Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Another Travel Adventure

It is a solitary task to write. I find tremendous value in getting to a writer's conference and interacting with writers and other professionals about the business.

With this sort of anticipation, I went to the Florida Christian Writers Conference. I had not attended this particular event in many years and was unfamiliar with the location. As instructed, I flew into Orlando. What I didn't understand is the conference is located almost two hours away from the airport. 

I live in Southern California and scheduled an afternoon flight, changing planes in Houston then going on to Orlando. I knew I would arrive in the evening but also knew with the time change it would be OK. You can't predict what will happen when you travel. I faced the unusual on this trip.

When we boarded the plane, I noticed a passenger who reeked of alcohol and I wasn't even near him. He struggled to find his seat on the plane. Everyone boarded and they pushed back from the gate. Yet before they left, the plane returned to the gate and they took off the drunk passenger.

The delay meant we left a few minutes late but they made up the time in the air and we arrived in Houston on time. My connection to Orlando was only 30 minutes and I made it to my gate and the flight. Yet none of the six people who went from Southern California to Houston to Orlando had our luggage. The suitcases were still in Houston and would not come until the next day. 

The airline gave me a little survival kit which contained a toothbrush, some toothpaste, a comb, some deodorant, a razor and some shaving cream. I met my driver to the conference and arrived in my room about 1 a.m. EST.

Off and on throughout the next day I was checking with the airlines about my bags. They arrived in Orlando and were not delivered to the conference until about 6 p.m. I learned a few things through the experience:

Pack some essentials in my carry-on bag. For example, I didn't include any business cards in my carry-on bag and at a conference, business cards are critical. Besides cards, I needed a few key items from my suitcase. Next time I can tuck them into my carry-on bag and be more prepared.

Finally my bags arrived and I had what I needed for the event. Also I relearned the old lesson that anxiety doesn't help you one bit. There was nothing I could do to speed up the delivery of my bags or my missing material. Instead I made light of it and carried on with the business of meeting and helping writers at the event. 

I taught a single workshop at the conference which was well-received. Through my attendance at this event, I met more passionate writers with great material to get into print. I look forward to the days ahead to see how I can help them. The roots of our relationship often begin at a conference.

Despite the adventures of travel, I continue to have high expectations about my forthcoming speaking events. Thursday will begin my time at Author 101 University which is in its eleventh year. Because of where I live this year, I don't have to get on an airplane to reach this event but only make a short drive. I look forward to seeing some of you readers on the road in the days ahead.

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