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Quick Desert Escape
Surprising family and squeezing in travel wherever I can
Two weeks ago, I capitalized on a last-minute work trip to surprise my dad for his 70th birthday (week), see my uncle from England, and hang out with my family for a couple special days in the desert.
My Uncle Jon, who I hadn’t seen for nearly three years, had planned to surprise my dad for his birthday for months. My mum and I knew about this scheme for him to travel from London, and I had ambitions to join in on the celebrations. However, because my parents are in Palm Desert, California for the winter, I knew a cross-country flight might not be too realistic given I’m going back to that exact area on February 1st for the annual boys golf trip. It would suck to miss my Uncle (he’d be gone by Feb 1st) but it was probably the most prudent play.
Jon was scheduled to be in Palm Desert from Sunday, January 16th through Sunday, January 23rd. When I truly thought I wasn’t going to join, I let both him and my mum know (I had never let on to my dad that it could be a possibility). Then, on Thursday, January 13th, my team at work confirmed an offsite meeting would happen, all day on Wednesday, January 19th, in Scottsdale, Arizona!
My dad’s birthday is on the 18th, so it wasn’t PERFECT, but it was good enough to surprise the whole family and get a visit with my Uncle. I booked my work travel one way form New York to Phoenix, then booked a rental car to drive the 4 hours across the desert from Phoenix to Palm Desert, and finally, scheduled a one-way flight back to NYC from Palm Springs on Saturday, January 22nd.
After an amazing team meeting in Scottsdale, I ripped across the state line in my rented Toyota Camry, battling the pending 9pm bedtime that casts a spell over all residents of Palm Valley Country Club.
I arrived at the gated community around 8:50pm, assuming the security guards would call the house asking for approval to let me in (and thus initiating the surprise). Instead, after giving my name and the address of the house, they let me right through with a parking pass for the evening. So I drove up the house, rang the doorbell and my dad answered confused and very happy to see me! The three of them were just chilling and watching a movie, so I enjoyed a cold beer and filled them in on my journey.
I was only there for about 65 hours, and I worked full days on the Thursday and Friday, but we were still able to enjoy some of the beautiful weather, good chats, and two fun dinner parties at friends of my parents. I also got a couple runs in, which was such a treat compared to the snowy and cold streets of New York.
On Saturday morning, before my 1pm flight, I went with my uncle and dad to the College of the Desert market to peruse some of the vendors and enjoy the sunshine. I picked up some golf balls and sunglasses for my upcoming golf outing.
Overall, I was so happy with how the trip worked out. My entire family had no clue I was arriving, and it’s so fun when somewhat tricky logistics actually go as planned.
While I could have stayed in the desert until my boys golf trip in early February, I wanted to get back to NYC, and also had to be in Boston for work on January 25th. So I flew back on the Saturday via Atlanta and arrived back on the Upper West Side around midnight. I never mind the travel, and it was a piece of cake compared to the 11 hour flight my Uncle had to take from LAX to LHR!
Anything for family, right?
Thanks for reading!