Some complications always accompany travel, but on one trip last month, Peter faced more than his share, as he describes in this post:
As you may have noticed from glancing at our travel schedule, the Fletcher admissions staff tends to cover a lot of ground this time of year. Throughout the fall, we hold information sessions at colleges and universities across the country or represent our programs at APSIA, Idealist.org, or World MBA graduate school fairs in the U.S. and abroad.
While we travel to a variety of special destinations–from Nairobi to Kalamazoo–and meet a lot of interesting prospective students, I’ve found that the travel experiences themselves are mostly uneventful. With a few exceptions, flights are usually pretty much on schedule, there are rarely any rental car or hotel issues to deal with, materials arrive at the correct locations, and the schedule of the week generally goes off without a hitch. My recent trip to California was a notable exception.
Monday, October 19th: Excerpts from a not-so-typical day on the road…
7:20 AM (EST). Depart Boston’s Logan International Airport.
10:00 AM (MST). Change planes in Denver. I have several voicemail messages informing me that: 1) devastating wildfires are spreading to the outskirts of San Diego, which happens to be my first stop on this trip, and 2) The APSIA fair held at UC, San Diego later that evening has been canceled and the campus closed.
12:45 PM (PST). Arrive in San Diego—flying directly over a line of fires that is as spectacular as it is terrifying. After meeting up with colleagues from two of our peer schools in the lobby of our hotel—which was growing increasingly crowded with evacuees and their dogs, cats, birds, snakes, etc.–we discover that our visit to Pepperdine on Tuesday has also been canceled due to wildfires near Malibu.
3:30 PM (PST). After discussing the possibility of future road closures between San Diego and Los Angeles (our next stop on the trip), we cancel our hotel reservations in San Diego, make new ones in LA, and head up I-5 in our rental car. It is a long and somewhat surreal drive to LA, with a smoky haze obscuring the sun, ash floating down like tiny grey snowflakes (my only point of reference, being a Northeasterner), and cars filled with people, pets, and belongings evacuating their homes and blending in with the usual California rush hour traffic. Wildfires of this nature are not something to which I had previous exposure, and I have to admire how everyone appears to be able to take this terrible disaster in stride—packing up whatever they can fit in their car and heading out to Qualcomm Stadium, hotels, or the homes of friends and relatives while they wait for the word on the firefighters’ progress.
8:30 PM (PST). We arrive at our hotel in Los Angeles–after traveling 120 miles in 5 hours—in dire need of some fresh air and some good Mexican food. I have time to check e-mail briefly and note that tomorrow evening’s APSIA fair at UCLA is still on!
While the rest of the week—including the UCLA event, an APSIA fair at UC-Berkeley, an information session at Stanford, and a reception for prospective students and Bay Area alumni—went smoothly from an admissions perspective, this was not a trip that I will soon forget. I hope that those of you in California are safe and I look forward to an uneventful visit to California next year!
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