10 signs you’re an Australian country kid1. You know exactly what roo shooting is.

It’s Saturday night and you’re dressed in your best farm clothes. You’ve got an esky full of beer and a Ute full of friends. The working dogs are tied to the back and the guns are loaded. Welcome to roo shooting, social highlight of the week.
2. You call everyone mate. Even if you hate them. Actually, you’re more likely to call someone mate if you’re arguing with them.
Your best friend is your mate. The guy who makes your coffee is your mate. The random chick in the bar is your mate. That stupid drongo that didn’t indicate at the roundabout is your mate. As in, “Nice bloody indicating, mate!”
3. You love country music, even if you’re ashamed to admit it.
Growing up in the country and listening to country music goes hand in hand. However, as you move away from home and into the big city, you hide your roots because country music is massively uncool.
You give your country music playlists code names, and your old CD of Garth Brooks is hidden deep in your drawers. The fact that you know the words to “Texas QLD 4385″ by Lee Kernaghan will never be exposed until you’re safely in the premises of your local pub.
4. You tell everyone you’re from Sydney, even if you’re nowhere near it.
Coming from a small country town in Northern NSW, I’ve made the error in assuming people know Australian geography well. Even mentioning my state of New South Wales results in blank looks. It’s way easier to tell people who haven’t been to Australia that I’m from Sydney than trying to explain I live an hour south of the Queensland border, about three hours inland, in a town with a population of 10,000 people.
5. You have at one stage in your life ridden a horse, tackled a chicken, or tried your hand at bull riding.
It might have been a small calf that didn’t even buck, but you still rode it like you were Lane Frost.
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10 signs you’re an Australian country kid

1. You know exactly what roo shooting is.

It’s Saturday night and you’re dressed in your best farm clothes. You’ve got an esky full of beer and a Ute full of friends. The working dogs are tied to the back and the guns are loaded. Welcome to roo shooting, social highlight of the week.

2. You call everyone mate. Even if you hate them. Actually, you’re more likely to call someone mate if you’re arguing with them.

Your best friend is your mate. The guy who makes your coffee is your mate. The random chick in the bar is your mate. That stupid drongo that didn’t indicate at the roundabout is your mate. As in, “Nice bloody indicating, mate!”

3. You love country music, even if you’re ashamed to admit it.

Growing up in the country and listening to country music goes hand in hand. However, as you move away from home and into the big city, you hide your roots because country music is massively uncool.

You give your country music playlists code names, and your old CD of Garth Brooks is hidden deep in your drawers. The fact that you know the words to “Texas QLD 4385″ by Lee Kernaghan will never be exposed until you’re safely in the premises of your local pub.

4. You tell everyone you’re from Sydney, even if you’re nowhere near it.

Coming from a small country town in Northern NSW, I’ve made the error in assuming people know Australian geography well. Even mentioning my state of New South Wales results in blank looks. It’s way easier to tell people who haven’t been to Australia that I’m from Sydney than trying to explain I live an hour south of the Queensland border, about three hours inland, in a town with a population of 10,000 people.

5. You have at one stage in your life ridden a horse, tackled a chicken, or tried your hand at bull riding.

It might have been a small calf that didn’t even buck, but you still rode it like you were Lane Frost.

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10 signs you’re from Columbus, Ohio1. You’re ridiculously proud of anything from Columbus that’s nationally recognized.

Columbus people love to talk about things that come from Columbus. Maybe this is because we feel the need to prove ourselves to the rest of the country.
2. You insist, “We’re not just a cow town, okay?!”
Sure, we’re flat, land-locked, and surrounded by farms, but have you ever heard of Jeni’s Ice Cream? Yeah. Her Salty Caramel flavor is nationally known. Guess what? Jeni’s is based in COLUMBUS. Boom! Drop the mic, leave the stage.
3. You attended Clippers baseball games so you could scarf down wieners at “Dime-A-Dog Night.”
I am not into sports. I am, however, into meat. Cheap meat on a bun. The Columbus Clippers, formerly the farm team for the New York Yankees, host a variety of promotional game nights to attract more fans. There’s a new stadium now, which has brought in more paying customers over the past few years, but I remember when the main allure was sucking down hot dogs faster than you could say, “Spare a dime?”
4. You wondered as a young child why Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger came to town every year.
You later learned that Arnold Schwarzenegger, and thousands of oiled-up muscle bros, descend on the capital city every spring for the Arnold Fitness Classic. After this amped-up epic event, the golf pants emerged for Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament. Thus Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger have been forever woven into the fabric of the city.
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10 signs you’re from Columbus, Ohio

1. You’re ridiculously proud of anything from Columbus that’s nationally recognized.

Columbus people love to talk about things that come from Columbus. Maybe this is because we feel the need to prove ourselves to the rest of the country.

