A Dream Job On Hold

Hello there beautiful people!

I’d like to preface this post by saying I know that pretty much everyone is getting their ass handed to them in one way or another lately so believe me when I say I know everyone is having a hard time and I in no way want this to seem like an oh poor me post because it isn’t but it is something on my mind and a big piece of my life currently that I feel like sharing.

In the very beginning of COVID-19 hitting the states and before the government money was given to airlines my employer offered what we call a special leave of 1, 3 or 6 months to try to reduce the work force but allowed people to keep health and flight benefits but have a return to work date.  It was a hard decision because at that time there wasn’t even talks of full blown shut downs it was so early in the pandemic. I chose the 6 month option and very thankfully qualified for unemployment.

Then the government stepped in and gave money but required no employees be laid off/furloughed til October 1st. Obviously travel has not returned to anywhere near where it would be for the airlines to return to a “normal” need for the same number of  employees as we had pre-pandemic so come October big cuts will happen.

When my company announced how many furloughs they expect to hand out to flight attendants last week it was a big number- a really big number. Even if that number is the worst case scenario and changes by a few thousand it’s still a big number. While nothing is official yet and won’t be for probably another month or so I’m in the last 3,000 flight attendants hired so if they furlough 15,000 or even 10,000 it will more than likely take years for my seniority to be recalled. Thankfully I work for a union which means that I have to be recalled back to work within 6 years. Even weirder than waiting I could be called back to any base not just where I was based when I got furloughed in the first place so that’ll be an interesting hurdle to get over.

It’s a lot for me to take in. How the airlines work is already weird as hell to talk about but trying to read through our 300+ page contract to try and figure out what happens when one gets furloughed/when do the benefits stop etc. how does it work when I do get recalled is a total mind F#$k.

I knew it was going to happen but hearing it out loud is still a punch to the gut.

I think the hardest part is that this is my dream job.

I absolutely love being a flight attendant.

I call it my fake job because even though I sacrificed a lot to get it, trained hard to graduate, moved 3,000 miles away to live in a bunk bed with an insane number of humans, and answered the phone no matter what time it was to go anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice, it rarely felt like “work.”

I got to adventure for a living.

Every senior person I talk to always says the same thing, you will go back because there is no better lifestyle than being a flight attendant. You may have ups and downs with it, take time away and come back but once flying gets into your blood, it just doesn’t leave.

It’s still my dream job, it’ll be my dream job the moment they invite me to come back even if that takes a few years to get to. I know that and I can look forward to this little break in life to accomplish other goals of mine but man, the moment that phone rings I will happily throw the pantyhose back on, rush to the airport, hop on that jump seat and spill my soul to the first crew I meet in true flight attendant fashion.

I’ll even be nice to the passengers 😉

In the meantime I’ll be working on my resume, sweating over cover letters and dreaming of the day I get to return to my life in the sky.

And now I’ll spam you with pictures from some of my favorite layovers…

Anytime I got to go to a baseball stadium,

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That one time Alex and I flew to Eugene, Oregon for lunch and then I picked up a trip for a long Vegas layover that night so we had to rush back to San Francisco,

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Anytime crew scheduling gave me a resort layover (this happened very rarely for me)

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That one time I got sent to South Korea in the dead of winter and had not packed appropriately (because I didn’t know I was going) so I wore every single layer I had on top of each other,

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That time I met a T-Rex in Kansas City,

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Any new state I got to cross off like Montana below and all of the layovers (not pictured because it’s not their blog 😉 ) that I got to see family and friends. Between Boston, Burlington, Orlando, Nashville, Newark, New Orleans, Baltimore, San Diego, Austin, Eugene and so many more those layovers are always so special to me.

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Cheers & All my love,

Kari

Layover Life : 5 Things You Need to do in Memphis, Tennessee

Ahh Friday, what a glorious day you are and one that I actually have off so major plus!

