Once in a great moon, I'll get the opportunity to attend a show as a Regular Joe-you know, bring and enter a vehicle, kick back and enjoy a few cold ones, and basically just relax for a day or two ... a participant, as it were. It's kinda nice not having to work an event, but more often than not, that's exactly what I gotta do-work. Don't get me wrong, though, I'm not complaining!

Back in the good ol' days when I was cutting my teeth as an automotive photojournalist, I had no problem jumping on a plane and attending an event across the country once or twice a month. Then again, I was young, single, and that's pretty much it-young and single, with nary a responsibility other than getting my job done. I didn't fully realize it then, but man, did I have it easy! If I knew then what I know now, well, let's just say I'd have known better.

Today, things are much, much different-at least on my end. On top of now having a family to deal with, which not only consumes a lot of time, but affects what and how much you do above and beyond typical 9-to-5 duties, the world in general is pretty much 180 degrees from what it used to be. From the difficulty of travelling to the extreme costs of travelling if you're so inclined to do so, which this profession regularly requires, it's significantly harder to accomplish this job on the road. Take, for instance, the airline industry-back when we could haul around our gear as we pleased, without restriction, and more importantly, without charge! Now we're forced to get creative and use things for purposes they were never intended for. Due in part to severely decreased budgets, rental cars now serve as ladders for photo shoots!

While I may not be so inclined to hop on a plane at will as I was 15 years ago (this month actually marks my 15th anniversary with the company), I still cherish the ability to do so as part of my career. As bad as this job may seem at times, I don't think there's another one out there that could come close to offering the perks this one does. Then again, my offer to serve as a taste tester for any leading beer company-free of charge-still stands!