Do We Take Travel, Miles and Points Too Seriously?

“I  feel that we all MUST feel childlike every day for some time at least”, posted Kumar in the Comments section of this episode — yes, George, episode — of the TravelBloggerBuzz weblog. “It is such a psychological healer that nothing else can come close to. Forget booze etc etc. If every man can get to that childlike innocence, enthusiasm and let go, this world will be much better place to live. All these fightings day in and day out are due to people that have become cold hearted and live in their egos. I am not saying that let us all stop growing up. We grow up in values, wisdom and intelligence by going back and searching and finding the child within us. It is tricky but achievable.”

I cannot agree more, Kumar — especially as this is rather timely after I had been reflecting on the past history of The Gate.

If you look at the earlier articles posted here, I used puns; joked around; and gave some levity to the topics about which frequent fliers were discussing on FlyerTalk; and I realized that I have not done enough of that lately. I remember saying to Randy Petersen — the founder of BoardingArea — during a telephone call pertaining to bringing The Gate back here that although I believe that I have matured (?) over the years as a writer that I wanted to bring back that levity to my writing and give it some of my personality.

My goal here at The Gate is to help you — whether it is to be the “gate”way for you about a new offer from which you can earn some extra frequent travel loyalty miles or points; save you some money on future travel; keep you up to date with what is going on in the news; or post a trip report of a place I visited so that you can vicariously imagine yourself in that place and perhaps want to travel there yourself…

…but I also like when you laugh. If I can help brighten your day by doing that, it brightens my day as well — but I do realize I have not been doing enough of that lately. I hope that you do not mind if I eventually bring back some of that levity that I have always enjoyed using both here at The Gate as well as at Internet bulletin boards such as FlyerTalk and Milepoint.

I am, however, wondering if part of the problem is that we tend to take travel, miles and points too seriously. Do we properly maintain perspective in life as well as adjust our expectations with miles and points?

I personally do not believe I am there yet — although I strive…

…but with all of this talk about manufactured spending, credit card affiliates — by the way, I actually do have a Chase Sapphire card but no affiliate links — and the benefits of elite level status, I wonder: have we forgotten about the simple wonders of travel?

“From my pre-teen years to not long after earning my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, I lived in a house where I was able to sit on the front porch and watch a parade of aircraft pass overhead for hours at a time. Some days they were landing at the nearby airport; other days, they were departing. I used to just sit there and watch them, looking at the different models of aircraft sporting liveries representing different countries from all over the world. How I wanted to be up there some day.

“My dream came true when I was twelve years of age: it was a flight from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico operated by American Airlines.

“I will never forget that first whiff of jet fuel upon entering the airport. To this day, the smell of jet fuel arouses excitement and wanderlust; freedom and the discovery of new places, people and experiences. Sometimes I feel like that twelve-year-old boy again.

“I will also never forget those air tubes with the spongy things you stuffed in your ear just so that you can listen to what is on the — well — ‘in-flight entertainment system’, if you want to call it that. Robert W. Morgan was the personality who was playing the music that was topping the charts at that time, explaining some little tidbits of trivial information pertaining to each song as those useless marshmallow wannabes kept falling out of my ears while I was listening.

“Meanwhile, I explored the entire area around me: the tray table, the window shade, the little ash-tray thingy. What is that little dot hole at the bottom of the window? What does this button do? My mind was awash with this barrage of stimuli which I have never experienced before.

“It was amazing, being inside of this conveyance which weighed many tons and yet somehow lifted off of the ground almost effortlessly as it took off to mingle with the puffy little cumulus clouds which dotted the azure blue sky. I watched the objects on the ground get smaller and smaller until the landscape resembled a real-life street map. I was seeing familiar places from a whole new perspective; a vantage point from which I have never viewed them before. I could name every street, every body of water, every neighborhood below me…

“…and I truly enjoyed and appreciated it.”

I do not believe that we have collectively lost all perspective of the simple wonders of travel; but I do believe that we let too many aspects of it get the better of us in terms of being serious. The community of frequent fliers to which we all belong seems both more fractured and fractious at times these days as opposed to years ago — and that is an absolute shame if that is indeed true…

…and it seems especially true when it comes to the comments posted about the “quality of blogs” these days — not that they are not always deserved; but nonetheless I have always believed that constructive feedback is a gift:

“If someone is willing to use their valuable time and effort to give you feedback, accept it and use it to further improve what you do — even if the feedback is little more than a personal attack…

“…as I would rather have negative feedback than no feedback at all. Go ahead — call me anything you want. Personally attack me, if you feel the need. I may not enjoy it — but I can certainly take it and I will not censor it or delete it. At least I know someone is reading what I write…

“…but I will certainly be more likely to respond to genuine feedback with suggestions for improvement over personal attacks any day of the week — and if you are hoping for me to launch a personal attack in response, save your typing fingers, as it ain’t gonna happen.

