American Airways Road Warrior Challenge

I spend a lot of time flying. Mostly for work. OK often for work and often for pleasure! So when I read about the AA Road Warrior Challenge I couldn’t resist entering. I’m not really expecting to win, their big ask is creativity. I didn’t get very creative in my entry, I told the truth. Nevertheless, I think I’m a worthy winner – don’t you?  

My 500 word entry:

I believe, life shouldn’t be measured by time passed, but by number of moments. Real moments. Moments that take your breath away.

At 39 years of ago 3.5 years ago, I heard three terrifying words, I hope you never do – you have cancer.

Thus followed 3 major surgeries. A year of infusions, 6 months of chemotherapy. Baldness. Infertility. My best friends diagnosis a short 6 months on. Breast reconstruction. Five years of medication. Not fun.

My friends and family would tell you I’ve faced it all with amazing strength and resilience. Let me tell you how. I adopted the mantra ‘I’m not a victim, I’m a warrior’ (thanks Chrissie Hynde) and operated accordingly.

To be fair, I used many inspirational quotes to keep me going through my darkest times. Think “you only get one life so make it count”, “life is short, buy the plane ticket”, “treat every day like it’s your last” and my favorite “yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is the present, treat it like a gift’. Permission to travel, travel travel!

Once chemotherapy was over I decided it was time to up the ante. Project, farewell Sydney, hello NYC was born. I rallied support from my colleagues and began the business of marketing my skills to our US counterparts. My Road Warrior in full swing, I set off 2 months after finishing treatment, NYC baby (via Vail for good measure)!

My bestie (and BC sister) and I were a team in NY for the first year. We got an apartment on the UWS and a new mantra ‘experiences are more important than things’ and booked our travel accordingly. AA was on speed dial as we took in New Orleans, Miami, the Catskills, Maine, the Hamptons, Aspen (twice), Bali, Australia, Utah, the London Olympics and Jamaica.

There were work trips too – I flew from LGA -> ORD and back to LGA over 15 times that year, and to Vegas and SFO to boot.

Then sadly my besties prognosis took a turn for the worse. She decided to return home. As she said goodbye she made her expectations clear. You are a warrior Yvette. And don’t forget experiences are more important than things.

I became even more motivated to live into our mantra. While she couldn’t be with me I blogged (lifeontheotherside.tumblr) my way through my travels and shared my stories through instagram (yvetteeeeemm), facebook, emails, texts and calls. My road warrior pace accelerated. The next twelve months AA got even more of a work out as I visited Austin, Turks & Caicos, Hawaii, Montreal, Vancouver, the Bahamas, Sydney (again). And took road-trips to Washington, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Syracuse (for a half ironman no less) and the Niagara Falls.

Then the worst.

When I spoke at Nicole’s funeral in Dec 2013 I started with the same quote as I did here. Because when measured in moments, she lived a very long life indeed.

RIP my road warrior partner in crime. I’m doing this for us both.

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One thought on “American Airways Road Warrior Challenge

  1. Yes, you deserve to win! As with everything you write, this is an amazing summary of your life over the past 4 years. What a lovely, and fitting, tribute to Nicole it is too. I have my fingers crossed for you. And, I continue to be in awe of your spirit and your enthusiasm for life and all of the adventures that come with it, whether good or bad. You are my inspiration, dear Yvette. Thanks for sharing.

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