87 Flights in 7 Months

January 6, 2015

87 flights. 75 domestic and 12 international. 87,814 miles. 212 hours. That’s how much I’ve flown in the past 7+ months – which amounts to about 8.8 days flying, or going around the earth 3.5 times. Those 87 flights have taken me to over 30 different cities in 9 different countries.  
As many may know, or perhaps have gathered from my Instagram or Facebook postings these past 7 months, I have been working at the MAF airport here for American Eagle Airlines (now “Envoy,” technically, which is a ground handler for American Airlines). One of the major benefits of this job is the flight benefits I get on American Airlines. Basically, I get to fly standby on any American Airlines flight for free in coach (and pretty discounted in first or business class, if it’s available). So the majority of those 87 flights have not cost me a single penny – which is nice. Below is a map of all the flights I’ve taken:

I really enjoy taking advantage of my ability to fly anywhere on a whim. So far I’ve gone hiking in Colorado, Oregon, Canada (Banff National Park – the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life, honestly), visited some of the largest and most iconic cathedrals in the world in NYC, DC, Vatican City (Rome), Paris, etc, and had pasta and wine in Rome and Venice, beignets and gumbo in New Orleans, crépes and creme de brulé in Paris, beer and shepherds pie in Edinburgh, and chocolate from Belgium and Switzerland. I’ve flown to Philly just to have a lunch meeting with a friend’s friend, met up with my sister for 8 hours in NYC, and flown all the way to the Netherlands to spend an afternoon with an old college friend. I’ve seen the Pope, wandered through several castles, hiked with a Canadian and Brit through the Rockies, and maxed out a rental car on the autobahn.

I pretty much fly 3-4 times a month – each trip usually about 2-4 days, with some quick day trips here and there when I have the time. I travel light, literally only bringing a backpack with the essentials (yes, even internationally). I try to travel as cheap as possible too, so I do everything by public transit (with the exception of renting a car when I go hiking some places), I’ve slept in dozens of airports, and meet up with friends whenever I’m able. Along the way, I’ve met some interesting people, gained quite a few exciting stories and memories, and had my share of close calls. But as a whole, I’ve really enjoyed the traveling I’ve been able to do in such a short time.

I’ve been posting some photos from all of my trips on my Instagram account (which you can follow here: jcuster77), but I finally figured that maybe I should start blogging a bit about my traveling experience (especially since several people have suggested the idea to me recently). I’m not exactly sure what these posts will entail, but I’ve got a couple of rough ideas:

  • A list of my favorite churches and cathedrals I’ve visited so far, with photos. One of my main traditions when I fly to a new place is to visit at least one church in the city or area. I always spend time praying in them, but I also spend time just admiring the beauty of the church and worship in silence. I’d love to share some of my favorites with you.
  • A couple posts on some of my favorite places I’ve been, perhaps with photos and suggestions of what I enjoyed best while there.
  • A post or two on how I’ve been able to save money and travel fairly cheaply around the world. Perhaps also some general travel tips I’ve picked up as I’ve gone – both for domestic travel, and international travel.

  • A post for those who want to glean from what I’ve learned about non-revving (the term for “non-revenue” standby flying that I do), and making it home when your flights are all full. I’ve learned a lot about how to re-route myself through different cities to make it home when others get stuck.
  • And finally perhaps some theological or practical reflections on what I’ve learned and experienced as I’ve travelled to different cultures and countries. 
I’m starting school again this semester, so I can’t guarantee how consistently I’ll be posting, and I’ll probably have to travel a little less (but just a little). But I’ll do my best to share as much as I can here.
I’d also love to hear any suggestions on places I should visit next. Where should I go?

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  • Reply William January 6, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Come visit me in the San Francisco Bay Area! Fly into OAK or SFO.

  • Reply Jason Custer January 7, 2015 at 8:24 am

    WIll do! I've been meaning to get out to SFO sometime.

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