These last few days, as the lair buzzes with travel preparations and conference plans, I've started to feel kind of journey proud, as my mom would have put it. That was the phrase she used for excitement over a trip. As y'all know, the Romance Bandits are preparing to descend on San Francisco (an apt phrase in this case since so many of us are flying in), and I'm getting excited about seeing everyone and meeting so many of our online buddies. Oh, yeah--other RWA buddies will be there, too. The RWA conference is always a fun time to see friends and make new acquaintances as well as developing professional contacts.
I just returned from the mall, which was not the nightmare experience it sometimes is. I actually found things that both fit and looked pretty good, things I can no longer depend on happening. Fashions keep getting younger while I, well, don't. As the saying goes, though, not getting younger beats the alternative.
Some trips require a lot of wardrobe planning and packing while others require almost none. For DragonCon, over Labor Day weekend, I'll pack spare jeans in case of a spill, a selection of appropriately adorned t-shirts, the usual unmentionables and vanity "products," and no extra shoes. That's it. Fits in one carry-on bag. Everyone there "just want[s] to have fun," as Cyndi Lauper noted on a different occasion. Everyone just hangs, and almost no one notices what anyone's wearing. Well, except for the people in costume.
Professional gatherings are different, to varying degrees. For RWA, we need business clothes, sightseeing clothes, dressy clothes, and appropriate accoutrements such as shoes, jewelry, makeup, and so forth. (I'm sure some of you are better at creative ideas for "and so forth" than I am, so I'm leaving you room here. *g*) While networking can occur in the pool (note: add swimsuit), the health club (note: add sneakers and workout gear), or the bar, it most often happens in restaurants, workshops and appointments. Since presenting a professional appearance is important, we have dress appropriately. Is wearing a nice suit going to sell my book? No. Is looking like a slob going to prevent it from selling? Probably not, but it's not going to make me an appealing person to strike up a conversation with.
Since I wasn't born with the accessorizing gene--and oh, how I envy those of you who were--I have to make a list. Just as an aside, watch out for confusing navy and black when you pack. I once did, and only the intervention of a friend with the accessorizing gene saved me from a major panic attack. I recommend bright light, preferably sunlight, for the packing stint.
Then, of course, there's the matter of book-shipping. Between the book sale, the literacy autographing, and the lunchtime giveaways, I always end up with way more books than will fit in my suitcase. I've started shipping them home. Especially with airlines dropping their weight allowances, I'd rather pay to send them along than hassle with carrying them. I sometimes pack a jetpack and strapping tape for this purpose, but only if there's a post office near the hotel. This time, there doesn't seem to be, but you can check at the Post Office website.
Despite all these concerns, I'm excited. I always am. The conference is so laden with possibility. While that can be anxiety-inducing, it also offers the chance to act on our dreams, and what's greater than that?
Once upon a time, many years ago, my parents scrimped and saved to send their Anglophile daughter to Oxford on a summer study program. I got to travel roads I'd dreamed about and see castles and armor and the Crown Jewels and all kinds of cool stuff. It was a dream come true.
Dreams can come true without travel, of course. But there's a reason someone coined the phrase, "journey of a lifetime."
What's your favorite travel experience? Did you take a trip that was a dream come true, or just very special for some other reason? Or did you have one that was a nightmare?