2. You insist, “We’re not just a cow town, okay?!”

Sure, we’re flat, land-locked, and surrounded by farms, but have you ever heard of Jeni’s Ice Cream? Yeah. Her Salty Caramel flavor is nationally known. Guess what? Jeni’s is based in COLUMBUS. Boom! Drop the mic, leave the stage.

3. You attended Clippers baseball games so you could scarf down wieners at “Dime-A-Dog Night.”

I am not into sports. I am, however, into meat. Cheap meat on a bun. The Columbus Clippers, formerly the farm team for the New York Yankees, host a variety of promotional game nights to attract more fans. There’s a new stadium now, which has brought in more paying customers over the past few years, but I remember when the main allure was sucking down hot dogs faster than you could say, “Spare a dime?”

4. You wondered as a young child why Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger came to town every year.

You later learned that Arnold Schwarzenegger, and thousands of oiled-up muscle bros, descend on the capital city every spring for the Arnold Fitness Classic. After this amped-up epic event, the golf pants emerged for Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament. Thus Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger have been forever woven into the fabric of the city.

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11 signs you grew up Mexican in the US1. Kids’ parties that still get buck wild

I’ve lost count of the many parties, and I mean hard-core parties, that I’ve ended up at that I thought were a huge milestone for the party-thrower: 30th birthday, quinceañera, etc. only to find out that the bash had started as a party…for a five-year-old!!! I’ve always wondered if all the fights with all the borrachos at these parties were ever started by a kid wanting his toy back.
2. Total failure at correct name pronunciation
If you happen to have an easy-to-pronounce name like Juan Lopez, you might never experience this, but for the rest of us with lots of “rrrrrrrs” in our names — we just get used to hearing our name mangled. And if we decide to pronounce our name “in Spanish” when being introduced, we always have to say it more than once.
3. Saturday visits to Grandma’s that are more like Don Francisco concerts
I don’t know how or why, but somehow I spent quite a few Saturday nights visiting my Grandma. I know my Grandma loved me very much, but I don’t think I ever got to talk to her during any of my visits. We would always end up watching the ultimate “party in a show” called Sábado Gigante together, but since my Grandma was hard of hearing, it always felt like a two-hour Don Francisco screamfest.
I had more than one nightmare of Mr. Frank and El Chacal and his trumpet chasing me around while my Grandma watched, laughing hysterically. Where was Jerry Springer when I needed him?
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11 signs you grew up Mexican in the US

1. Kids’ parties that still get buck wild

I’ve lost count of the many parties, and I mean hard-core parties, that I’ve ended up at that I thought were a huge milestone for the party-thrower: 30th birthday, quinceañera, etc. only to find out that the bash had started as a party…for a five-year-old!!! I’ve always wondered if all the fights with all the borrachos at these parties were ever started by a kid wanting his toy back.

2. Total failure at correct name pronunciation

If you happen to have an easy-to-pronounce name like Juan Lopez, you might never experience this, but for the rest of us with lots of “rrrrrrrs” in our names — we just get used to hearing our name mangled. And if we decide to pronounce our name “in Spanish” when being introduced, we always have to say it more than once.

3. Saturday visits to Grandma’s that are more like Don Francisco concerts

I don’t know how or why, but somehow I spent quite a few Saturday nights visiting my Grandma. I know my Grandma loved me very much, but I don’t think I ever got to talk to her during any of my visits. We would always end up watching the ultimate “party in a show” called Sábado Gigante together, but since my Grandma was hard of hearing, it always felt like a two-hour Don Francisco screamfest.

I had more than one nightmare of Mr. Frank and El Chacal and his trumpet chasing me around while my Grandma watched, laughing hysterically. Where was Jerry Springer when I needed him?

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26 signs you’re a crunchy mama
1.  Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich involves grinding the wheat, baking the bread, and picking the berries.
2.  You gave birth at home. Unassisted. Out in the garden.
3.  You froze your own placenta after birth and now enjoy daily “pick-me-up” smoothies.
4.  Your Twitter profile proudly says “Intactivist.” In the grocery store, you ask strangers with baby boys whether or not they chose to genitally mutilate their child. You don’t even have a son.
5.  You make your own cloth diapers. Which you line with inserts of moss. That you harvested in the forest and dried.
6.  You practice elimination communication with your child on a composting toilet.
7.  When your child walks through the front door from school and asks for milk, you whip out your breast.
8.  You’ve breast fed someone else’s crying baby. Without asking.
9.  You meticulously charted your cervical mucus when you wanted to conceive.
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1. Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich involves grinding the wheat, baking the bread, and picking the berries.

