Nearly 11 months of flying across the continent, I had covered enough miles to fly around the globe over fifteen times! It hadn’t struck me until this week that I would get up early on a Monday morning only to spend the next ten hours travelling nearly 3000 miles. That’s a lot of miles. Imagine the numerous cities that one passes across the continent and the multitude of life and daily activities during those ten hours and you can get a sense of what I am talking about. But this never bothered me. After a good weekend, it is always hard to get to bed Sunday evening knowing you won’t be able to sleep through well past sunrise. This very fact keeps me from sleeping well. After about four hours, I wake up only to realize it is around 2 PM. Then on, it is a game of hide-n-sleep with the clock always afraid that I might not wake up in time to catch my morning flight. This is all after having an alarm clock set to go off. But that’s me. Until I get past the task, I can’t be rested. In a way, this is the reason why I try to get things off my plate as soon as possible. Because doing so makes me happy that I have nothing to do. Yes, that is in a way happiness for me – having nothing to do and just enjoying the day or the moment.
The past eleven months, I came across and did a lot of things outside of work. I started off experiencing Uber rides and meeting so many of the drivers from different walks of life. They would engage in a converstation eventually and tell me their stories – how they inevitably emigrated to the United States, how they raised their families and how their children are hopefully in a better place than where they came from. Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Poland, Some country in central Africa – they were from across the globe. There was also that stock broker, as he clamied, who was driving a Mercedez for Ubering people just to pass the time after his morning hours trading stocks.
Then there were those many restaurants that I would visit. Every evening after work, the task was to find a place to eat. And it had to be serving vegetarian food. I got to visit about 20-25 of these in and around the silicon valley. Also so many hotels did I stay at, easily beating the target to get the highest status by over 20 nights at the Marriott. These and the airline miles have helped me take many vacations without having to shell out much money. These visits to the valley coincided with my passion to be active and in a sense spurred my desire to remain active. I have walked a mile to work and back to the hotel many days. Even at work, the walk from the parking lot to the desk was about 1/4th of a mile! All in all, any day at work I would easily get 5000 steps and if I stretched that by visiting a mall or walked to dinner, I would exceed the daily goal of 10k steps. Ok, status, almost-free vacations, physical activity – all this is good. But there were those long days at work for nearly 10 months averaging anywhere from 10-16 hours days. It would start with calls with EMEA in the early morning and then end with calls to India after work. There would always be follow-ups and prep work for these calls. I did enjoy these in a way as I like to stay busy – better busy than idle as you can be busy for a long time at work, but idle only for a short while without people noticing!
You would think with the recent downturn in the economy, that shops would be closed and streets empty. Nope! Silicon Valley is teeming with money and people. There is so much shopping and restaurants there that it is mind boggling how every one does business. Restaurants thrive due to the number of people and this has fostered competition. At least I can see the Indian restaurants being competitive in prices and services compared to good old Philly. You can finish a good dinner for 10-15 dollars with tips and change to spare and also take home food if you eat mindfully.