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Lynne's Excellent Adventures, Fall 2009

UPDATE: In September 2009, I became one of a number of winners of the British Airways Face of Opportunity competition, which is awarding free trips to London and beyond. I entered because I thought there ought to be some freelance authors with very modest track records in the group of business people. It never occurred to me that I might become a "winner."

For the competition, entrants had to write a 250- to 500-word essay on why a free trip to the UK and beyond would help their business. There were three groups of 10,000+ entrants each -- one each for the New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles gateways. About 200-250 people in each of the three groups were selected for free round trip flights to London and beyond, as well as other rather nice perks such as a free seat for a business companion of your choice. I leave from Los Angeles on BA's Face of Opportunity charter flight for London on October 13 and return to LAX on Nov. 5.

The New York group left for the UK in mid-September, so their tales give the rest of us some idea of what to expect. Apparently, they give you a nice sendoff from the US by wining and dining you and then do the same thing in London, with the addition of a business forum with some fairly high-powered speakers. After enjoying a free night in a 5-star hotel you are free to continue your journey in whatever way you want, though you must return to your gateway no later than 30 days from when you left it.

Some people will immediately return home, others will fly for free to the four corners of the earth (or at least to wherever BA goes). My travel companion and I will make our way to Newcastle by train and thence to southern Scotland by car. After a couple of weeks doing a loop trip picking up some of the site photos I meant to get this summer, we'll wind up in Edinburgh and return to London Heathrow by train, stopping in Oxford's bookstores along the way.

What a lucky break! "The Economy" cut out my usual summer research trip, but now there's a second chance to close some of the photographic gaps.

For more info on BA's Face-to-Face and Face of Opportunity programs, go to http://facetoface.ba.com/.
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