2. You gave birth at home. Unassisted. Out in the garden.

3. You froze your own placenta after birth and now enjoy daily “pick-me-up” smoothies.

4. Your Twitter profile proudly says “Intactivist.” In the grocery store, you ask strangers with baby boys whether or not they chose to genitally mutilate their child. You don’t even have a son.

5. You make your own cloth diapers. Which you line with inserts of moss. That you harvested in the forest and dried.

6. You practice elimination communication with your child on a composting toilet.

7. When your child walks through the front door from school and asks for milk, you whip out your breast.

8. You’ve breast fed someone else’s crying baby. Without asking.

9. You meticulously charted your cervical mucus when you wanted to conceive.

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14 differences between an Aussie friend and a normal friend
1.
A normal friend will always be respectful.An Aussie friend will affectionately call you a bastard, dickhead, or whatever their particularly favorite derogatory term might be.
2.
A normal friend might show some concern if this is your third night in a row drinking a six-pack.An Aussie friend will gladly sit along and drink with you at any time of day.
3.
A normal friend would never think to pay you off with alcohol.An Aussie friend will give you a tipple for any small favor you perform for them. Helping a friend move will at least garner a six pack or a slab.
4.
A normal friend will whip you up something to eat when you’re feeling bad.An Aussie friend will whip you up something surprisingly simple and delicious and serve it with a “cuppa” or a glass of red wine.
5.
A normal friend always says “thank you.”An Aussie friend never says “thank you.” They might say “ta.” But how good of a friend can you be if you have to be polite?
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14 differences between an Aussie friend and a normal friend
1.

A normal friend will always be respectful.
An Aussie friend will affectionately call you a bastard, dickhead, or whatever their particularly favorite derogatory term might be.

2.

A normal friend might show some concern if this is your third night in a row drinking a six-pack.
An Aussie friend will gladly sit along and drink with you at any time of day.

3.

A normal friend would never think to pay you off with alcohol.
An Aussie friend will give you a tipple for any small favor you perform for them. Helping a friend move will at least garner a six pack or a slab.

4.

A normal friend will whip you up something to eat when you’re feeling bad.
An Aussie friend will whip you up something surprisingly simple and delicious and serve it with a “cuppa” or a glass of red wine.

5.

A normal friend always says “thank you.”
An Aussie friend never says “thank you.” They might say “ta.” But how good of a friend can you be if you have to be polite?

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11 signs you’re from Alaska

1. You never say the words “Aurora Borealis.”
But you do mention the Northern Lights in two specific situations: First, in response to the scientifically accurate yet orally laborious “Aurora Borealis” by retorting, “Oh, you mean the Northern Lights?” (Alaskan for, “Ain’t from here, are ya?”)
And second, when saying “I was out on Northern Lights,” which indicates that you visited (or drove by) the store that makes every outdoorsy, granola, sock-clad, Birkenstock-wearing Alaskan heart swoon: REI.
2. You have mixed feelings about “bunny boots.”
“Bunny boots” conjure up all sorts of warm fuzzy hops down Nostalgia Lane. You have a sort of love-hate relationship with those winter boots with the bulbous toes, white outer rubber, and funky side air valves.
Originally a military thing (they’re officially called “extreme cold vapor barrier boots”), you hijacked your first pair from your dad. You wore them to tromp around the house as a wee thing, and then later to begrudgingly trek from house to woodpile in -30°F weather once you got old enough to be sent outside for firewood.
3. Your family owns a lot of vehicles and their accompanying accessories.
At least seven of the following are counted among your assets (friends’ and neighbors’ belongings included): a trailer(s), a camper, a motorhome, a 3-wheeler, a 4-wheeler, a 5th wheel, a snow machine, a snowblower, a bobcat, a 2-door truck, a 4-door truck, an SUV, a minivan, a 4WD, a 2WD, a bus, an airplane, a boat, a dinghy, a canoe, a Zodiac, a kayak, a mountain bike, a bike rack, a ski rack, a boat rack, and a dog sled.
And that’s just the starter kit.
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1. You never say the words “Aurora Borealis.”

