How to get to Pennsylvania on $3.25


Panorama of Wilkes-Barre, from the Library of Congress

Tomorrow morning at 7 am I will hit the road again. Well, not the road per se, just the rails and airways. I am heading out to Anthracite Country, for an academic conference in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. So for the next 3 days I will stop pretending to be a business manager, and focus on pretending to be a Professor. Don’t worry though, because it’s a personal trip and I will be traveling alone I will still find plenty of time to pretend to be a writer.

I submitted a paper proposal to this conference in the heady days following my last conference when I was full of energy, and desire to make that mid-life career change. Then I forgot about it until they informed me 6 weeks ago that my paper had been accepted for presentation. Since then I have been moonlighting, trying to pull together a cohesive critique of what is wrong with Corporate Governance regulations, besides, you know, that big corporations are like evil and stuff. The result is something that will most likely be good enough, but not something that I am really satisfied with. I just haven’t put in the time to really do the subject justice.

I am looking forward to another week of pretending to be, like, all educated and knowledgeable about business stuff, but when the conference is done I will definitely feel like a weight has been lifted. I’m not sure I will be doing the paper thing again for a while. It’s been a nice challenge, but I just don’t think I can keep up that level of effort writing about business, when I should focus on managing the business that my Dark Corporate Overlords have hired me to manage. Instead I will indulge my Ralph Phillips fantasies by being an adjunct professor at my most recent Alma Mater. My first class starts in June and I have a boatload of work to do to prepare for it. And then there’s always this blog…

War time anthracite drive - Wilkes-Barre, PA - Library of Congress

When I started writing this blawg last summer I didn’t know where it would lead me. After 246 posts and 29,000 visitors I am a bit amazed, and sometimes obsessed about what to make of it. As Mrs. 20 Prospect will tell you, I am incapable of doing anything half way. (Well, anything I enjoy). When I took an interest in Mountain Biking in the mid 90’s, I naturally had to start racing, which led me to road biking as a way to train, which led to joining a local racing club, which led to an interest in professional cycling, which led me to Belgium to see Paris-Roubaix in the spring of 2000, which led to more training to do a road race, which led to buying a newer and better race bike, which led Mrs. 20 Prospect to read me the riot act.

Then there was the time that I decided after 20 years to get back into playing soccer. I hadn’t played since I was a teenager, but that didn’t stop me from joining a local rec league team one fall, which led to joining a 38 and over indoor soccer league the following winter, which led to joining a full 11 on 11 amateur soccer team the following summer where I was playing with kids who were still in college. I survived that Ralph Phillips experience, and came away feeling like I had proven something to myself. What? I have absolutely no idea, perhaps that I never do anything half way.

So it is entirely understandable that I would finish my Master’s degree last spring full of optimism, and energy, and decide to become a professor. Of course, actually becoming one will take years of additional work to get a PhD., not to mention a hell of a lot of time and money. In the mean time, while I took a few years to catch my breath, I decided to start publishing papers and doing some adjunct teaching as a way to build that resume to help me get into a PhD program, which led me to Wilkes-Barre, PA.

So how am I getting there for $3.25? Well, I just used some frequent flier miles to get a plane ticket, and that is the price of the train to the airport. When I get there I will use the hotel courtesy shuttle, and walk to the conference. I have decided to try to spend as little on this trip as possible, and naturally, once I decide something I never do it half way.

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