My worst fear when flying? Well, obviously, crashing. Hearing from my pilot “there seems to be a plane engine leaking on the right side of the aircraft,” well that’s a new fear I experienced recently. In my head the following took place: plane engine leaking? Wait, what?! I’ve got to get to California people, what’s going on!!!!
Plane engine leaking? No worries, just drink up and enjoy the irony
Note to self: when deciding to go cross country to attend a conference, don’t fly sober. When the first plane I’ve been on in 6 years has its captain announcing we seem to have a plane engine leaking, and I’m sober, it’s not a fun flight for ANYONE involved. Oh yes, my friends.
Have you ever had a friend who pushed you to go out of your comfort zone?
Let me rephrase it. I wasn’t pushed. Rather, THROWN off a cliff into the most scary situation imaginable. I found a brave new world, compliments of a conference I attended in Anaheim in February of 2014. It all started when someone I’d only met through the internet enticed me with this new network she’d started. Even better, it wasn’t just a network! A kick ass conference was planned, too. WAIT FOR IT………
The conference was taking place in Anaheim, California. I live in New York, and California’s three thousand miles away. A long-ass plane ride is necessary to travel to California, in case you were wondering.
Reality sets in
My heart sunk. It damn near fell out of my chest. My new friend, took me to the highest of highs. She then dropped me back down to Earth. I can’t blame her, she had no clue I have a major fear of flying. It wasn’t something I’d had my entire life. It started after my kids showed up. Yes, I know it’s a silly fear. However, for those of us with this fear, it’s a real one. A serious one. It stops us in our tracks, and causes us to miss amazing opportunities. Devastate, I broke the news to my new friend, and she immediately told me “Tough, you’re going to come. I won’t let you miss this event. It’s too important.”
Sure. No problem. <insert eye roll here.>
I slept on it, spoke to Mr. Sunflower, and he reminded me it was also my chance to visit with my cousin who’d just battled Melanoma AGAIN. It would be my chance to finally meet his wife, in person. I would be able to meet his son, in person. No FaceTime. No phone. Rather, in person, in California. We also discussed taking the kids out of school, and bringing them. He could do things with them while I attended the conference, and we could take them to California Adventure to experience Cars Land. We could even do Disneyland. I told my friend “YES, I’ll be there.” I was all brave, and courageous. I bought that conference ticket without even thinking twice.
Plans fell through, the kids couldn’t go, but at this point, I’d promised I’d go. Plus, bought my conference ticket. I bit the bullet, bought my plane tickets, as well as, reserved my hotel room at the sponsor hotel, Hyatt Regency Orange County. I was going, come hell or high water. I’d told my cousin I’d be out there, and he told me he’d get me at the airport when I flew in. Everything was set, and I began planning for the trip. I bought a new camera bag. Got me some luggage locks that were TSA approved. New TOMS were purchased for my travels, and a new ScotteVest so I’d have lots of pockets for my flight!
My cross country trip starts with a plane engine leaking
Here I am in my new TOMS shoes waiting for my first flight from Long Island to Baltimore. Innocently waiting, never expecting my plane engine leaking anything upon our departure.
Good news? My first flight boarded on time. Bad news? The engines were started, and “what’s that you say? The second plane engine leaking something? Well, that’s just pure awesome.” It took all of my strength not to tell them I was done, let me off. There’s no way I’m waiting in my seat, with a plane engine leaking, in order to see if it’s good to take off. While sitting there, I text-ed friends to calm me, so I wouldn’t cry.
I was determined to get to California. Plane engine leaking, or not. FINALLY, the plane was fixed, but we left Long Island an hour later than scheduled. You all know, with a connecting flight, how scary leaving late can be! I’d be lucky to catch my connecting flight. We landed, and I had FIVE MINUTES to run to the next plane. I ended up jammed between two people for a five hour flight. Awesome-sauce.
Touch down in California
All of it was worth it once I landed, and my cousin met me at the airport. It was the first time in about 13 years we’d “seen” each other. I could hug him. It was surreal. All the stress was worth it, just in that moment. Even better, I got to hang out with his wife, and son. PRICELESS. I missed my babies, but it was so nice to be with family. I spent most of the day with them, and then settled in at the hotel.
Disneyland called my name. My new friends, and I, went to both California Adventure, and Disneyland. It was great to bond with these girls! Friendships for life, for sure. Anyone who doesn’t mind me climbing into the trunk of a Kia Cadenza to see just how big it is, is aces in my book! Even better, they wanted to climb in with me….wish we’d gotten a photo of all of us in the trunk!
I got to experience my first Dole Whip Float at the Tiki in Disneyland, and came close to buying my son a souvenir Cars popcorn tub at Cars Land at California Adventure. It wouldn’t fit in my carry-on for the return trip to New York. I also went on my first roller coaster in YEARS. I think the last time I was on a roller coaster I was a teenager. Wha-What?!!
Now, the conference. Panels rocked my socks from people like Doug Bowman from Twitter, and Peggy Bendell from Bendell Communications. The beautiful, and talented Andrea Schroder, who happens to be married to Rick Schroder (yes, the one from Silver Spoons,) spoke about her passions, as well as finding her voice. We spent a lot of time with Dan Morris and Rachel Martin from Blogging Concentrated fame, and the most amazing Marcy Massura from MSL Group brilliantly spoke about working with PR companies. The learning was INSANE. The people attending were amazing.
Shows and movies previewed
We also screened the new season of Dallas, as well as the new show Private Lives of Nashville Wives. Screened Mom’s Night Out, coming to theatres on May 9th! We got to hang with Sarah Drew after the screening, along with Andrea Nasfell, and Kevin Downes. The following day, we were honored with the amazing Sean Astin’s presence (yeah, you can be humble about it, but you’re a phenomenal person, even if you did pick on me about my stellar camera angles.) Last but not least, the show stopper performance of them all, the fabulous Genevieve Goings. Yup, that’s right, Miss Choo Choo Soul herself!
As if all that kind of fun wasn’t enough, we got to check out the Disneyland Fireworks show from the beautiful Anaheim Resort RV Park. I never knew RV’s could be this beautiful……
….and the food and fireworks weren’t bad either. We had BBQ and a chocolate fountain. Delicious!
Wrapping up this whole experience in on thought? It’s not just about the learning you do at a conference, although it was top notch, but more about the bonds you make with “your people.” Forever grateful to this conference (which no longer exists,) and my friend’s “I’m not taking no for an answer” attitude. It’s just what I needed.