But you do mention the Northern Lights in two specific situations:
First, in response to the scientifically accurate yet orally laborious “Aurora Borealis” by retorting, “Oh, you mean the Northern Lights?” (Alaskan for, “Ain’t from here, are ya?”)

And second, when saying “I was out on Northern Lights,” which indicates that you visited (or drove by) the store that makes every outdoorsy, granola, sock-clad, Birkenstock-wearing Alaskan heart swoon: REI.

2. You have mixed feelings about “bunny boots.”

“Bunny boots” conjure up all sorts of warm fuzzy hops down Nostalgia Lane. You have a sort of love-hate relationship with those winter boots with the bulbous toes, white outer rubber, and funky side air valves.

Originally a military thing (they’re officially called “extreme cold vapor barrier boots”), you hijacked your first pair from your dad. You wore them to tromp around the house as a wee thing, and then later to begrudgingly trek from house to woodpile in -30°F weather once you got old enough to be sent outside for firewood.

3. Your family owns a lot of vehicles and their accompanying accessories.

At least seven of the following are counted among your assets (friends’ and neighbors’ belongings included): a trailer(s), a camper, a motorhome, a 3-wheeler, a 4-wheeler, a 5th wheel, a snow machine, a snowblower, a bobcat, a 2-door truck, a 4-door truck, an SUV, a minivan, a 4WD, a 2WD, a bus, an airplane, a boat, a dinghy, a canoe, a Zodiac, a kayak, a mountain bike, a bike rack, a ski rack, a boat rack, and a dog sled.

And that’s just the starter kit.

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How to piss off someone from Vermont

WE HAVE A FUNNY THING in Vermont that I like to call the soft “T.” When we pronounce our home state, the hard “T” is replaced with a delicate yet guttural puff of air from the bottom of the throat, which can only be written out as accurately as: “Vermon(gh).”
It’s not pretty, but it’s pure. It’s spoken the same whether you’re a suburbanite in Chittenden County, or a dairy farmer in the North Country. It’s one of the many things Vermonters share, and we tend to care a lot about the things we share as a community. Treading heavily on those things just might piss us off.
1. Tell us you heard we have more cows than people.
Just don’t. It’s not true. We love our cows, though, and we’re very proud of our farmers, thank you very much.
2. Mistake us for New Hampshire.
See How to piss off someone from New Hampshire. Our legislature debates how to deliver universal healthcare, while theirs argues about whether to finally make driving without a seatbelt illegal. We still love our neighbor, though.
3. Tell us how much you love Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked.
We remember when Ben & Jerry’s was actually a local company, before it was bought by a behemoth that also makes soap and mayonnaise. We remember when the carton looked like this and the only flavors were chocolate, vanilla, and Cherry Garcia.
Okay, fine. That’s silly nostalgia. We still adore Ben & Jerry’s, even if neither Ben nor Jerry are involved anymore. To its credit, the company manages to preserve their core quality, brand, and most importantly, their social mission that’s deeply rooted in progressive Vermonter ideology. And Half Baked is amazing. We just don’t need a bunch of you telling us how good the ice cream is. We’ve known for years. 
Keep reading: How to piss off someone from Vermont
WE HAVE A FUNNY THING in Vermont that I like to call the soft “T.” When we pronounce our home state, the hard “T” is replaced with a delicate yet guttural puff of air from the bottom of the throat, which can only be written out as accurately as: “Vermon(gh).”

It’s not pretty, but it’s pure. It’s spoken the same whether you’re a suburbanite in Chittenden County, or a dairy farmer in the North Country. It’s one of the many things Vermonters share, and we tend to care a lot about the things we share as a community. Treading heavily on those things just might piss us off.

1. Tell us you heard we have more cows than people.

Just don’t. It’s not true. We love our cows, though, and we’re very proud of our farmers, thank you very much.

2. Mistake us for New Hampshire.

See How to piss off someone from New Hampshire. Our legislature debates how to deliver universal healthcare, while theirs argues about whether to finally make driving without a seatbelt illegal. We still love our neighbor, though.

3. Tell us how much you love Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked.

We remember when Ben & Jerry’s was actually a local company, before it was bought by a behemoth that also makes soap and mayonnaise. We remember when the carton looked like this and the only flavors were chocolate, vanilla, and Cherry Garcia.

