Monday, December 22, 2014

Stories for Back Home: Traveling (Other than Japan)

More notes I can refer to when talking about stuff to people back home. This time, regarding my various travels around the country.

To list them: the MAGfest trip, Rockage San Jose, PAX East, Flagstaff, PAX Prime.

MAGfest takes place in Washington D.C, and its always a good time. I ran a booth, barely, with loads of help from Laura's friend Rob. It was a flurry of work, but even though all the pressure was pretty much on me, it still wasn't as stressful as any given PAX. The big story on that trip, though, was how I drove home across the country, first through snow, and then through a virus that attacked my throat like crazy. I was alone for that drive since, unfortunately, Laura had to fly to Pennsylvania to attend her grandmother's funeral and couldn't join me for the trip. (The funny thing is, though, that if she had flown to Dallas after the funeral I would have been passing through just in time to pick her up--alas.)

Rockage San Jose was one of my now-frequent trips to San Jose. I'm pretty sure I've visited San Jose more in the past few years than I've visited Louisiana, in fact. Anyway, Rockage is kind of a small convention, but it was great to visit with Jeff's old friends who have kind of become my friends as well by this point. I admire their drive to create and fuel their dreams there. And then, of course, there's Taco Bravo.

PAX East was probably the least interesting trip this year since it involved flying instead of driving and there was very little exploration to be had. We just showed up, set up, sold stuff, broke down, and flew home. I enjoyed my time as a PAX Pokemon League gym leader, though.

In June I organized a trip to Flagstaff, Arizona for the Starmen.Net convention. We saw the Grand Canyon again, spent a day in Sedona, visited a bunt and blasted volcanic area, and explored some old First Nations ruins. Also, we learned how to glitch EarthBound a bit.

Finally, on the way up to PAX Prime my van got broken into while I was spending the night in Bakersfield, CA. The thieves made off with several iPads and who knows what else. That was on a Saturday night, too, so the next day I couldn't find a place to replace the window, though I drove to several places around Bakersfield. I ended up driving to San Jose with no driver's side window, visiting with friends there, and getting the window replaced on Monday morning.

All things considered I learned a lot this year in my travels: gas station hot chocolate is cheap and effective at keeping me alert while driving, and it tastes great with hazelnut flavoring. Towels have tons of uses, and you should always bring one on every trip. Flying is a lot easier if I take Dramamine. Convention badges are great for scraping snow and ice off of a windshield. Always park in well-lit areas at night, preferably near the entrance to the hotel, especially if you're in California. Also, there really is no place like home.

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