Houston Texas, Baby!

In 2010 I stumbled on the best deal I’ve ever seen in my lifetime:  Pay $500 and fly as much as you want on Jetblue for a month.  This was like buffet-style flights and my little heart was overjoyed!  I gladly handed over my money and came up with a plan to visit the places that I’ve always wanted to see. I visited Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Puerto Rico, and Florida over the course of a month and then the pass expired. It was one of the best experiences of my life, but thinking back on it made me realize that I blew a great opportunity!

I only traveled on weekends even though I was allowed to use my 18 paid-time-off days at work. In my mind, the company would suffer too much while I was gone so I didn’t want to leave at such a crucial time.  I also didn’t travel to any international destinations because it made me uncomfortable.  There were also times when I cancelled flights in order to stay home and lay in my bed because it took too much effort to pack and drive to the airport.  In the end, I missed out on what could’ve been a significantly more fruitful experience because I was overthinking things and I didn’t fully recognize the amazing opportunity that I had in front of me.

I once read that you’re more likely to regret the things that you don’t do rather than the things that you do. This became real for me when I realized that I missed out on the chance to fly to Aruba, Jamaica, Colorado, South Carolina, and Maine for free. After this realization, I try to constantly take advantage of every opportunity I have because the future is not promised.

My latest travel opportunity came a few weeks ago when I got to to fly on my favorite jet of all time, The Cessna Citation X, and visit one of the top cities on my to-visit list: Houston, Texas.  I was fortunate to stay at a wonderful artist’s loft, which had such great amenities such as a saltwater pool, a koi pond and a deaf dog.

Here are some photos from my trip:
Jet with a Tribal Tattoo

The Cessna Citation X

My Ride to Houston
They say that the Citation X is the fastest business jet of all time and can travel to almost Mach 1. Our top speed was about 575mph, but it has still earned itself a spot on my Christmas list this year.

Floating Walkway in a Koi Pond

Floating Walkway in a Koi Pond

Saltwater Pool

My Temporary Abode

My Temporary Abode

My Temporary Abode

Saltwater Pool

Great Traffic Lights
Houston has the COOLEST traffic lights

Best, Cheapest Sandwich EVER

Amazing Coffee

I went to a place called Les Givral’s Cafe that sold the best sandwich and coffee ever and the sandwich was only $3.75. The coffee seemed to be sweetened condensed milk mixed with espresso and ice. It made my tastebuds very happy. I loved that sandwich so much…

The Galleria Mall Ice Skating Rink

Shaved Ice with Condensed Milk

Lakewood Church

Houston Fountain

Shadow Exhibit

Houston Museum of Contemporary Art

The Houston Water Wall
This Water Wall outdoor exhibit was the most relaxing place to sit and read.

Houston was great…now I understand why Beyoncé mentions it so often in her songs!

Tired of Craters

If you’re into astronomy, you already know that largest craters in our solar system can be found on the surface of the moon or on New Jersey’s streets. The potholes that are on the streets of NJ from January through August are large enough to swallow medium sized cars or severely crack wheels on low-profile tires.

Back in 2008, I installed large 20” wheels on my beloved Lexus and one month later, the craters claimed the wheel’s life. Two months later, they killed the wheel again in an act of revenge. Tired of dealing with constant trips to the tire shop, I downsized my wheels for the next 8 years, but recently I bought my ol’ lady (my car) new 21″ wheels and I tried to carefully avoid the potholes.

It didn’t work.

The Tire Shop

Placing the Jack in Place

I earned myself a slight hairline fracture in my rear passenger wheel that allowed air to leak at a speed slow enough to avoid a flat tire, but quickly enough to annoy me on a hourly basis. Eventually I became tired of putting air in my tire every 8 hours, so I took the wheel to Jorge at the tire shop for his expert opinion. Jorge’s solution: “I’ll just superglue it back together.” Um… I’m no tire expert, but I’m pretty sure that superglue isn’t strong enough to hold back 45psi’s of air traveling at hundreds of revolutions per minute. But he said “trust me!” I trusted him.

I shouldn’t have.

Ruh-Roh!  Flat Tire!

Completing Tire Replacement

Somehow, the expert’s superglue trick made the air leak quicker, which left me with a flat tire. Conveniently, I also didn’t have tire changing equipment, so I made a call and roadside assistance quickly changed the tire. I drove to Tesla and they loved the story of the superglued wheels. Then they quickly put an end to this exciting chapter of the crater chronicles by putting my original, smaller wheels back on the car and retiring my 21″ wheels forever! Thanks, New Jersey!!!

** Side note: do you see what I did with the title? TIRE’d of craters?!? HA! **

St. Johns the Amazing

The most Easterly Point in North America

As I walked to the helicopter that awaited me on the landing pad, I was in disbelief that I was going to be air-lifted to a jet. As if my own disbelief wasn’t overwhelming enough, the people around me caused me to constantly question if this was actually happening. The man who walked me to the helicopter asked, “is that entire helicopter for you?” I responded “yes, I guess so…” Then as I boarded the helicopter, the pilot turned and asked “are you the only person who will be flying?” I responded, “yes, I guess so…” Then as we departed for the 20 minute ride to the Westchester airport, we landed alongside a jet. As one of the men walked me to the plane, he asked “that entire jet is for you?” “Yes, I guess so…” Then I stepped onto the jet and the pilot said “that helicopter was for you and you’re the only passenger for the jet as well? Wow” “Yes…I can’t believe it either!” Then as the pilots filled out some paperwork for the international flight, a few of the airport workers stealthily peeked inside the jet to see who was inside—I guess they assumed that I was a big deal instead of regular ol’ Geremy.