This week I got sent to the airport to sit standby and was quickly informed I’d be working to Memphis for a 30 hour layover.  I have actually been to Memphis when I was younger and did both Graceland and the National Civil Rights Museum (both absolute musts if you’re in the area) but I wasn’t sure what I’d want to do for one day and one day only. I texted my sister who lives in Nashville what one should do in Memphis and she said “nothing! Ha. Peabody Hotel, Arcade for Brunch & Graceland.”

Having already done 2 out of the 3 of those things I set off to make a new plan and here’s what I came up with to fill my last minute layover in Memphis!

1. Take a Tour of Sun Studio.

Sun Studio is where greats like B.B. King, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley all recorded some of their early work in. In fact Elvis & Johnny both recorded their very first songs in the single room that still stands virtually untouched today. The tour is $14 and lasts about an hour. It’s guided by incredibly passionate music fans- our guide Jason sang along with every song he shared and you couldn’t help but at least tap your foot in solidarity. The moment I left I found myself down a rabbit hole researching all of the amazing songs that had been recorded in that room and of course creating a very dorky playlist to go along with it. I loved the tour! Bonus: when you purchase a ticket you also receive use of a free shuttle service that brings you to Beale Street and also to Graceland which is a great value!

2. Stuff your face at Central BBQ.

Memphis BBQ where can you really go wrong? Honestly, you can’t. Let me tell you though, when you want to go really right, you go to Central BBQ. This place is so good it has 4 locations in the greater Memphis area so no matter where you are you can enjoy it! The brisket was so tender and I loved the hot BBQ sauce that came along with it. Everyone who worked there was really nice and made me feel like I was home- well except Jeopardy! wasn’t on and though my mom’s mac & cheese is my forever favorite it’s quite different! Oh and she sure as hell never made us brisket. This place is special folks, you’ve got to try it.

3. Live Music & Big Ass Beers on Beale Street.

Of course what is a trip to Memphis without testing out the open container law on Beale Street? I’m just kidding but I did stop for a “Big Ass Beer” at King’s Palace and listened to some live music in their courtyard which was a great way to spend an afternoon despite the fact that it was 100 degrees and I felt like I was dying a little inside sitting out there (my New England/Irish blood has a serious aversion to humidity haha) To be honest, I actually don’t know that I’d care to spend any time on Beale at night- call me a loser but I don’t even like Bourbon Street after 5 PM so for me an hour during the day was perfect.

4. Watch the Peabody Ducks Waddle through the hotel lobby.

If you don’t already know about the historic duck march through the lobby of the Peabody hotel, click here immediately to find out. Now you can continue this post… I decided to check out the 5pm session when the ducks are marched from the fountain back to their penthouse suite on the roof. I arrived around 3:30 because I was in desperate need of some air-conditioning and I’m actually glad I did. I got a seat at the bar and met a nice older couple who put the duck walk ever so simply “they roll the red carpet out, the Duck Master makes a 5 minute entertaining speech, the ducks walk to an elevator and we clap like morons.” They made sure I had as good a spot as possible though because even as morons, it was still unbelievably special! There were probably 150-200 people on multiple floors of the hotel lobby looking down at these birds waddling away on a Tuesday afternoon. You’ve just got to check this out friends!

5. Take in the sunset on the rooftop at Hu. Hotel.

This was my favorite part of the day, easily! The rooftop bar at Hu. Hotel is small but mighty in it’s spectacular views of the Mississippi River and cozy rooftop seating. The bar menu had some great options for beer & wine but their cocktail list looked inspired! Still pretty full from the BBQ lunch I ordered an appetizer with a glass of rose (#basic) and sat for an hour enjoying the views. The hummus was delicious! I don’t know how busy it would be on a weekend as I was going up on a Tuesday (ayy) but I can’t recommend it enough! I loved it so much that I’d love to see what the rest of the hotel and it’s rooms were like on my next visit.

