Funny, I had to do a search of my site to make sure I hadn’t already posted this blog. Because I think about it EVERY time I go somewhere.
Travel Days are the Worst.
The Rutger’s Conference was by far my favorite to date, but I honestly don’t think I’d return based solely on what a pain it was to get to. And home from.
First of all–and this is no fault of Rutger’s, or Colorado Springs, or Vegas, etc… but I NEVER get TSA pre-approval. (See The Post Card Story) Not only do I not get pre-approved like my travel companions, but I also receive the obligatory pat-down following the full body scan. Trust me, latex-gloved lady, that’s all me.
I have shared with you my ineptitude when it comes to packing. And also, how my luggage ALWAYS gets ‘randomly’ inspected, but I tricked ’em this time–I packed efficiently in carry-on only! Take that, you dirty underwear tossers.
Seriously, I am so proud of my practical packing I may never check baggage again!
Traveling to the conference, we all began our day between 5 and 5:30 IN THE MORNING. That’s like basically last night!
We broke the trek into five legs:
1. Get to the meet-up spot.
2. Carpool to the bus station.
3. Take the bus to the airport.
4. Take the plane to Newark.
5. Take the Lyft to our hotel.
Knowing how travel days are, we flew in on Thursday so as not to be too tired for the event beginning on Friday night. They offered a free viewing of Coraline and Stardust on Thursday evening, but after our long day of legs, we took a pass. Thank goodness we came in early, though, since there was NO WAY we would have missed an Evening with Neil Gaiman that kicked off the conference on Friday.
He was awesome, but that’s a blog for another day.
Driving services are often a required part of our trips. Hotels don’t seem to offer shuttles any more. I guess it’s inconvenient for them when they are 45 minutes from the airport. Hmm, inconvenient, imagine that. Thankfully, my companions both have service aps on their phones.
After miscommunication, confusing location maps, and circling several times to avoid jams and construction, a young woman from Tobago picked us up. She was very forthcoming and chatty and shared much. Most interestingly, I thought, was the fact that she used to work for an insurance company that handled abandoned and foreclosed properties. She may have spawned a new novel series in me based on the adventures she’d had! Also of note, she took us the residential route where we got to see some of the beauty of New Jersey. Yes, beauty, you read that correctly.
We had two different drivers to and from the Gaiman event. On the way there, our driver happily shared information about the areas we were passing through. The return driver was a wonderful story-teller who took an extended detour so he could finish his tale about his early days of immigration thirty years ago.
We experienced a fabulous conference with impressive speakers, terrific workshops and sessions, great food, and awesome authors. But, alas, all good things must come to an end.
Time to tick off the legs in reverse order…sigh.
(travel days suck)
Our final driver from the hotel to the airport spoke very little English and was a challenge to converse with. No matter how hard we tried, lol.
And then we were at the airport…early, because we are efficient, and also because our flight was delayed. Then delayed again. Oh, and at least once more, maybe again, I lost track. It was a nice enough terminal with a restroom close, charging and computer stations nearby, and several dining options. But after a fully loaded and intense conference, we all just wanted to be home.
Finally at O’Hare, we quickly retrieved checked baggage (not me, 🙂 ) and scurried through the airport to the bus stop. We arrived at 7:02. I kid you not, we literally missed the bus by 2 minutes. Luckily, we were 58 minutes early for the next bus.
Please keep in mind, we don’t live at the bus station. We still had to get to the meet-up point, THEN drive to our houses.
We’d left the hotel for the airport at 10:30 am. I pulled into my driveway at 10:30 pm.
TWELVE hours of travel.
Do you remember the Friends episode where Monica bumps Ben’s head while she and Rachel are babysitting so she and Rachel “bang” their heads on the wooden beam and Rachel says, “It’s just not worth it if it’s not a headboard”? Well, that’s how I feel about 12 hours of travel that begin in Newark. That’s New Jersey, people! We could have driven in that amount of time! With 12 hours, I could have been coming home from Europe!
Travel days may be the worst, but it’s always nice to get there. And even better to be home.
More about the actual conference coming soon…
Loved this, Mary, just having gotten home from Ireland, which was magnificent and I enjoyed every minute despite rain every day (but one). Not all-day rain, but sometimes spitting, drizzling rain, other times pouring, bucketing rain, so lucky to have good raincoats/umbrellas. But traveling is the worst. Watching movies to get tired, trying to sleep sitting up, having them turn the lights on in the plane just when you’d finally gotten to sleep the half hour before…the trip to Europe is torture. The trip back’s not so bad, but customs…I have rarely got TSA pre-clearance, and I’ve also had the lovely note above in my luggage. Always overpack as well, so my bag in a shade under fifty pounds, enough to make me tense and worried about the weighing. On another note, I love Neil Gaiman and am envious that you got to see him live. Take care, mbm Mary Beth Maas
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