Helicopter to the Airport

The "G" Luggage from the Helicopter

A nice ride to St. John's

This flight was the start of the wonderful one-week trip in the amazing city of St. Johns, located in Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. For a place that I didn’t even know existed a week prior, it sure exceeded my expectations in every conceivable way. The food was great, the people were eerily friendly, the weather was great (especially for a place that’s known for its bitter cold weather), and the historic sites were breathtaking. It was the perfect location to work on the Peculiar PPL brand, and the beautiful scenes influenced a lot of things that will be released soon, including the new website. It was also quite cool to stand at the most easterly point in North America for a few minutes, which means that for a few minutes, there was no one in North America that was more east than me! Can I put that on my résumé??

St John's the Beautiful

St John's the Beautiful

St John's the Beautiful

St John's the Beautiful

St John's the Beautiful

St John's the Beautiful

St John's the Beautiful

St John's the Beautiful

Cinnamony Nooks and Crannies

St. John's Jelly Bean Row

The best piece of advice that I can extend to anyone reading this is: Go to St John’s, Newfoundland…and take me with you, please!

Manic Miami Moments

Miami Beach

After an overly cautious trip to Mexico, Miami was a sigh of relief because I knew that if anything bad happened on US soil, I could call Olivia Pope as my “fixer.”

Scooters in Miami

After we left the airport, we immediately went to the South Beach area for scooters. The shop owner must have had it out for me because she gave me a scooter with a broken fuel gauge, a maximum speed of 11mph, and a very moody ignition that was never in a good mood. Here’s one of the moments when I needed it to start and it wasn’t in the mood:

Even though the scooter was rebellious, rarely started after it turned off, and fell apart while I drove it (I had a pocket filled with scooter parts that fell off), it was lots of fun. We rode around the city for about 5 hours and explored the entire Miami Beach area in record timing. Then we went to play basketball.

Basketball was fun because I won. I didn’t just win, I demolished. This paragraph won’t make my cousin too happy because sometimes the truth hurts.

After an intense game of basketball, we retired to the hotel to spend the remainder of the night. Since we were only staying at the hotel for a couple of hours and had an early flight, we chose a place that was near the airport for a reasonable cost. We were pleasantly surprised once again when we went to the room and it exceeded our expectations with its full kitchen and new fixtures and appliances. However, this hotel had one massive downside that seemed to affect me the most.

We were in the middle of a game of monopoly on our iPads when I leaned over to turn on the air conditioner. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a cockroach that was the size of a Nissan Altima. It stood right next to my bed and froze when he saw me. I immediately yelled, “THERES A ROACH ON THE FLOOR!!” With reflexes of a jaguar pouncing on its prey, my cousin sprung off his bed and landed on the floor within a foot of the roach. We quickly strategized on how to end the roach’s life and since my cousin demonstrated a stellar reaction time and exceptional speed upon hearing about the roach, we agreed that he’d be the one to introduce the roach to his Roachy God. He grabbed my sneaker and prepared to crush the roach and the next few seconds happened in slow-motion…

As he lowered my sneaker onto the roach, the roach looked at the sneaker with an expression that said “I AINT DYING TODAY! I’VE GOT A WIFE AND KIDS BACK AT HOME!!” Then he quickly ran under the air conditioner to freedom. My cousin’s speed and prowess was no match for the roach’s wit and agility. But the huge problem was that I had to sleep in this room with a rabid, intelligent cockroach! I called the front desk and explained the cockroach situation and they said “sir, it’s 1am and we can’t do anything about it. Call back at 9am.” This solved nothing since our flight was at 7am. So I slept with one eye open to protect the both of our lives.

The next morning, we boarded our flight for New Jersey and we were in the air for about 20 minutes when the pilot mentioned that something was wrong with the plane and we had to land immediately. Surprisingly, everyone remained calm as we circled around for 30 minutes to burn off fuel. Then the pilot made another announcement that sent everyone into a panic. You could hear the stress in his voice as he sternly announced that everyone must stay in their seats and shouldn’t move AT ALL. Suddenly, the flight attendants rushed over to the exit row behind me and said “are you all ready to help everyone survive if something happens to the plane?? This is the moment that we told you all about! Review the emergency pamphlets now!!” The girl behind me immediately started hysterically crying, which made a number of people panic. The situation became more intense when the pilot told us that the airport doesn’t want us to land until the hospital is prepared to handle all of us in case something happens…how comforting.

Panic on the Plane

When we finally landed, we had a wonderful welcoming party on the ground that consisted of fire trucks (that repeatedly circled the plane), police cars and ambulances. They cleared us to disembark and then we spent the next couple of hours in the airport hanging out in a seemingly abandoned terminal. Seven hours later, we were back in the air and enroute to Newark, New Jersey where we landed safely a few hours later. The best part was when my local Tesla service center sent a Tesla P85D to pick me up from the airport and take me to my car because they’re great people and heard about my wonderful ordeal.

Despite the rabid roach and the frantic flight, everything was all good when I returned home…alive!