I know I try to be constructive whenever I deal with someone in travel — whether that person is a representative of an airline, an employee of a hotel, another “blogger” or a fellow frequent flier.

Is part of the problem “Internet web trolling”? I have no idea — but I thought that a number of the scathing attacks on Sarah Steegar as the result of the way she wrote the title of an article back on August 27, 2013 were unacceptable and inexcusable. I have personally found her work to be otherwise exemplary; she made a mistake and owned up to it…

…but would it have not been more constructive to simply call her out on that mistake instead of unnecessarily attacking her? It was that article where I first wrote the aforementioned quote about feedback being a gift; and one of many times where I have written in general that constructive feedback is a gift.

Here is one example of two people seeing the same thing differently: I received an e-mail message earlier today which contained the exact same offer from the Hyatt Gold Passport frequent guest loyalty program as Seth Miller of The Wandering Aramean weblog — and while I agree with him that the offer was not exactly the best one I ever received, I looked at it and thought “Hmm…2,000 Hyatt Gold Passport frequent guest loyalty program points for my next stay? Cool!” Seth was not happy with the offer, as he is entitled to his opinion…

…and no, I am not picking on Seth; nor accusing him of not enjoying the simple wonders of travel. This article about the waterfalls of Fundy National Park in New Brunswick — in Canada, not in New Jersey — is only one of many examples that he actually does have fun and enjoys the simple wonders when he travels.

Fun and the simple wonders of travel were the main reasons why I posted about trips to two Alpine villages: one of Vaduz, which is a real Alpine village in Liechtenstein; and one of tubing down the Chattahoochee River in Helen, which is not a real “Alpine” village, as it is located in the state of Georgia…

…and I simply talked about some inexpensive fun which can clear your mind for a few hours — not about the village of Helen itself, where beer, overpriced food and fake architecture do not interest me.

Kendra Collins of the Points & Pixie Dust weblog is another example of someone having fun with travel, miles and points, in my opinion. I have read criticism about that weblog; but I believe most of it is unwarranted. Even with topics about which I am not particularly interested, she has a way of looking at travel, miles and points — and (ugh!) shopping — which conveys the simple wonders of travel, in my opinion…

…and what is wrong with Gary Leff having a little fun with the headline “Woman BUSTED for Using Her Breast Implants to Smuggle Cocaine” at his View From The Wing weblog?!?

Perhaps I am being too simplistic; but maybe we all need to reach out more often to that inner child — ugh…I dislike using that term as much as I dislike shopping — in all of us to bring some harmless fun back into our special world of travel, miles and points.

Are you ready? It may take me some time to do so; but tell me what you would like to see me post here at The Gate which will help to inspire, educate and entertain you — I borrowed that from George of the TravelBloggerBuzz weblog but changed the order — to perhaps not be as serious with travel, miles and points…

…and speaking of the TravelBloggerBuzz weblog, here is a classic example of me having some fun with a parody which George took in exactly the spirit in which I had hoped he would…

3 thoughts on “Do We Take Travel, Miles and Points Too Seriously?”

  1. Kerwin says:

    Yes to answer your subject line.
    Some people get too attached; its just a seat on a plane or a hotel room or a car upgrade, if you don’t get it, your life will still be O.K. and the sun will still rise in the morning.

    I see some travelers make a big fuss about “devaluation.” Well, it was good while it lasted. The partners are running a business and it was only a matter of time before they get it all sorted. Would you prefer them to go out of business, then you have nothing?

    So don’t get too mad, just realize that the miles won’t take you as far as they used to and for new people who have just started collecting miles/points, they will be O.K. with it as they have nothing on which to base it.

    Just use your miles/points and don’t hoard them, then when the rules of the game changes there won’t be too much to be disappointed about.

    Life still continues :-).

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Life indeed does continue, Kerwin. Thank you.

      It sometimes can be amazing how that happens…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *