Fond Farewell to Ol’ Blue Sky

It’s always a sad day when a credit card has to be cut up, especially when it’s as dashing as Chase’s British Airways Visa. Between the chip, clean font and view of the globe from space, it’s pretty epic.





The current slogan of BA – “To Fly. To Serve.” – doesn’t fit the picture on the card as well as the old one – “The World’s Favourite Airline” – did. (The animation alone on the second link deserves a click.)

A picture like this, to me, brings up this statement: The best part about this hobby of miles and points is that it brings an atlas to life – for whatever little town you have once read about the thought is not Will I ever go, but rather When will I go?

There’s a long stretch in Road Dahl’s book Going Solo where he describes his time working for Shell Oil in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania (or. fun fact, Tanganyika at the time before it united with Zanzibar in 1964). Colo(u)rful as all his writing was, this part of the book always called to me – he had left the bizarre, monstrous world of British prep school for an even bigger and stranger adventure. It wasn’t cool, as I didn’t really understand cool at age 8, but rather he was fascinating! Heck, the title alone lets you know it’s a real escapade! (Shouts to Quentin Blake for the drawings, too.)

Dahl’s books always have inspired me to reach for a larger piece of the world. His books frequently place characters in surreal situations where, by dint of further exploration, success is achieved, however odd. Frequently, very, very odd but worthwhile, too. Whether it’s the dream-poaching BFG and little Sophie meeting the Queen and saving England from evil giants or lower-class Danny and his pump-station owning father poaching pheasants from a pompous, uber-wealthy local lord, the books are humo(u)rous, enrapturing and kind in a way that few stories are.

That’s how travel should be – silly, mysterious and enriching, all at once. Throw in all these free miles the banks are handing out and it becomes, in my opinion, imperative to explore. I mean, it’s only 120,000 miles for an award ticket in business-class on United to Dar es Salaam from the U.S, and I can route through Zurich, Istanbul or Addis Ababa. That’s only two credit cards and about 3-4 months of manufactured spending.

So, go read that book from your childhood; search for those baobab trees while they are still growing and make the commitment now to see something wonderful by the end of the year. But get a friend interested in your hobby; going solo is fun, but sharing something fantastic, and fantastical, is best. If I had told you last March that I would be celebrating Laotian New Year in April with two of my oldest friends and flown first class to Laos for $100, you would have cried “Impossible!!”

But, there we were.


Twenty years of friendship

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