Okay, fine. That’s silly nostalgia. We still adore Ben & Jerry’s, even if neither Ben nor Jerry are involved anymore. To its credit, the company manages to preserve their core quality, brand, and most importantly, their social mission that’s deeply rooted in progressive Vermonter ideology. And Half Baked is amazing. We just don’t need a bunch of you telling us how good the ice cream is. We’ve known for years.image

Keep reading: How to piss off someone from Vermont

On moving from Kentucky to Australia
1. Kentuckians are nicer than Australians.
In Kentucky, everybody is always friendly no matter what. It’s almost as if people trip over themselves to say hello, or call you “partner,” or hold the door for you. In Australia, it seem like the reverse is true. You’ll get a lot more icy stares and avoiding eyes. The meaner friends are to you, the more they like you (“taking the piss”).
Kentuckians live by the old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” Aussies are happy to shit all over your weaknesses.
2. A Kentuckian takes 30 words to say something an Aussie can say in one.
Kentuckians spend hours and hours talking. Whether it’s in line at the post office or at the grocery store, it’s a contest for who can tell the longest story. A completely uneventful trip to grandma’s can be retold for three hours.
Aussies are famed for being laconic. Every single word gets shortened. Even though it has the same number of syllables, breakfast has to be “brekkie.”
3. Kentuckians eat like shit.
In Kentucky, people believe that authenticity can be bought and bought for cheap. Want authentic Italian? Head down to the drive-thru, where a “real” Italian meal is $5. And it comes with a five-megalitre plastic cup of Coke. Are you a parent with a picky eater? No problem! You can choose from an array of frozen mini corn dogs and pizza chips. Or what the hell, just feed your precious little darling some popcorn and chocolate cake for dinner.
Plenty of Aussies eat junk food, and McDonald’s (Macca’s) is quite popular, but the average Australian has a better grasp of the five basic food groups. An Aussie understands that a salad tastes better when it doesn’t come in a plastic container. And apples don’t need to be pre-sliced for convenience.
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On moving from Kentucky to Australia

1. Kentuckians are nicer than Australians.

In Kentucky, everybody is always friendly no matter what. It’s almost as if people trip over themselves to say hello, or call you “partner,” or hold the door for you. In Australia, it seem like the reverse is true. You’ll get a lot more icy stares and avoiding eyes. The meaner friends are to you, the more they like you (“taking the piss”).

Kentuckians live by the old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” Aussies are happy to shit all over your weaknesses.

2. A Kentuckian takes 30 words to say something an Aussie can say in one.

Kentuckians spend hours and hours talking. Whether it’s in line at the post office or at the grocery store, it’s a contest for who can tell the longest story. A completely uneventful trip to grandma’s can be retold for three hours.

Aussies are famed for being laconic. Every single word gets shortened. Even though it has the same number of syllables, breakfast has to be “brekkie.”

3. Kentuckians eat like shit.

In Kentucky, people believe that authenticity can be bought and bought for cheap. Want authentic Italian? Head down to the drive-thru, where a “real” Italian meal is $5. And it comes with a five-megalitre plastic cup of Coke. Are you a parent with a picky eater? No problem! You can choose from an array of frozen mini corn dogs and pizza chips. Or what the hell, just feed your precious little darling some popcorn and chocolate cake for dinner.

Plenty of Aussies eat junk food, and McDonald’s (Macca’s) is quite popular, but the average Australian has a better grasp of the five basic food groups. An Aussie understands that a salad tastes better when it doesn’t come in a plastic container. And apples don’t need to be pre-sliced for convenience.

Keep reading

Images of consumerism in Iran

HIGH-END SHOPPING, and Iranian culture, are not two things I’d necessarily put together. A photo essay posted on Al Jazeera by Thomas Cristofoletti has got me thinking otherwise, however. It seems that the rise of Western-style shopping malls taking over the landscape of many Iranian cities, has not been combatted by the conservative practices many citizens are known to uphold.
In fact, many are using these malls and shopping centers as a means of letting loose. Check out this children’s area inside of the Persian Gulf Complex in Shiraz. Not even the mall in my area is this cool.

Photo via Thomas Cristofoletti/A Jazeera

But then again, I tend to do more of my shopping online now. So perhaps Iran is still struggling to keep up with the evolving culture that is the way we consume. According to the article, smartphone and tablet purchases are on the rise, but are not yet the norm. And many Iranians still shop at traditional bazaars, which partially accounts for why many of the photos appear ghost-like and empty.

Photo via Thomas Cristofoletti/A Jazeera

Click to see the rest of Cristofoletti’s photo essay. 
HIGH-END SHOPPING, and Iranian culture, are not two things I’d necessarily put together. A photo essay posted on Al Jazeera by Thomas Cristofoletti has got me thinking otherwise, however. It seems that the rise of Western-style shopping malls taking over the landscape of many Iranian cities, has not been combatted by the conservative practices many citizens are known to uphold.

