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Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Oct 13, 2023

My fall travel season has started...


The travel season has begun. Fall is always the busy season but this year it’s all compressed into a short six weeks. Eleven cities. Thirty-two flights.

There was a time when I bragged about this much travel. I felt it made me some sort of super-hero. Now I keep it quiet. I throw away the luggage tags that display my airline status. They don’t scream “road warrior” to me anymore. They whisper “bad dad.”

Getting back into the swing of travel hasn’t been that difficult this fall. I know what to expect and what I’m likely to confront in the airport, hotels and on the 32 flights. I begin each travel day by saying to myself “be nice.” “Be polite.” Most people don’t travel as much as me, so be patient. This is stressful and unfamiliar to many of them. Be kind to the people who take long minutes to settle into their seat, rearranging their carry-on gear over and over again. I wonder, do they make such a fuss sitting down to watch TV? Ignore the ones wearing pajamas. Ignore the ones who are clearly told by airport security to remove all items from their clothing yet walk through security with a cell phone in their pocket and say, “Oh. I didn’t know.” Ignore them. Pray for them. Breathe deeply. Let it go.

I’ve learned to say “Oh, look! A baby!” in such a way that people truly think I’m happy to see a baby sitting nearby on the plane. Passengers look at me in disbelief. Which reminds me, pay whatever necessary for top quality noise-cancelling headphones. They’re worth every penny.

Last week in Salt Lake City I had a hotel room neighbor fall asleep with their TV on. I heard his TV and his snores through the wall. I called his room throughout the night to jolt him awake so he’d turn over. It was that same room where a wall panel fell on me while working at the desk.

I had an Uber driver in Fort Myers immediately say “no hablo ingles.” About twenty minutes into the ride, he took a phone call in perfect English. I paid $23 for one Stella Artois beer in a busy Marco Island resort. That caught my attention. I’m now in Monterey, California. It’s a spectacular day and I’m writing this on the hotel patio with a coffee. Everyone is enjoying the perfect weather, especially the homeless man talking to himself while urinating in a potted plant not far away and the guy dressed as a ninja with only his eyes showing, holding a real machete.

I don’t much like traveling. I like being there. However, there is no way to get someplace different without traveling. It’s the price I pay for the work I do and the vacations I enjoy. I used to suffer loudly during each trip, bemoaning the travel. Now, I look for the stories happening all around me. Like now, watching the machete ninja who’s just spotted the urinating homeless man wondering if I’m going to have to put down my coffee.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just Keepin It Real.