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Trying too hard

We often come across bargains such as discount vouchers, buy two get one free, or invitations to spend what seems like very little money to get a lot of benefits. Such was my sister's invitation to go to Maui recently.

Her travel agent friend had hotel vouchers that discounted 55 to 80% off a five star resort. It was very tempting. She could even arrange horseback riding to the volcanic crater and other exotic outdoor adventures.

In the process of trying to figure out how to get there, I discovered that it would take me two days to fly there and two days to get back. No matter what time of day I left Maui, I would only get to the east coast of the US the next day. No matter what time I left the east coast, I would only get to London the day after. Four days of flying to spend a week in paradise - is it worth it?

It's worth it if I could only get my airmiles to work. But those seats are the first to go for such a popular destination as Maui. The direct flights from San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX) to Kahalui, Maui (OGG) on United Airlines are taken on all dates around the time I would be free. The next best thing is Continental Airlines, which does not fly direct to Maui.

I had to decide whether I would mind going alone. After all, my sister is a busy artist. She's not on holiday in Maui. Next I had to decide whether I could afford the time. Or rather, first I should have considered whether I could afford the time. It's in-between conferences, which means precious time to recuperate and write up my notes. Finally, I had to decide whether given the situation, it would be a real holiday or a working one.

On the way there, I could stop to see several friends. They are very flexible. My friends near LA would even drive to the airport to meet me for a drink and take me to my overnight hotel. My friends near San Francisco welcome the opportunity to see me.

In the end, I discovered that I cannot book even the most feasible ticket because I cannot confirm my routing to the US until it's too late. So I called my sister and told her that I decided to call it quits before I disappoint her further. No problem, she said. Such hotel vouchers will come up again.

Meanwhile, I learned an important lesson:
stop trying too hard
. Sometimes it's just not meant to be. Don't go against the flow.

3 September 2001

Frances on Maui, Oct 99