2013: Full of Unexpected Adventure

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When I started the year in the Ambassador Suite at the Park Hyatt DC (on a mistake rate of course!) I had no idea what this year held for me!

I knew I’d be trying out Singapore First, was planning a trip to South Africa, and since Jeanne and I would be both be going for US Airway’s Chairman, figured there would be quite a few mileage runs to the West Coast in my future. So when I look back on all the unexpected experiences I was blessed with (and not so blessed with) in one year, it seems surreal.

I went to places I had always hoped to go from childhood and places I never knew I wanted to go!

The year started quietly enough with only a few trips in the first quarter. I went up to New York for Jeanne’s bachelorette party, learning the importance of making sure your alarm goes off for an early morning flight. I spent 3 days in Singapore so I could experience 48 hours roundtrip in Singapore First on a award ticket, even getting to do an in-flight blind champagne tasting.

Singapore Air First Class First Time

Blind tasting Singapore Air First Dom Krug Charles Hiedesick

I made the most of my wine club status with a quick trip out to Freemark Abbey in Napa for their Sycamore Cabernet Release party. And on a last minute trip to meet up with my best friend out in Knoxville, TN, I unexpectedly went on a safari.

Circle G Ranch Zebra invasion

But in February things started to pick up — the $1000 business class sale to Easter Island popped up and I jumped on it! May found me happily wandering among the moaii, even happier since taking a bump to coach for one of the legs made my trip free.

Since South Africa wasn’t going to work out, so I took a “consolation” trip 🙂 to Asia in July on a Cathay Pacific First award ticket, checking out Pattaya, trying out a bunch of Bangkok Spas, and finally getting to see Victoria Peak in Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific First Class Krug Keri HeelsFirstTravel

View from Pacific Coffee The Peak HOng Kong

Things got hectic over the summer. My stupid/brilliant decision to go for status on 3 airlines meant a lot of travel to Alaska to earn enough miles on American in 3 months for my status challenge. This resulted in an unexpected night in Dallas (pre-Centurion lounge) and getting to hang out with Tiff for a day, as well as an excuse to go to Barrow, Alaska.

Barrow whale jaw Keri

Which coincided with a fire at my hotel the night before. (I can’t make this stuff up)

Pepe's Top of the World Hotel fire property of

Fortunately my next trip to Alaska with Jeanne, was less eventful. If you can call Jeanne’s first sight of a real moose uneventful.

Jeanne Alaska Moose

We followed up with a roadtrip to the “Sweetest Place on Earth” in September, including eating at a fine dining restaurant in the basement of a HoJo

October was the month of missed connections. We had intended to just fly to Omaha for the day thanks to a really great fare. Which wound up being a lot of fun, and even included a stop in Iowa! But the day trip turned into an overnight (with no luggage) in Chicago when we misconnected trying to get home.

A mileage run/wine tasting trip to Napa in San Francisco the next weekend, wound up being a bigger fail when we flew to Philly, missed our connection, were put up in a hotel, only to be flown back to DC the next morning to catch a flight out from there (in the last row of the plane).

A road trip out to the Shenandoah to meet my dad was much easier, and I had the joy of introducing him to one of my favorite restaurants and his first wine pairing and chef’s tasting menu!

Keri Dad One block west wine tasting

In November my long held dream of visiting Israel happened, thanks to the US Airways Triple PQM offer I was targeted for. I never thought I’d get to float in the Dead Sea or wander the streets of Jerusalem, but there I was!

Keri Heels First Travel floating in Dead Sea

King Solomon's Wall Jerusalem Israel Keri HeelsFirstTravel

That was a tough act to follow, but over Thanksgiving I packed in a mini-trip to Tampa in with visiting family and experienced the famous Columbia Restaurant whose salad I still dream about. I also discovered the Omni Amelia Island and what it means to be a GHA platinum, thanks to my mom jumping on a great deal!

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort ocean view balcony

Over Christmas I got to experience my first flight on JetBlue in a decade and return to a childhood favorite – the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Not to mention trying some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had

Southern Soul BBQ St Simons Pulled Pork Plate

Looking back I’m not sure how I crammed all that in, but it made for an exciting, enthralling year and I feel so blessed! (If you’re wondering how I manage to do all this travel and work a full-time job, here’s how.

I won’t even speculate where I’ll end up in 2014 other than the 3 trips to Europe booked during the sale and my reservation for the Conrad Koh Samui!

How did your 2013 turn out and what do you have on the radar for 2014?


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