As I reflect on today, there are many highlights. But best, is seeing the birth of gentoliday. Before I explain that, I need to catch up on events. Here’s a quick recap.

Virgin at Manchester Airport

I need a little holiday travel rant.

Virgin, you give Flying Club members 3 days check-in online. But, you hide it away. Why does the prominent check-in link on your website only allow 24-hour check-in, even when you are logged into Flying Club? Why does your tech support take even longer than me to respond? After clicking every link in sight, I found the 72-hour check-in link. Piss-poor website design.

Virgin, why do you offer advance check-in at all? We spend time finding the right check-in links. Eventually, we manage to print our own boarding pass. Then, you make us queue in the check-in lines for bag drop! And, you reprint the boarding pass anyway. Piss-poor pre-flight management.

Virgin, here’s a money-making opportunity for you. Offer a pre-flight cabin baggage check. I’d pay to avoid the standing around while security repack my toothpaste. Seasoned travellers know these things. But infrequent flyers, like me, always forget something. A pre-security check would take some of the stress out of flying. Piss-poor traveller service planning.

OK, I know that third one was my fault. And, the Virgin flight and cabin service were excellent. As was, my preselected diet choice of “Asian vegetarian meal”. In Virgin’s dietary requirements, that special diet is described as “A religious dietary vegetarian meal with a spicy influence. The meal will not contain fish or seafood”. Fortunately, my meal didn’t pray to imaginary friends, or tell me I would suffer for eternity if I failed to do the same. It wasn’t religious, just delicious. With olives! 😀

A Warm Welcome in Raleigh

The flight to Raleigh was just a flight. Well, two actually. But, it was unremarkable. That’s exactly what I want – an uneventful flight. Uber made getting a cab from RDU to our Airbnb destination more difficult. But Lyft came to the rescue. It’s a pity Lyft aren’t in the UK yet. So, I’ll publish some tips for avoiding Uber failings soon. For now, I should stay positive. Our driver, Earl, gave us a warm welcome to Raleigh. But, we were unprepared for the furnace heat of welcome to our new, temporary, home.

Elegant, Beautiful, Welcoming, and more. Our host, Karen came round to make sure we settled in OK. Oh yes! This is a place to settle easily.

Keith's Raleigh Home photo

Raleigh – there’s no place like (someone elses) home


I’ll write more about the beautiful city of Raleigh another time.

Birth of Gentoliday

This trip is a great opportunity for me to travel round a country I’ve yearned for since boyhood. But, it’s more than that.

Planning the trip was another great opportunity to get to know my Travel Companion better. As we discussed ideas together, we sparked new experiences for both of us. I learned lots from an experienced traveller who also has a great attitude to life. I taught some stuff about Internet use, and opportunities from Airbnb. Together, we found that sharing other people’s homes was a better experience than stifling hotels.

A huge part of this trip, for me, is to relax. And, to lay foundations for the next phase of my life. Meaningful discussions about important facets of life are vital to that process. And, I’m getting that in spades. I’ll share my progress as I apply new ideas, in the business section of my blog.

Anyway, back to the trip. Besides earnest conversation and philosophy, we two gentlemen travellers share an eclectic love of music. Chromebook speakers, like any laptop or notebook, are not up to the job. But, I got my sound system working last night. It’s an old roadies technical trick of positively seating the jack in the mic slot. In layman’s terms – plug the speaker in properly! 😳

So, we had a brilliant night, taking turns to choose the next track for our playlist. Now, we have that playlist, as a lasting memory of a fantastic trip. As TC says, we can share our holiday playlists with friends. Photographs make great holiday memories. But, we can also share our audio memories forever.

With more wise words, TC remarked that great music nights like this were only possible because we had a real home for our stay. In hotels, we’d be in separate rooms. And, with headphones to avoid annoying other guests.

It’s a very special type of holiday. So, my brain automatically starts to make up words. And, as ever, those words have already been discovered. Apparently, boycation is a boy-free time for girls. Whereas, mancation is a manly vacation with fishing. Around here, it probably includes culling dangerous beasts (rabbits?) with sub-machine guns. But, where’s this ‘vacation’ stuff coming from? I’m already annoying TC, by loudly reading route as rowt. We’re on holiday, not vacation! Actually, two gentlemen on holiday. So, it’s a Gentoliday.

Let’s drink to many more gentolidays. 😀

Chill from the West?

Raleigh Charlotte Snow Forecast image

Not when, how much!

But hark, what is this? Kansas City (or KC as I now call it), under snow! Storm Helena threatening traffic chaos in North Carolina.

How will we get to Charlotte on Saturday? What will we do if we are stranded in snow?

More about the occasional perils of winter gentolidays soon.

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