Commuter story: Flying weekly Boston to Tampa to work

In the average week, Jacob Kallupura commutes 2,700 miles back and forth to work but that isn’t reflected on the odometers on his two cars.

That’s because Kallupura, 60, is an unusual type of commuter. He spends his weekdays working two jobs in Tampa but goes “home’’ to the Boston area for the weekends. He’s been making the trek for over six years, generally flying from Tampa to Boston on Friday afternoons and flying back to Tampa on Sunday evenings.

“It can be tiresome at times,’’ Kallupura says. “But I’m very blessed to have a wonderful wife and two wonderful daughters. This is what works out best for all of us.’’

When Kallupura was offered the chance to move to Tampa to become President and CEO of Gold Cross Medical Labs, LLC in Jacob Kallupura at his church in West Tampa.Lutz and work as a Compliance and Quality Control consultant at Aspire Financial Services in West Tampa, it was immediately obvious commuting was his only option. The opportunities were too good to pass up.

But there wasn’t much discussion of uprooting the family and taking everyone to Tampa. His wife has worked for TJ Maxx’s distribution center in Framingham, Mass. for over 30 years and is deeply rooted in the community. Both his daughters were born and raised in the Boston area. At the time of his decision to take the Tampa offers, one daughter was in college in Boston and the other was about to start college.

“I didn’t want to mess up their lives,’’ Kallupura says.

Spending quality time together

Kallupura, who was born and raised in India, but came to the United States to attend law school at Boston University, also has deep ties in Massachusetts and wanted it to remain a big part of his life. So getting an apartment near Raymond James Stadium and commuting to the family home in Framingham was the only real option.

Kallupura pays for the airline tickets out of his own pocket because it was his decision to commute. He doesn’t mind because he says that allows him the best of both worlds. He makes the trip almost every week, except for a few occasions a year when business obligations force him to spend the weekend in Tampa.

When Kallupura is in Framingham, he drives a 2005 Ford Freestar van that one of his daughters uses around the Boston area during the week. The van currently has about 100,000 miles on it. In Tampa, Kallupura has a 2005 Mercedes Benz that has about 130,000 miles on it. Kallupura said he drives the Mercedes only about an average of 10 miles a day when he’s in Florida.

The arrangement is fine with Kallupura and his family.

“We’ve always had an excellent marriage,’’ says Kallupura’s wife, Annie. “It’s as strong as ever. Really, it hasn’t been that big a difference because, even when he lived here fulltime, he traveled a lot. When he’s in Tampa, we talk on the phone every night and text each other several times a day. When he comes home, we have plenty of quality time together.’’

Like anyone who flies frequently, Kallupura has plenty of stories about flights being delayed. He also has plenty of tales about flights being canceled, especially when winter weather hits Boston. But he shrugs them off because he knows that comes with the territory. Constant travel may take a physical toll on some, but not Kallupura.

“I’m up at 6 every morning to do yoga and exercise,’’ Kallupura says. “I have plenty of energy.’’

That’s a good thing because Kallupura’s life involves much more than work, sitting in airports and flying. He also serves as legal advisor and is a board member for Justice For All, a New York-based human rights organization and a board member of the International Yoga Institute, a New York-based non-profit. Previously, Kallupura served as vice president of the Indian Catholic Federation of North America for many years.

Thinking warm thoughts

Although retirement age is getting closer for Jacob and Annie, they haven’t decided what their living arrangement will be when the time comes.

“I have really come to love Tampa and I have many friends here,’’ Jacob says. “But, at the same time, I don’t ever see myself completely leaving Boston.’’

“When I start thinking about retirement, it sometimes makes me wonder why I should stay in the cold,’’ Annie says. “But Boston means so much to me.’’

Both say they eventually may spend part of their time in Tampa and part in Massachusetts, but the difference will be that they can be together all the time. For now, though, Jacob’s commuting will continue and that’s fine with his wife.

“When he’s in Tampa, only his body is there,’’ Annie says. “But his soul is always here with me.’’

Previous commuter stories in 83 Degrees include:

Commuter story: Bicycling to work in Tampa

Commuter story: Attitude, perspective shape drive across Tampa Bay

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Read more articles by Patrick Yasinskas.

Patrick “Pat” Yasinskas is an award-winning Tampa-based freelance writer. He has covered the National Football League since 1992 and worked for The Tampa Tribune, The Charlotte Observer and ESPN. He also has served as a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the NFC South chairman of the Pro Football Writers Association. He also has been an avid baseball card collector since the 1970s.