So John and I have been talking lately about doing something different. We’ve been in the Bay Area now for nearly eight years… the longest we’ve ever been in any given area in our adult lives. I think Silicon Valley is wearing on us a bit: the hype, the pace, the constant hustle. So we’re brainstorming some other options… I mean, I’ve been spending a lot of these last several months thinking about how to live life, what to spend my time doing, etc. I feel like I am “on to something” again, with this path that combines communications, web, project management, relationship/partnership-building, problem-solving, and social good, but I’ll have to see how all of this materializes.
I’m trying not to overthink everything as I typically do; instead, I’m trying to savor the moment and really take pleasure in the journey… that’s hard for me to do, but I’m trying. Today, we took a day trip up to Sonoma. It was really a spur-of-the-moment thing, so I didn’t get to plan to the extent that I normally would have, but we had a nice day. We walked around the square, had lunch at the Girl and the Fig, got some cheese and crackers later and sat outside. The traffic going north on our way home was insane, and it just reminded me again about all these people, subjecting themselves to some ridiculous commute. I mean, for us, we were blazing through in the carpool lane, but on the other side of the median, traffic was not moving at. all. Why do people live like this? Is it the story of sacrifice? of building character and strength through hardship? or is it really just about acceptance because that’s what society so often teaches us… this is what and how life is supposed to be: this is what everyone else does.
In the drive up to Sonoma this morning, I was very quiet in the car. My mind was just going 100 mph thinking about more ways to hustle, more ways to chase leads, how I was going to work to live a different life for ourselves. I was kinda stressing internally, and I was drafting “hustle” letters in the car, starting to get carsick. I could feel a headache coming on. And then, I received a Yapta alert. Yapta is a website that tracks airfare changes. Whenever I buy airfare, I then input the details of my flight purchase, and Yapta tracks changes in the price. For some airlines, you are eligible for flight credits when the airfare dips below what you paid; other airlines charge a min $75 or $150 change fee (so the price has to dip more than that to make the change worthwhile). Long story short, we’re flying to Atlanta in September for my college roommate’s wedding. The fares dropped about 20% today, so I received the alert and then subsequently (meaning in the car), I went to the Southwest site to “modify” my flight (re-book the same itinerary) at the lower rates. Now I have over $200 in credits that I can apply to air travel somewhere else!! Pretty sweet, right? Sorry to ramble about all of this, but the point is, I was in an intense zone in the car, and then this Yapta alert really made my day. And I was super proud too, because Yapta actually doesn’t track Southwest flights, but I figured out a way to “game” the system. You see, Yapta does track AirTran and since Airtran and Southwest are now merged, I set up an “indicator” itinerary using codeshared or similar AirTran flights for the same travel dates as my Atlanta itinerary on Southwest. My assumption was: if AirTrain fares go down, so will Southwest fares because they are now under the same company. Needless to say, my hypothesis tested positive, and I scored my credits. Yippee!! And btw, Yapta has saved me several hundred dollars. I’ve already cashed in on fare drops at least four times!! I find it works best for JetBlue, Alaska Air, and AirTran/Southwest. For the other airlines, the change fees mean that the fare has to drop pretty damn substantially… Interestingly, there is now a similar site (Tingo) for hotel rates, but I have yet to use it. Tingo requires that you book through them directly in order for them to start tracking the reservation. Anyway, that’s secret #1 that I’m sharing oh so generously with you today. ;)
Secret #2? So we were in Sonoma driving around, and suddenly John had to use the bathroom. We were trying to find a place to stop, buy a drink, and use the restroom, but we were in that part of town where all the shops were really small and kind of junky. Then I suggested we drop by our old fav: the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. Love that place. So we parked, strolled on up into the lobby like we owned the damn place, used the restrooms, washed our hands with the fancy apricot soap, dried our hands with the cloth towels, slathered on the hand lotion, and then chilled out on the couches. I actually would have eagerly gotten a glass of wine, but no one was running the bar. Oh well. It was the perfect little pitstop: so roomy and posh and clean. I probably would have enjoyed spending some minutes cozying up in the Adirondack chairs on the manicured lawn, but off we went. John commented that my idea was a great scam, but wtf, am I really “scamming” them? I mean I have patroned the place three times before, plus I talk that shit up to all my peeps… whatever. I just don’t like being called a scammer. I’m just sharing a secret, if you will. That’s my story anyhow, and I’m sticking to it. Incidentally, this is a good reminder for me to book another pool day there using their good neighbor promo (kudos to G for turning me on to that secret!).