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January 30, 2021

EP 21: HOW COVID AFFECTED COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT AND FORMER HOLLYWOOD PRODUCER, RUBEN GARAY

Special Guest: Ruben Garay

 

In this episode, pilot Ruben Garay shares his journey from Hollywood producer to pilot
for a major commercial airline affected by the pandemic. He was one of the many people in the airline industry who was furloughed. He reveals the journey to reaching his childhood dreams of flying and readjusting his life. He shares some valuable advice to aspiring pilots who now see the current state of the industry —- go for it. Things will change.

Update from when we recorded this: Ruben is flying again. For
more updates on his life, check him out on @californiapilot

 

My thoughts:

I’ve known Ruben for many, many years – over a decade and yet in that time, I’ve never had the chance to really sit down with my friend to hear his journey.  It’s funny… you meet someone, you become friends, you have brief glimpses into their thought process and maybe have a quick chat about their lives, but it’s so rare to be able to have the opportunity to ask questions the way I get to when I do a podcast.  It’s intimate.  It’s real.  It’s raw and you as the interviewer, get the chance to really find out who this person is because you just listen.  And that is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned during this journey of podcasting… the value of listening.  Ruben shared with me the ups and downs of his love for aviation.  There were times in our friendship where I would hear him gush over the type of plane flying over us but it wasn’t until now and during this podcast where I truly learned his love for flying in the skies above me.  He is one of the most hard working people I have ever met.  In any industry he decided to take on, he succeeds.  I don’t know why that is, but some people are made up that way.  We have that in common.  The undeniable desire to succeed in whatever we put our mind into.  We don’t stop.  We keep going and we only look back to share the gratitude we’ve had for the journey. I know his world has been turned upside down during this pandemic.  We all have.  It’s been such a crazy journey and at the end of it all, he has come out from the other side.  He is again flying the skies since recording this episode.

And yet again, he proves how amazing he really is.

Thank you for sharing your journey with me, Ruben!

SHOW NOTES:

00:00 Ruben reads an excerpt from his travels

00:16-2:29

  • Drea introduces Ruben
  • Drea & Ruben discuss how long they’ve known each other and their background of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles
  • Drea & Ruben talk about Femme Fatality web series and how successful it became pretty quickly.
  • Ruben talks about his success as a pilot coming from very little monetary help and hard work. He talks about hard work and results that will come out of it if you keep going.
  • The power of believing in yourself and the American dream

9:20

  • The beginning of Ruben’s career with the World of Brittany www.worldofbrittany.com, which was the first fan site for any celebrity on the internet and it was all about Brittany Spears.

11:10

  • Ruben talks about the beginning of his life in aviation and his love for planes even as a child.  Ruben talks about his early childhood living as an expat and meeting friends who had parents who were airline captains.
  • Ruben talks about Microsoft Flight Simulator in the 90’s and his progression to getting his pilot license.

15:02

  • The story of the day Ruben decided to become an airline pilot and the transition to Compass airlines, then JSX and then over to a major airline.

17:20

  • Ruben talks about the difficulty of getting hired by a major airline and how most of the hires come from the military
  • He shares the moment when he got the call that he got hired for a major airline and how surreal it felt.
  • He shares how excited he was to finally get hired and then covid-19 hitting the world a month after his hire
  • The Gala he was invited to after getting hired and then losing it all to Covid-19
  • While he was training, he saw the way the world started evolving in front him from pre-covid to post-covid
  • He discusses his time at the hotel where he was training and how there was suddenly no staff in the hotel except for the one man at the front desk.

27:25

  • Ruben talks about him and his wife getting sick with Covid

29:15

  • Ruben was one of the 40,000 airline staff who got furloughed.  He discusses what this experience looks like.

31:52

  • Ruben talks about the pilot community and how they’ve supported each other.

33:58

  • Drea discusses the need for travel and the need for pilots as a result once the covid situation subsides
  • Ruben discusses the importance of travel and adventure.

36:58

  • Ruben shares his favorite place he’s traveled which is Cambodia
  • He really enjoyed Siem Reap, the quality of food and hotel – The Lotus Blanc $60 per night pre covid but now it’s even cheaper.
  • $50 for a 6 hour spa day.
  • He went to the Angor Kwat and loved the spiritual experience

41:08

  • Traveling is the best medicine for the soul

41:32

  • Ruben shares his most meaningful person he’s ever met on his travels

45:20

  • Ruben shares his most fulfilling moment as a pilot.  He loves the fact that being a pilot means part of everyone’s life when he’s taking you somewhere on a journey.

46:00

  • Ruben shares his advice to any aspiring pilot who is passionate about it because it’s hard but it’s very rewarding

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