Tuesday, September 14, 2010

San Juan

As one of my All You Can Jet adventures, I jet to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and trek on two buses to the deserted and wild PiƱones Beach.

When I reach the beach, a dog greets me and follows me. I expect it to stop soon and go back to its master.

After a while, I realize it has no leash. It has no collar. It has no master.

Like me, she's alone.

At first, I'm unsure whether I like her: I think she might bite me. I think she wants my food. Then I think she wants to chew my Hollister shoes. Finally, I think she just wants a friend.

We do have a few things in common.

She's a wild dog. I'm a wild boy.

She's a beach dog. I'm a beach dude.

She's got naturally multi-colored hair. I do too.

She leads and follows me. When I walk, she walks. When I stop, she stops. When I swim, she swims.

When I emerge from the surf, she dances and barks. When I lie in the sand, she jumps on me and freaks me out. When I throw her a stick or an object to fetch, she runs after it, grips it with her teeth and lets it be. Like I do.

She chases birds and urchins and beautiful things she can't catch. Like I do.

I name her Playa. If I were a dog, I'd live free on the beach like she does.

As we walk, we encounter a few other people and other dogs on the beach. Surely she can find a companion more interesting than I am. And one who loves dogs more than I do.

But she stays with me. Like me, she doesn't want to stay in one place: she wants to run around the beach and be free.

I feel safe without her. I feel safer with her. She watches out for me. For the first time in my life, I understand why dogs are man's best friend.

We walk together on the beach for five miles. The sun begins to set, and we reach the end of the beach. I look back, and I see only palm trees and her footsteps and mine in the sand.

Starving, she starts to forage for food. Even though I don't know when or if a bus will come for me, I give her my food. I feed her Terra Blues, the official snack of JetBlue, and a Chocolate Chipper.

She waits for the bus with me. I tell her what a good dog she is.

When the bus comes and I have to go home, she is Elliot, and I am E.T.

As I jet from San Juan to New York, I tear up thinking of my perfect dog and our perfect day on a perfect beach.

Adios Playa! Adios amiga!

You think she's a dog. I think she's God.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


A week later, I'm getting over her. I'm trying to think less about her. I'm resisting the temptation to call her.

I fall asleep alone on my faux leather IKEA sofa one night and wake up early to find a press release in my Gmail: JetBlue is offering its All You Can Jet Pass for the second time.

With an All You Can Jet Pass, for 30 days after Labor Day, I can fly on JetBlue anywhere they go for $499 or $699.

JetBlue doesn't fly. JetBlue jets.

How can I justify jetting for 30 days? September in New York is ideal. For a gigless guy, September is another month of summer vacation.

But when in my life will I ever get another chance to jet anywhere I want?

It's now or never.

If she loved me, I'd be serious and search for a real job.

No gig. No girl. No reason not to jet.

Two hours after JetBlue releases its press release, I buy my $499 All You Can Jet Pass. I can jet all I can every day but Friday and Sunday for 30 days.

For the next two days, I pack my All You Can Jet itinerary with as many flights as I can.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


For her. For setting me free. For letting me jet.

"I love you," I tell her.

I put my arm around her. We walk and watch the sunset on the Hudson River on an August Sunday evening. 

We meet five years ago when she moves to New York City to pursue her public relations career. I'm in advertising at the time.

Like PR and advertising, she and I are complements. She's female. I'm male. She's brown. I'm blond. She's dark. I'm light. She's curvy. I'm skinny. She cooks. I clean. She spends. I save. She's early. I'm late. She's loud. I'm quiet. She talks. I listen. 

Now, five years after we meet, she's a teacher. I'm an entrepreneur. She spends the school year in New York and the summer elsewhere. I spend the winter elsewhere and the summer in New York.

Sometimes we're in the same place at the same time.

Knowing she's moving from New York for good soon, I confess my long-time interest in her a few weeks ago.

We sit next to each other at church.

"What are you doing after?" she asks me and then tells me I'm coming over to her apartment for dinner.

"So you can move and I can move on . . . " I tell her I've been interested in her for years. After midnight on her IKEA couch, it just comes out.

The next day, we hold hands. The day after that, we kiss.

After five years of moving slowly, everything moves quickly.

Ever since, I think about how to make more money to support our family and what to name our kids.

I go to the Mormon temple and pray about whether to tell her I want to be with her forever. I'd give up my addresses in New York City, Salt Lake City and San Diego to live with her in Dallas. She's the only one who's not in my family whom I want to be with for eternity.

I tell her everything I'm feeling.

It's better to say too much than never to say what you need to say.

"What do you want me to say?" she asks me.

"I care about you," she admits and then tells me she has no interest in anything other than friendship with me.

Now I'm free.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


A 30-something Mormon virgin entrepreneur buys an All You Can Jet Pass;
takes 20 JetBlue flights in 30 days;
visits 12 cities in 3 countries;
sleeps in airports and cars, on couches and streets;
eats only one real meal a day in each city's best hole-in-the-wall;
runs out of water;
wins a lottery;
meets a comedy legend, a rock star and a major league cheerleading squad;
sees a prophet of God;
parties in his underwear in public;
hooks up with and breaks up with his dream girl;
falls in love with a dog;
forgives the past and finds a future.

Part travel guide. Part self-help book. Part adventure story.