Commuting Long-Distance By Plane: 'I Profile TSA Agents'

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The year 2010 was a good one for Michele Nadeem. She married the man of her dreams. They bought the home of her dreams. Then she got the job of her dreams. There was only one problem. The new home and husband were in Boston. The new job was in Florida. There was also a solution: commuting–by plane.

Nadeem, who was hired by Royal Caribbean Cruises last June and is now the Vice President for Global Communication, commutes to Florida for work and maintains a home in her native Boston. She also travels constantly for the cruise line. Her schedule means she can be on a plane two or three times a week. It can be exhausting, it can be costly, but it's worth it, Nadeem told AOL Travel News.

"It's 2011, we both have demanding careers. It's not that hard,'' Nadeem said. "We don't let a week go by without seeing each other."

Her husband Brian Baker, a career military man who ran the ROTC program at MIT and is now the New England director for the Federal Food and Drug Administration, supports Nadeem's travels. He went as far to say that their lives prove you can "have it all."

"It's exhilarating to have success in one's own career and a sizzling relationship with your soul mate, simultaneously,'' Baker said.

They are not alone. There are other modern-day road warriors who refuse to be daunted by long-distance and commute for hours by plane or train for their jobs. Most come up with systems for security at the airport, or packing lightly, or picking the right TSA agent to make their lengthy commutes manageable. Some actually relish the downtime a long commute gives them and have become pros at navigating the transportation system.

Commercial fisherwoman Jennifer Foley-Trabka, who works for Trident Seafoods, travels from her home in Naugatuck, CT to Seattle four times a year to spend weeks out on the open sea aboard a factory trawler fishing for pollock, cod and sole. The worst part of her commute is packing.

"It's trains, planes, and fishing boats for me. The worst part is trying to get all of the stuff in my sea bag down to fifty pounds. It's not easy,'' Foley-Trabka said. "The airport for me was more exhausting than fishing."

She's now a pro, and the 35-year-old packs up her fiancé , Stoney Dalton, before he commutes from their home in Connecticut to Seattle and then out to sea for the same company.

"We both love our jobs and living in Connecticut. It just works for us,'' she said. "Commuting was the only way."

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Cathy Hobbs

For Cathy Hobbs the long train ride she took back and forth from Stamford, Conn. to Manhattan, New York for her job as a television anchor for WPIX provided valuable time for her to study interior design and plan the launch for the business she was hoping to create. She would converse with sources, draw sketches, and plan a design and lifestyle firm of her own – which she could not do while driving, especially in New York where cell phone use is illegal while driving.

"I lived in Stamford to save money so I could buy an apartment in New York. At first I dreaded the commute. The bus to the train station, the wait for the train, the potential delays,'' Hobbs, a new mom, said. "Now I look back on that as time I had to myself. Time to process the day, time to plan my other ventures. I came up with ways to maximize my time on that train."

Hobbs did just that with her company, which had a successful launch in New York City and has since expanded nationwide. She has also moved closer to her TV job because she and her husband saved for a loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

"I actually miss the commute sometimes because it was quiet time," Hobbs said.

Peterben Petras flies so often for his sales job, he feels like the George Clooney character Ryan Bingham in the movie Up In the Air.

The salesman is based in Boston but declined to name his company because of his candid appraisal of the TSA. "How do I make it work? I profile TSA agents,'' he said.

"There are people that should be baggers at the supermarket rather than homeland security federal agents. I can spot the slow lines from the first checkpoint."

Petras has long ended the practice of trying to push his luck at the airport. He is also grateful that he can upgrade to first class because of the miles he has accumulated with his frequent jet setting. "I just suck it up and get there early."



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