Expert Frequent Flyer Says "Therapy On A Plane" Saved His Life - NBC Bay Area
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Expert Frequent Flyer Says "Therapy On A Plane" Saved His Life



    Scott Ford once spent an entire year traveling the world for free. (Published Friday, Nov. 8, 2013)

    There are many different ways one can get to San Francisco's Tenderloin District.

    Scott Ford found his way there through a series of bad, and sometimes criminal, decisions.

    Scott, who grew up in Dayton, Ohio, was just a teenager in the 1990's when he found himself living on the streets of San Francisco, addicted to drugs.

    "There was no money," Scott said. "There was no plan. The only plan was drugs."

    It wasn't until Scott  was picked up by police in Marin County on an outstanding warrant that he learned he was also HIV+.

    In jail, awaiting extradition to Denver, Colo., Scott decided he needed to change his life. First order of business was to kick drugs.

    He moved back home to Ohio, and eventually New York City, but found himself continually on and off the wagon.

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    Turns out the wagon was the wrong vehicle for Scott. The plane is a much better fit. Something about leaving the ground helped him deal with life on it.

    "Therapy on a plane is what I call it," Scott said. "Setting life free from an airplane seat."

    Scott, though, didn't have the funds to fly as much as he liked, so he investigated ways he could fly for next-to-nothing.

    Over the years, Scott became an expert in maximizing airlines' voucher and frequent flyer programs. He learned just what flights to book in order to get bumped and would do it over, and over, again. Scott  would sometimes accrue as many as half a dozen vouchers in a single day.

    It all lead to "52 Vacations In 52 Weeks." Scott spent an entire year traveling the world and paying nothing for airfare or lodging. "52 vacations in 52 weeks was my own drug therapy to end the drug battle in my life. I need to make everyone proud."

    Scott has turned his frequent-flying expertise into a measure of fame, doing media interviews whenever the opportunity arises.

    His eventual goal, though, is to use that fame to get people to listen to his entire story. He'd love eventually to get an audience with President Obama to talk about issues facing those with HIV and those addicted to drugs.

    You can learn much more about Scott's frequent flyer expertise at his website: Pack A Bag & Go