I was invited for a very special trip that was nothing like I've ever done before. I went on a Distinguished Visitors visit on the U.S.S. Carl Vinson CVN 70 and combined it with my first trip as brand ambassador for Kimpton Hotels for a very unique visit to San Diego. The dichotomy of the visit and my experiences with both added another layer of gratefulness for my life and an appreciation for the people who protect my country. Ironically, both experiences are the result of my blogging and social media so they are connected.
I started my trip with a night at the Hotel Solamar which is a gorgeous boutique hotel in the heart of the Gaslight District. From the rooftop lounge you can see the lights of Petco Stadium where the San Diego Padres baseball team plays. I had the luxury of bed that was like sleeping on a cloud with the sounds of gentle music playing to help me feel comfortable in this new environment with a photo of my dog on the nightstand next to me. I had every comfortable thing that I could possibly wish for thanks to the Kimpton In-Touch program. I had a restful sleep in a nurturing and plush environment which led to me to my next night which was off the coast closer to Mexico than the United States in a territory called Whiskey 291, “covers 1 million square miles and is off-limits to civilian planes and ships.”
On the air craft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson, I was given one of their finest staterooms and the white-glove treatment but this is the Navy. Our tax dollars at work are not providing luxuries or comforts to the thousands of sailors that are serving to protect our country. Sailors have basic living quarters with no privacy and certainly no mini-bar. They are provided three solid-meals per day and midnight rations for snacks before bed after working ridiculously long hours of thirteen, fourteen or fifteen hours per day due to military budget cuts which have affecting staffing for our military.
This is my room that I shared with my roommate, Analisa which I was told had special pillow-top mattresses that the sailors don't have. It was compact and efficiently spaced. We paid for the food on our visit since I'm sure the food costs must be very high to feed 5,000 sailors three meals and a mini-meal per day.
This photo is the crew berths. From the Navy's website “whether on a ship or submarine, Sailors are provided with sufficient living spaces. Each Sailor is assigned a “berthing area,” which includes a locker for storage, as well as a “rack” for sleep.” The crew sleeps in berthing areas with up to ninety racks per room.
I will write a lot more about my experience with the Navy on this special embark as there were many layers of things that I learned and what I felt while I visited. Many thanks to the crew of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson for hosting us and sharing a tiny slice of your challenging life at sea and to the Kimpton for providing me a fantastic night's sleep the night before. I'll be sharing a host of photos on Facebook from the Kimpton and the U.S.S. Carl Vinson.
I'm excited to share more stories from the sailors that I met and have immense respect for. I never thought that the military was easy but I had no idea how hard it was until I saw them all in action working as one huge team of 5,000 to make the U.S.S. Carl Vinson run like clockwork. Thank you all for protecting our country and making the sacrifice to be in the U.S. Navy. Thank you to Dennis Hall, founder of Avere Group LLC, which made my embark possible via his nomination of me. Dennis Hall initially submitted my nomination to the Deputy Public Affairs Officer for the Commander, Naval Air Forces – Pacific, US Pacific Fleet for the Distinguished Visitors Program.