It makes us feel very travelled too.

  8. You have such an interesting job Helen. I guess the downside is to balance your busy schedule and your body clock but what a wonderful opportunity to expand and to connect to the world around you. Thankyou for sharing it with us!

    1. This is the job I dreamed of last fall, if you remember Karen. And while it is very hard work for me for about 6 months, and traveling like this is taxing on the body, it is also very rewarding in terms of feeling that my work has the potential to help many people, at least indirectly.

    1. Thanks Laurie – my work is my window to the world, but unfortunately I have to do my trips in this compact fashion due to commitments here at home. Whatever needs to get done has to be fitted in about a week, and sometimes that’s a tight squeeze 🙂

  9. What a trip, and bravo for taking all those pictures to let the rest of us enjoy it vicariously! That last one of the sunset at home is very special and beautiful, even if it was taken before you went.

    1. Thank you Hien. This time I couldn’t pack my camera gear so this was my first real attempt to document my travels with my phone camera. We didn’t get the sunset I hoped for yesterday, but today looks more promising 🙂

  10. What a savory experience you had with the Jordanian family, Helen! Looks beautiful and delicious. Great travel stories to share. Thank you so much for the post. 🙂

    1. Happy you traveled along, Amy! That dinner was a whole evening experience, I learned so much about life/culture and of course the food was delicious, somewhat influenced by Greek food (or vice versa) but spicier in a good way 🙂

  11. Whew, I’m tired just reading about your travel and meeting schedule–but it sounds like you had an opportunity to do some important work in some interesting places. And, it’s wonderful that you managed to squeeze in a few moments to enjoy the foods and beautiful scenery.

    1. It was a good trip, Sheryl, despite the squeezed schedule. Work-wise I’m happy with everything, and I hope my work will help people at least indirectly, but would have loved to have some more time to “look around”.

    1. It was an exhausting, but good trip work-wise. Very meaningful. And after hanging around in my pajamas this weekend, I now feel almost restored by sleep and calm here at home 🙂

    1. When I had to carry my over-weight (they didn’t discover) carry-on and large shoulder bag up into the plane the fourth time (out of seven departures), I finally counted the steps. It was a very good trip now that I look back on it with no-so-sleepy eyes 🙂

    1. I hope your jet lag is of the mild variety 🙂 Mine was at the other end of the scale, but coffee does wonders. I’m happy to be home now and work from here, and not needing to plan for another trip immediately.

  12. Perfect photos to accompany your chronology, Helen. I will acknowledge that I very much miss… and do not miss these sort of itineraries. A bit bittersweet and a reminder of the love/hate relationship I once had with this working life. It’s good to learn that the air segments went without a hitch. Rare, indeed! Welcome back.:)

    Oh, and the pizza looks scrumptious.

    1. Thank you Eric! And sorry I missed your comment. I have now fully recovered, but I think I know what you mean by the love/hate relationship with this kind of work life. I also left that behind already, but “zoom in” at times, when something too interesting to pass comes by 🙂

      1. No worries. In this case you can cite jet lag. 🙂 I like your perspective to “zoom in” when there are interesting opportunities/possibilities. It’s why I always have a travele bag packed. 🙂

    1. It was quite a trip, but I’m happy with the outcomes, and it’s great to be home again. Salt marsh friends will get a visitor later this week, I’m pretty sure 🙂

    1. Thank you, Matti. It was one of the toughest trips I’ve done because it was so “compact”. I really hope to go back to Jordan at some point, there’s so much to see. Have a great week, you too!

  13. I clicked into your latest post eagerly looking forward to the next bird adventure in the marsh. How shocking to find out what your working life is like! The pictures are stunning, and your post was thrilling to read. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  14. OH, Tiny!! I don’t know how you survive that schedule. I know how much flying takes out of one. Your pictures are gorgeous and I LOVED seeing the parts of the world you just came from. Get rest, my friend. That floating man in the Dead Sea I would LOVE to some day experience what he was. How cool!!!! 🙂 ❤

    1. My hubby was not quite sure I would survive, but I did…so much protection and many blessings on this trip. I was resting, and hanging around in my pajamas (which I never do!) most of the weekend 🙂 The Dead Sea is very interesting and the many historical sites I didn’t have the time to see. I would also love to see the olive trees that are still growing from the Roman times in the north of the country. Amazing! Thank you for coming along, dear Amy ❤

      1. SO much to see in this world, isn’t there, Tiny? And funny here I know your real name but I still prefer Tiny (smile). Perhaps some day I will be able to travel the world round with some friends in tow. What a lovely thought!! I for one am glad you did survive, and yes, protection and prayers really do go a LONG ways!!! 🙂 ❤