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From the moment crew scheduling called me to basically last night when I got back from working my trip “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn was stuck in my head. If you follow me on my Instagram you’d know that I went a little hard on using the song lyrics to dictate my day but hey, I had a prayer in Memphis! So the next time you find yourself in Memphis even just for a day like me, you should absolutely add these stops to your to do list! I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

Oh but if the shuttle driver puts her hand out to grab your luggage, do not shake it. The alarming look on her face will shake both of you to your core. I’m so awkward

I hope you have a great weekend filled with rooftop bars, great views and all of the BBQ- or cleaning, like me. I mean, we can’t always be walking in Memphis!

Kari

What’s In My Bag? The Essentials

Aloha party people!

Today’s post is about the most essential items for travel that I have with me no matter if I’m gone for a month or just an overnight. I know travel can be so unbelievably stressful so having a good base of items is so important to get you through whatever days stuck in crowded airports, messy road trip cars or metal tubes in the sky might bring. So let’s get to it shall we?

  1. A large scarf, Turkish bath towel or some other lightweight compact blanket. 

Planes are cold people! On the majority of them the “controls” are literally a dial that the pilots move in the hopes of appeasing everyone BUT it’s not an exact science. Most airplanes domestically aren’t even boarded with blankets so relying on this is a bad idea. In the winter I always either wear a very basic chick blanket scarf to the airport or keep one in my bag. In the summer however I always have a Turkish bath towel or a lightweight cotton towel that can be used as a blanket, beach towel and even a picnic blanket. My favorite one I got while in Morocco but I did find a few from an Etsy site below that look just as amazing. Amazon also has lots of compact blanket options that fit nicely into a little pouch, I even have one in my car because I’m a grown-up and that seems like something a grown-up does!

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1. Blanket Scarf 2. Cotton Bath Towel 3. Compact Travel Blanket 

2. A reusable water bottle. 

This should just be a common practice in everyone’s general life (props to you SFO!) but I swear I have saved so much money on buying water now that I am in the habit of carrying a water bottle around. Most airports have gone to some pretty awesome water filling stations now so it’s convenient to refill once you get through security. Also, who hasn’t had to make the run from one gate to another to catch a flight? You then get on the plane absolutely dying of thirst from your sprint and the flight attendants have to remain seated because of turbulence after take-off (anyone who flies through Denver a lot can attest to this scenario) thus delaying the hydration you are so desperate for. JUST BRING YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLE KIDS!

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1. United by Blue 2. Hydroflask 3. REI

3. A portable charger battery pack.

I cannot praise this Kenruipu battery pack enough! I know they make smaller, lighter ones but this one is the holy grail of battery packs. Once charged this brick (which does take awhile to charge if it’s dead) can charge my phone 5 times 0-100% before it dies itself. It has 4 different output ports so I can be charging multiple items at the same time. My phone is a piece of garbage so between trying to find an outlet at an airport or spending the whole day exploring a new city I need a battery pack that’s going to be reliable. While the one above does fit in my purse if you’re looking for a much smaller option this Anker one is a good find but it doesn’t last nearly as long.

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1. Kenruipu Large Battery Pack 2. Anker Small Battery Pack

4. The key toiletries.

Chap-stick, hand sanitizer, moisturizer, multi-vitamins & melatonin. These are the toiletry items I would never leave for a trip without. Anyone who’s spent long periods of time on a plane full of re-circulated air and humans with questionable hygiene practices knows you need to have some defenses ready to go and these are the ones you need pack! I love Badger chap-sticks for planes, hiking, snowboarding and just in general living in high-altitude climates like Denver. It keeps my lips moisturized but without feeling like I have to reapply constantly like some chap-sticks. I trust you know why you’d need hand-sanitizer which pretty much covers a good multi-vitamin as well. I swear by moisturizer with a water jelly component and if you haven’t tried one before I’d recommend this Bliss one. Melatonin is my best friend when it comes to international flights (not working them obviously) and when I have to switch back and forth between working redeyes and early check-in trips though if you’ve never tried it be prepared for some WILD dreams on occasion.

