From a young age, my parents encouraged me to see as much of the world as I possibly could. I remember going all over, from my first solo trip visiting grandparents in Atlanta to the first time I saw New York City, stayed at one of the world’s great hotels – which sent a cart full of ice cream to our room to make up for a minor snafu. In fact, I did not want to leave The Big Apple. At five years old, I declared to my parents: “The next time we come here, I’m gluing my butt to the seat so I can stay!". I loved it so much, I cried the entire flight home.
Then there were ski trips to Colorado and Utah where I fell in love with mountains – and the crisp winter air missing from my hometown. Trips to Europe (Italy, Spain, France) all spoiled me. As I grew, I travelled to visit my life-long girlfriends as well as college buddies, all over this wonderfully diverse country. All of my travel related memories have stuck with me. The love of travel, imbued in my being, led me to choose a career which would allow me to explore the world as often as I could. I've been so lucky since the job I adore actually has me continuing to travel a fair amount. Last month, Salt Lake City and, most recently, what became one of my very favorite places on the planet: Napa Valley, California.
Southwest Airlines made this last trip possible.
Actually, I've had a special relationship with Southwest Airlines for quite a while now.
It all started when I flew with them on my birthday about two years ago. No one particularly enjoys being on an airplane on their special day, but I chose to hop on a flight to Nashville with my Mom and Aunt the year I turned 24. We flew Southwest, and let me tell you, the flight was almost as much fun as our trip itself. The attendants had the whole plane sing happy birthday, they delivered us Bloody Mary’s and had me wear a crown the entire trip. I felt so special – it truly made my day. After that experience, I went ahead and shared the video on my Twitter, only to come home two weeks later to basically a lifetime supply of Southwest drink tickets and a cooler to match. Totally unnecessary from Southwest, since their friendly ticketing and baggage policies, new planes, friendly staff (on the phone, at the airport and on the planes) earned my loyalty without any need for those perks.
Nevertheless, that gesture sealed the deal for me. I did not feel like one of a million travelers. I felt like Southwest valued my business. They earned my loyalty. I fell in love with Southwest Airlines. From then on, for every single trip I've had to book, Southwest has been my go-to. From the free first checked bag to the customer service, this airline is truly the best.
Fast-forward two years later. Let me tell you about my latest unforgettable experience with Southwest Airlines. Unsolicited, my friends at Southwest sent me to Napa Valley, California for the Live in the Vineyard Festival. A four day event held in wine country, I cannot even begin to tell you how incredible this trip was.
Scroll down to read all about my weekend at Live in the Vineyard with Southwest Airlines!