Later this week I’m heading off to Atlanta join friends old and new at the Type-A blogger’s conference. For the first time ever, I will be flying directly from the Type-A conference to another conference: the cPanel conference, which this year, is being held in New Orleans.
People sometimes talk about the conference season and the constant jump from one conference to another, and until now that hasn’t affected me too much, because I limit the number of conferences I go to any year and normally they are fairly well spread out.
Going to two conferences in a row, though, brings a whole new set of challenges and potential issues which I’m actually quite looking forward to.
Since I’ll be gone for more than a week, the question of ‘what do I wear?’ becomes, “how do I fit it all in my bag?”
Just fitting clothes in my bag wouldn’t be much of a problem, but then it’s not just clothes you take to conferences – and what about business cards? Do I have enough for two conferences on the trot?
At the second conference I’ll be selling books, doing book signings and having a table in the exhibition hall, so I have to ensure that I packed all the appropriate stuff but then still have enough space in my suitcase to bring home the wonderful swag that we tend to pick up at these events.
(I remember after one conference standing in the airport giving away cars and various other toys that I had picked up for my children because there’d been too much on offer and I exceeded my suitcase weight limit.)
Then of course there’s the question, “have I prepared fully?” I’m doing a workshop at one conference and then going on to do a keynote at the second conference. I’m fairly sure I’ve prepared most of each session, but with two days to go, I’m frantically finishing off and checking and double checking to make sure that I have two completed sessions prepared.
Then there’s the travel plans! Staying in two different cities and flying on a total of seven different flights means I’m beginning to wonder every now and again if I have hotels booked in the right places on the right days and transport to and from the airport arranged. Tripit tells me I have, but who believes anything a computer says?
Then there’s the notes and surprises left behind for my wife and kids. They seem to think it grossly unfair that I get to go away and enjoy myself at conferences and, while I always manage to bring back something nice that they appreciate, it’s fun to leave a note or two at home for them to find while I’m gone.
I’m thinking of hiding a gift for each of my kids among the piles of clothes and toys in their rooms, which they will only find if they actually clean up. I guess I’ll know if they good and clean their rooms by whether or not they thank me for the gifts I leave!
The next week will be very challenging yet exciting for me.
Conferences have in the past created some amazing new connections and opportunities and I’m a firm believer in the value of attending conferences – but that doesn’t make it any easier for this shy introvert, as I brave getting out from behind my desk and into the real world!