There was much dread and apprehension about this trip. It had nothing to do with the actual trip or conference itself, but rather all the should, about saving money, paying down debt and believing the internal self doubt. It could have been far too easy to fall into the fear that gas prices would continue to go up, profit margins continue to go down and that it would simply be far better, to just keep the head down and work. By the number of attendees, my read of it would suggest that quite a few didn't attend for those very reasons.
To cap off my undercurrent of dis-ease, I got a cold on the day before I left. The really wonderful kind of head cold that just keeps building up so much pressure, only aggravated by airline take off and decent, that all you can do is close your eyes and pray for immediate death. If there ever was a manifestation of what you think or believe, this certainly was it.
The three and a half hour drive to the airport were my finest three hours of the entire day. The slippery slope into that zombie coma arrived shortly after that. I do not recall ever being so calm at an airport or so uncaring of the time. The five and a half hour flight was easily accommodated by two movies and politely blowing my nose. The hour and a bit connector flight, equally uneventful, slipping in and out of consciousness.
Pulling together for the last rally to the hotel, I chose to venture onto the BART, the local city transportation network, saving easily twenty dollars and base lining my condition. Would I be able to salvage any of this trip?
Despite the obscene amount of head congestion, my first smell of Oakland was the ocean. I wasn't expecting that. It was clear, strong and salty, carried on a stiff breeze as I stood on the Coliseum platform, waiting for the Richmond train.
It was coming back to me. The why. The why I wanted and needed to come to this conference. The why of any travel. I stood and breathed deeply. This was an adventure and even with a cold and feeling depleted, I could still make it the best adventure I could.
I had never been to Oakland before. I had never been to a SGAA conference before. There would be new sights, sounds, tastes and smells. I would meet new people and learn new things. Travel is about enriching the human experience, and about growing new ideas - how would this place effect my work in the months to come, I wondered? I really had an adventure with my name on it and determined to make the most of it, so like the Tarot Fool, I took a leap of faith.
I'll be sorting out my thoughts over the next few days. Selecting images from the trip, to share. Hope to see your comments in the forum.