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For your convenience, I have a short bio for those who are only mildly interested in me and a incredibly long, rambling bio for those of you who have already found the end of the internet or just really love reading bios.
My name is Travis and I’m obsessed with collecting frequent flyer miles so that I can travel for free. I want to help you do the same.
My only other skill is fantasy football. When I was little, the only thing I liked about flying was getting an extra pack of peanuts. My two favorite countries are Uruguay and Slovenia. I’ve never been to either.
My life peaked when I was born. If this seems like an incredibly sad, depressed statement, consider that only one human on this planet can ever claim to be the first baby born in the new maternity wing of Geisinger Medical Center, surely the nicest hospital in the tiny hamlet of Danville and quite possibly in all of north-central Pennsylvania!
Along with this monumental achievements came all the glory bestowed upon my title; a free first haircut from the local barber, a free pack of diapers from the pharmacy, even my own free Bible. I basked in this glow for 42 minutes. Then my twin sister was born.
My mom had been assured she was only to have one child, which was obviously wrong. Being two months premature, we weighed in at 3.3 and 3.4 pounds. Since then, I’ve made it my mission to never be called skinny again.
Growing up, we often traveled to visit my grandparents in Florida (like grandparents live anywhere else). I loved my grandparents, I loved manatees, and I especially loved the Mickey Mouse-eared ice creams bars.
Everything about Florida was perfect, except for our method of transportation. I hated flying.
The staleness of the airplane air, the popping of my ears, the inevitable throwing up that only sometimes made it in the paper bag.
There was exactly one silver lining to a flight; the peanuts. I’d get motion sick if I ate anything 24 hours or less before I flew, and I usually felt too nauseous after the flight to eat anything for another day or so.
But when they handed out those peanuts, I couldn’t resist. They were too good. I’d have called myself a masochist if I had known that word back then.
I’d willingly eat the peanuts, knowing they’d make me sick. And I wouldn’t stop there. I’d ask for an extra pack. Then another. And then another. At some point, it stopped being about the taste.
Instead, I loved feeling that I had pulled one over on the airlines, that I was paying the same amount as everyone else, but that I was being treated special. I was getting EXTRA PACKS OF PEANUTS FOR FREE! Take that airlines!
But even the peanuts weren’t enough to completely quell my hatred of flying, and as I got older, I chose to drive the 1,000 miles to visit my grandparents rather than hop on a flight.
When I was forced to fly (someone reminded me you couldn’t yet drive to Europe) I committed the ultimate sin of not even collecting frequent flyer miles on those flights, completely oblivious to what an idiot I was being.
Not only was I not collecting miles while I was flying, but up until my 28th birthday, I had never opened a single credit card! Not one.
During these “lost years”, where I was not earning any frequent flyer miles in any manner, I graduated from a small liberal arts college with a degree in history and education, began teaching high school students who were only 3 years younger than me and definitely as mature, and bought a house.
The American dream!
I traveled when I could, heading off to Europe or Las Vegas during spring breaks and puttering around the States during summers. And right when I was establishing some real stability in my life, I decided to up and move, taking positions as a graduate assistant at both Cornell University and Ithaca College while earning a master’s in sports management ($30,000 later, I better be good at fantasy football!).
Many people called me crazy for leaving a good job in the middle of a recession, but what else is new.
After finishing grad school and taking a job in Switzerland for four months in 2009, I was afflicted full-on with the travel bug. That, combined with a little Dramamine and a whole lot of “manning up”, was enough for me to overcome my disdain for flying, and after I learned I could earn a whole lot of free travel through credit card bonuses, I became a full-on “miles junkie”.
Two of my favorite things, finding a good deal and travel, had been combined to form one incredible passion. Now, I consider a 7 hour flight a short hop and spend way too much time deciding which of my 10 credit cards get me the most miles when buying a 79 cent loaf of bread.
When I’m not busy trying to get students to understand the difference between the words “six” and “sex” as an English teacher in Japan, I’ve been able to travel to
18 22 countries and had some wonderful experiences such as Oktoberfest in Munich, New Year’s Eve in Sydney, New York, and Paris, scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and eating a cricket in Thailand.
Ever enthusiastic, I decided to share my new passion with my unwitting and unsuspecting family and friends. Some have bought in and been reaping the rewards of free travel all over the globe.
Others have politely pretended to listen, nodded their heads a lot, and made a dash to get away as soon as I paused to take a breath. Most of them have spent weekends in their suburban homes watching DVR’ed sitcoms.
Growing tired of writing the same instructions in email after email, but overjoyed when my advice was used to help others travel to places they only ever dreamed of, I decided that starting a blog would allow me to both write things once and also cast a wider net.
I would not only be able to help a much wider audience but also do it more effectively.
And thus, Extra Pack of Peanuts was born.
Now, I want you to realize that free travel is not a pipe dream, but a very attainable reality. I’ve done it, I’ve helped many others do it, and I want to help you do it.
Indulge yourself in the blog and never, ever be afraid to ask questions, either by commenting on posts, sending me an email, or connecting with me through Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube. Before no time, you’ll be making your travel dreams a reality!
And if you’ve made it this far and not yet signed up for my newsletter, what are you thinking? You obviously love me, so why not get me in your inbox once or twice a week!
Happy (free) Travels,