        1. Yes, they do! I hope you get to do a trip around the world, Amy. There is so much to experience. Have a beautiful week, my friend. Hugs Tiny 🙂

    1. I am really grateful for the project I’m currently working on as it has potential to indirectly help many people. The travels can be tough, but this trip went so smoothly I was amazed. But I also realized I was no longer 29 …and had to hang around in my pajamas most of the weekend to recover my lost sleep 🙂

  15. Wow, what a whirlwind tour Tiny! I’m impressed by your ability to stay alert and enjoy your surroundings, stay well, and appreciative. The home cooked meal with a friend in Jordan looked and sounded delightful.

    1. I’m not sure I was as alert as I should’ve been at times. I have some funny memories about that. The home cooked Jordanian meal was truly wonderful. I felt like a member of my new “family” – so much warmth! Thank you for coming along, Jet.

  16. Helen, the ‘table’ looked so inviting! I suspect it was like a friendly state of normalcy amongst your hectic schedule. I sat and ate with you; so enjoyable… 😉
    As for your travel itinerary; so ordered and well defined. What a wonderful ad for Lufthansa!
    I’m sure you enjoy being home – there’s no place like home (as Dorothy said); though, when life runs as smoothly as did your trip, it matters little where you hang your hat! Though, I’m sure, your man will be pleased. 🙂

    1. Happy you came along, Carolyn! There was plenty of food for all of us. That evening was like a warm oasis of friendship across borders, just wonderful. And the only evening I wasn’t eating alone or in the plane. I am happy to be home, and so is my man. And we’re looking into adopting another poodle. Still miss Bumble a lot, but I heard his whisper from the rainbow bridge that he’d be happy if we gave another dog a home 🙂

      1. That is wonderful, Helen. I know how much a loved one is missed, and never do we lose our precious memories. However, yes, life asks us to move forward. There is a need to love, again. What a wonderful gift to give. 🙂
        xoxoxo

  17. Wow, Tiny! You are one amazing woman! What a wonderful whirlwind trip, and so much beautiful food, you were so blessed:-) Be sure to rest well in between these events, as I know what burn out is like, and that was the area I did extra study in when studying counselling, having experienced it myself years ago. I can remember floating in the Dead Sea, it was such a strange experience, being able to just lie on the water.though the funniest thing was I could not stand up to walk out, I had wade into shore to the shallows. Have a restful week my dear friend:-)

    1. Thank you my friend! I am not going anywhere, hopefully not for a long time. That was the second and last trip agreed for this project…now I just need to write it all down 🙂 and I’m not planning to take on more projects for quite a while. It’s wonderful you got to float in the Dead Sea, wow!! What an experience! I wish you & yours a wonderful Easter.

      1. Thanks Tiny, we were away with friends out of media signal range for the Easter period and just arrived home, have more birds to blog:-) I’m glad you will be resting for a while. The salt marsh would be lost without you;-) have a great week my dear friend;-)

  18. Whew, Helen, you have us all impressed! Very much enjoyed your visits and the photos. I think I’d need a vacation immediately after running that schedule for a week! Hope the legs feel grounded now and you’re rested. I bet Stanley and Sandy have been wondering why you disappeared again! 😉

    1. Oh, I’m having a vacation here at home 😉 Need to go see Sandy and Stanley tomorrow, but judging what I see from my terrace they are doing just fine. Stanley flew past our windows yesterday with a HUGE fish to Sandy. She’s still sitting down in the nest, but there might be hatchlings already. A good reason to do some deeper investigating 😀

  19. seven places in seven days! OMYGOSH! No matter how much I wanna be you I don’t think I have the stamina. The foods made me drool! Your friends home is ginormous, are u sure she’s not part of the royal family hahaha !

    1. Oh, that trip was quite tiring, but now I have fully recovered 🙂 My friend’s home was very beautiful and I loved that she and her mother had cooked an authentic Jordanian dinner – the food was beyond delicious!

  20. Welcome home Tiny – I’m sure the peace and quiet of the salt marsh is exactly what you need to rest and regroup! I did tons of travel in my day but this is beyond the pale!!!

  21. What I miss the most about the Middle East? The food. And the hospitality when one is invited into another’s home. That picture of the meal made my mouth water. Welcome back home! Look forward to the updates! xx

    1. Yes, you would know, Tahira! The food was delicious and the whole evening was absolutely great! I will always remember my “Jordanian family” who invited me back to see and experience more.

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