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In August, I took my Dad on a father/son trip to Egypt and Jordan, two countries neither of us had been to. The last time we had traveled internationally as a duo was in 2011 on a mileage run — in coach! — from New York (JFK) to Rome (FCO), Istanbul (IST) and Amsterdam (AMS). My how things have changed! This time we flew in business on Egypt Air from New York to Cairo (CAI), then to Amman (AMM) before I continued to Botswana to meet a friend for a safari, flying in first class on an Emirates 777. I sent my Dad home from Amman through Doha (DOH) while his last leg took him home to Philadelphia (PHL) aboard Qatar Airways’ A350. We explored Cairo, Amman, Petra and Wadi Rum so stay tuned for those reviews. And while I was able to visit some wonders of the world, my favorite part of the trip was my unfettered access to my dad. After he left, I sat in the Amman airport writing this list of why I love traveling with him so much.
1) It’s fun to see what I’ll be like in 30 years.
While we are starkly different in many ways, at the core we are the same person. In fact, I’m named after him and he was the third son of three boys and a girl — as is the case with me. He was the frequent traveler when I was a kid — I often call him The Original Points Guy — and he taught me how to use points and handle business travel with class. Even though I’m taking the lead with the reservations these days, it’s fun to see him always keeping his cool and notice his fun quirks, like always falling asleep before takeoff and in the lounge.
2) He makes waiting in lines so much more fun.
We got hit with a brutal TSA line at JFK — sadly, Egypt Air doesn’t participate in PreCheck! — but hanging with him during the line made it fun, whereas I’d normally be mean-tweeting the TSA (okay, I did once) and mad about every minute in line being one less minute we’d spend in the lounge. But with my Dad there, we were both so excited and made the best of it.
3) He’s a savage wingman.
Before flying Egypt Air — a dry airline — we wanted to buy cans of beer from an airport bar since we didn’t have enough time to buy anything in the duty free shop thanks to the long TSA line. The battle axe bartender rebuffed my request, but my old man charmed her with his toothy smile and Dad humor — lo and behold, we soon had four brewskis to go, which certainly helped dull the dull experience of flying on EgyptAir! We even met TPG reader Mo in Cairo, who took us to Zööba, an amazing restaurant in the city that I highly recommend.
4) He makes me realize how hypercritical I can be.
I probably would have torn EgyptAir apart for having a dated product and flight attendants less engaged than US Airways agents during the merger with AA, but he was blown away by the legroom and it was comfortable enough. So instead of being a full-blown snob, it made me realize that this trip was more about the destination and less about the journey — something us plane snobs can sometimes lose sight of.
5) He helps me hone my Dad jokes.
Seriously, his jokes are epic and they even translate internationally — well, most of the time. Our tour guide joked with us about drinking camels’ milk and my Dad ran with that for the two days we were in Cairo. Don’t worry, I’m not rude and still laugh at them — well, some of them…
6) Role reversal is fun!
He sacrificed so much for us growing up — traveling a ton, missing ball games and birthday parties — but did it all to put us through college. Now, its awesome to be able to pay him back in a way that’s meaningful since he would never accept cash from me and that would be uncouth.
7) It was healing for me to be with my Dad — exploring the world and tearing down short-sided mindsets.
We left shortly after the tragedy in Charlottesville and after the terror incidents in Europe. The world can feel like it’s out of control and upside-down, but what you really need to focus on is what you control — spending time with those you love and those who love you. We both were a little uneasy about visiting Cairo since it’s so hard to get a good read on a situation when you only hear about it through the media.
8) He’s an amazing photographer.
Look at this!
9) He’s the least needy person I know!
He hates crowds like me and if a tour is hot or boring, he’s always down to go back to the hotel and get in some downtime or take a lazy afternoon nap.
10) He’s a great decoy for me because I sometimes tire of tour guides.
And he’s always interested in what they’re saying and has an arsenal of questions ready!
11) He’s a great seat mate.
Dad sleeps most of the time and wants to talk only when you want to.
12) He keeps me on my toes regarding trip reports.
I caught him filming a video report of his bubble room at Wadi Rum — he’s a natural!!!
13) Surprising him with his first helicopter ride was more of a treat for me than for him.
As a New Yorker, it was so cool for him to see his city from above for the first time.
14) He’s 6’3″ and mean looking — so no one messes with us!
No, that’s not my body guard leaving the helicopter — that’s my Dad!
15) He goes along with whatever knucklehead plans I have…
…like crawling through a tunnel under the pyramids — and never complains.
16) He reminds me of Joe Biden and Conan O’Brien.
And that’s an awesome mix.
17) He is a constant reminder of the type of man I want to be.
And I value every single second I’m in his presence.
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