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1. Chap-Stick 2. Hand-Sanitizer 3. Moisturizer 4. Multi-Vitamins 5. Melatonin

5. A baseball hat.

I always have a baseball hat in my bag. Do you need one? I don’t know really. If you do it should only be 47 Brand because that’s the only acceptable baseball hat brand but anyway I like having the option of throwing it on and calling it a day. I also collect hats. I also, also, hate washing my hair so it’s a bag staple.

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1. The Only Brand To Buy From

6. A Kindle/iPad.

This is of course the splurge purchase but here is the thing, they really are a lifesaver. Not every plane you get on is going to have screens, not every plane you get on is going to have working WiFi (I know I’m not supposed to admit that but… it’s true) SO everyone who can should have one of these items. I do love reading paperback books but when I’m on redeyes I like having a lit up screen so I always have at least one book downloaded on my Kindle app. I also have like 10 shows downloaded and ready to watch just in case I can’t connect to WiFi on a plane or in a hotel room. Control your own fate friends, it will make your life so much easier when things go wrong.

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1. Kindle 2. iPad

7. SNACKS!

Airports and hotels are the biggest price gauge I’ve ever seen besides sports arenas but at least they entertain you. I’m not saying you won’t spend money on a meal in an airport but throwing a few easy snacks in your bag makes you a more enjoyable person to be around (I mean I don’t know you personally but it does apply to most). When I’m working I have a full-blown lunch box of my meals for the trip BUT even when I’m flying for personal trips I always keep a few items in my bag for those just in case moments. Some of my favorites are Clif Bars, Trader Joe’s “Just Mango” dried mango slices (not the sugar coated ones) and Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels- these are clutch for filling up fast.

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1. Clif Bars 2. TJ’s Just Mango 3. TJ’s PB Filled Pretzels

8. A Sleep Mask.

I got a free sleep mask from working an international flight (if I’m being real) so I threw it in my bag. Soon after I needed to sleep during the day to work a night flight and the light coming through the blinds was killing me! I put the sleep mask on and literally have used one ever since. I upgraded to this silk one from Amazon which I highly recommend! It’s adjustable so it doesn’t crease your hair while you sleep but it stays put even when you move and the slight pressure of having something over my eyes helps me feel relaxed and ready to fall asleep. I’ve gifted this sleep mask to a few of my friend’s and they all swear by it now!

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1. Silk Sleep Mask 

9. A small but handy toiletry case.

I LOVE THIS TOILETRY CASE! It’s not too big to fit into my carry-on but it still holds all of the items I need to have with me. The patterns are super cute and always being updated. The pockets are so helpful to keep everything organized and though you might be skeptical given the $10 price tag I can assure you it’s great quality. I only had to replace mine because I stupidly left a bottle of shampoo with a broken lid in it and it exploded everywhere (maybe could have washed it out but at $10 I just replaced it altogether).

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1. Hanging Toiletry Bag

10. A shoe bag.

I am actually not a germaphobe by nature but I don’t need to tell you that the floors of an airport/airplane have seen some of the grossest things out there! I do my best to combat the unavoidably disgusting by using this set of travel bags for my shoes. When I first ordered this set almost 3 years ago the description was only for storing cloth diapers but they’ve since updated it to “pumping parts, swimsuits etc.” While I don’t use them for any of that I love them irrationally anyway! Not only are they great quality and machine washable, I can also keep shoe deodorizer in the zippered pockets… anyone who wears the same shoes every day should get some of this spray, it’s a lifesaver.

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1. Damero Wet Bag 2. Ubbcare Wet Bag 3. Natural Shoe Deodorizer

So there you have it, a real who’s who of products I’d never leave home without that I think you should probably have too!

Do you have any travel items that you swear by but didn’t make my list? Let me know in the comments below!

Kari