Where are you from?

We were confronted by that question yesterday when, through a series of coincidences, we found ourselves having a summer crawfish dinner with a crowd of Scandinavians at the Nordic Northwest heritage center in Portland. My kids are not only big fans of Swedish meatballs, but they also have a little Norwegian heritage.

I sat next to the center’s founder, Ross Fogelquist, who had spent a memorable year in Vienna, my hometown. And before long, I was speaking with him in German about my own origin story. I recalled growing up in Vienna in the 70s — the sights, the sounds, and, of course, the food.

And that made me think about the origin story for the advocacy, which is pretty interesting, too. Here’s the first story that appeared on my site. It’s about TWA. Remember TWA?

Here’s the first Travel Troubleshooter column I published back in ’99. It’s about airport scanners and film.I know, I know. I’m smiling, too.

And this is the first company contact I posted on my site. Delta Air Lines is still trying to persuade me to take it down. Good luck with that, Delta.

Prequels are important. They say a lot about who you are and they’re a pretty good indicator of what you will do in the future. And if you read my origin story, it’s clear that I’ll keep advocating for you with my team until the ship goes down. Like I’ve always said, they’ll have to pry my laptop out of my cold, dead hands.

And that’s good for you, because when they’ve fired the last enforcement attorney at the Transportation Department and former industry lobbyists are running every government agency, I’ll still be here.

So what’s your origin story?

How did you find your way to my advocacy site? I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for supporting this important work. Without your help and the support of the corporate underwriters and editorial outlets I work for, none of this would be possible. Words can’t fully express my gratitude.

Here are this week’s stories:

Hotel resort fees, hidden charges bemoaned by travelers, are climbing higher than ever (Washington Post)

The worst road trip annoyances, and what to do about them (USA Today)

Get Out Of My Store! What To Do When You’re Denied Service (Huffington Post)

Why did United cancel my return flight? (Boston Globe)

Have a great week!

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