In fact, many are using these malls and shopping centers as a means of letting loose. Check out this children’s area inside of the Persian Gulf Complex in Shiraz. Not even the mall in my area is this cool.

But then again, I tend to do more of my shopping online now. So perhaps Iran is still struggling to keep up with the evolving culture that is the way we consume. According to the article, smartphone and tablet purchases are on the rise, but are not yet the norm. And many Iranians still shop at traditional bazaars, which partially accounts for why many of the photos appear ghost-like and empty.

Click to see the rest of Cristofoletti’s photo essay

10 downsides of being a pilot

1. We don’t make as much money as you think.
As of May 2014, the average pilot income was $75,000. That’s an average. My salary in the first year with the airlines, based out of New York’s JFK International Airport, was $21,109. This is why pilots fall on a free continental breakfast like locusts. The days of making $300,000 a year for five days of work per month went out with smoking on an airplane.
2. We don’t see our families too often.
In a 30-day month, the average airline pilot will only work 12-15 days. But when you consider that most pilots commute to work from out of state, a normal four-day trip actually takes six days to complete. If a pilot gets two assignments back-to-back with insufficient time in between to return home, he or she could be gone for weeks at a time.
3. Just because we fly to exotic destinations doesn’t mean we get to see them.
Once, when queried by a friend as to what Belfast, Ireland, looked like, I simply replied, “Cleveland.” For the most part, layovers are so short that a pilot will stay at a hotel with a view of the airport he or she just landed at. In most cases you have enough time to shower, eat, get some rest, and be ready to do it all again tomorrow.
4. We hate delays as much as you do.
Pilots hate delays for two reasons: First, as stated above, downtime is at a minimum at the destination already. Any time spent in delay just means there will be less time to actually explore or unwind once you land. Second, pilots are paid based on actual flight hours. So any time spent perusing the magazine rack while delayed means you’re at work but not getting paid. (To put salt in the wound, refer back to #1.)
5. We spend a lot of time at places called “crash pads.”
I’ve always found it a little ironic that the temporary housing for pilots is called a crash pad. I would have voted for “land safely pad.” Truth is, pilots need a place to stay between trips — when commuting in the night before a trip, or when a schedule deems that a pilot be on call or “reserve.” It works like this: You rent a bunkbed in a four-bedroom apartment with 30 other pilots for around $300 per month. My first year at the airlines, I spent more nights sleeping on Incredible Hulk sheets in a bunkbed in Queens than I did at home.
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1. We don’t make as much money as you think.

As of May 2014, the average pilot income was $75,000. That’s an average. My salary in the first year with the airlines, based out of New York’s JFK International Airport, was $21,109. This is why pilots fall on a free continental breakfast like locusts. The days of making $300,000 a year for five days of work per month went out with smoking on an airplane.

2. We don’t see our families too often.

In a 30-day month, the average airline pilot will only work 12-15 days. But when you consider that most pilots commute to work from out of state, a normal four-day trip actually takes six days to complete. If a pilot gets two assignments back-to-back with insufficient time in between to return home, he or she could be gone for weeks at a time.

3. Just because we fly to exotic destinations doesn’t mean we get to see them.

Once, when queried by a friend as to what Belfast, Ireland, looked like, I simply replied, “Cleveland.” For the most part, layovers are so short that a pilot will stay at a hotel with a view of the airport he or she just landed at. In most cases you have enough time to shower, eat, get some rest, and be ready to do it all again tomorrow.

4. We hate delays as much as you do.

Pilots hate delays for two reasons: First, as stated above, downtime is at a minimum at the destination already. Any time spent in delay just means there will be less time to actually explore or unwind once you land. Second, pilots are paid based on actual flight hours. So any time spent perusing the magazine rack while delayed means you’re at work but not getting paid. (To put salt in the wound, refer back to #1.)

5. We spend a lot of time at places called “crash pads.”

I’ve always found it a little ironic that the temporary housing for pilots is called a crash pad. I would have voted for “land safely pad.” Truth is, pilots need a place to stay between trips — when commuting in the night before a trip, or when a schedule deems that a pilot be on call or “reserve.” It works like this: You rent a bunkbed in a four-bedroom apartment with 30 other pilots for around $300 per month. My first year at the airlines, I spent more nights sleeping on Incredible Hulk sheets in a bunkbed in Queens than I did at home.

Keep reading