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I am a very fortunate person. This year has been pretty incredible for me – in June I left my stable day job to become a full-time blogger and since then the site has more than doubled and there are a lot of really great things in the works. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not aware of how lucky I am to be pursuing and living my dream.
That being said, I know that my experience is not typical and I really appreciate the support of those around me. One of the most positive forces in my life has been my Grandmother, who has been one of my biggest cheerleaders for as long as I can remember. While she doesn’t use the internet or even understand what a blog is, she knows I’m happy and is completely supportive of my life – as unconventional as it may be.
I recently asked Grandma what she would want if she could have anything – she’s admittedly not a materialistic person so I knew it wasn’t going to be a new car or house. She told me that she’d love to be able to travel to Santa Barbara to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins, but that amount of air travel would be too brutal to do alone. For an 89 year old woman she’s as sharp as a whip, but physically struggles to walk unaided, so taking a solo cross-country trip isn’t in her cards anymore.
However, it immediately struck me that I should take her to California. I have more miles than I can use and as a healthy 28 year old, 6’7″ man, I can help her through the multiple travel obstacles I dodge on a near daily basis.
So, I ended up using 50,000 US Airways miles for her to fly roundtrip in first class. I would accompany her on the outbound (using 25,000 Continental miles for a one-way award) and my aunt would fly her back in a couple weeks. I ended up using 25,000 Continental miles for my Aunt’s return ticket and I used 25,000 Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Continental for a United business class ticket from LAX back to JFK.
I’m actually typing this post while we relax in the Charlotte US Airways lounge (thanks to my Amex Platinum card) and so far the day has been flawless. While it was mildly disturbing to watch her get patted down by the TSA while in a wheelchair, the agents were super friendly and she took it in stride. We’ve had a lot of quality time and I’m hoping for an on-time, smooth flight to LAX.
So basically, I’m thankful that I have an amazing family and that I’m able to use my miles to help make my Grandma’s dream come true – and she doesn’t even feel guilty knowing that I used miles and didn’t break the bank!
I’ll report back with tips with traveling with someone who has mobility challenges. I hope you all have safe travel weeks whether you are visiting family or staying put this Thanksgiving!