Guest Post by Doc

Travel Edition For those of you that know me, you know that I travel for work and for fun.  I travel several times a year for fun, and several times a month for work.

Today is a big day for me - I have worked at the same place for 5 years. This is the longest stint that I have had at one employer - kinda a big deal.

During these 5 years I have traveled lots of places and learned lots of things. Brace yourself - I am about to share.

So far this year I have been on 75 airplanes.

In the past five years I have been in 41 states and 5 countries.

State visited the most for pleasure - Florida.

States visited the most for business - Virginia and New York.

State I am least excited to return to - Kansas, or Nebraska, or Oklahoma. Oh, and Iowa and Ohio.

Place I was most excited to go - the Memphis Zoo on May 9th, 2009 (and then St Lucia).

Consistently best affordable hotel room - Hampton Inn.

Best hotel bed - Westin.

Best workout facilities - any Marriott property.

Best random experience - hot air balloon ride over the Sonoran Desert (Phoenix area).

Worst hotel night - tie:  the night I was stranded in Atlanta after a cancelled flight, the night I was stranded in Minneapolis after a cancelled flight, the night I was stranded in Detroit after a cancelled flight (do you sense a theme?).

Best benefit of all this travel - the free flights and hotel for our trip to Chicago in 2009, New York in 2010 and TBD in 2011.

Worst part about travel - the nights not spent in my bed (Lucy, I miss you).

Best city to have an extra day - Boston. Or New York or San Francisco.

This year's sign that I travel too much - I recognize flight attendants from previous flights...

If I had to spend a month in a different state/area  each month in 2011 I would go to:

January - California - not too hot, not cold. Lots of sun. February - Hawaii - weather is pretty awful just about everywhere in February. Sun, sand, palm trees and the big blue pacific ocean. March - Montana - cold enough to ski, but not bitterly cold. Lots of snow. April - Georgia/South Carolina coast areas - The true return of golf season. The Masters, green grass. You may need a jacket, but the coat stays in the closet for good. May - Virginia - cherry blossoms in DC, the green hills of horse country. June - Indiana - warm enough to swim, not too hot, everything is green, blue skies and lots of big white clouds July - Washington/Pacific Northwest - decent chance of sun and clear skies. Mountains in the distance, ocean in the distance. Great seafood, good wines. August - Minnesota - still warm, but escaping the heat. Swim, fish, boat, canoe, and it stays light forever. September - Massachusetts/Northeast - early changing leaves, crisp nights, great clam chowder weather (at least for this converted southern boy), like stealing the last bits of good weather before old man winter comes. October -  Tennessee/Arkansas - nothing like the fall in the south. Warm days, cool nights. Weather is perfect for golf, fishing, cook outs - just about anything. November - Utah - jump into winter and enjoy the snow while you are still excited about it. Get the first jump on skiing before it gets too cold. Mountains always seem more majestic when the peaks are snow-capped. December - Florida - warm up again. Shrimp, shrimp and more shrimp. Plenty of old tan people that make me feel spry and pale.

5 Things I Like About Travel

1. Airlines and Hotels treat me better than most other people because they "appreciate my business". (Although there isn't much benefit to having the 'manager's suite' at the Buffalo Hampton Inn - all 2200 square feet of it- if I am there by myself for 8 hours before I leave...)

2. It breaks up the monotony of the work week. No two weeks are the same.

3. Flying on an airplane (rather than driving) dramatically reduces the amount of time that I am required to spend away from home and family.

4. The cost of the diet coke and granola bar that I grab at the airport before I jump on the plane can be expensed as "breakfast" and therefore my food costs are lower.

5. We live in a truly amazing country that is very diverse - the geography, the climate, the people, everything. There is so much to see and explore.

5 Things I Don't Like  About Traveling

1. People who don't cover their mouths when they cough on an airplane. (I am recovering from a cold that I believe I obtained on a flight from Memphis to Minneapolis last week from one such gentleman).

2. Grumpy service providers (airline, hotel, rental car, etc). I make a point to say hello and smile at these folks, just hoping that if I can brighten their day that they will brighten someone else's. We all should smile more.

3. Traffic. Road traffic, air traffic.

4. Delays - I write this as I am delayed in Norfolk, VA...

5. Being absolutely exhausted but unable to fall asleep in the hotel.

Oh, one more thing I like - the opportunity to see friends and family.

So, this is what I have learned. Thanks for reading.