2007 was a big year for me in both good and bad ways. Ups and downs always occur within a year, but this year was especially wavy for me.
Let's start by participating in the Year in Cities. My cities haven't been terribly exciting this year, last year included Tangiers, Gibraltar, and Marbella, Spain, but I did still manage to travel quite a bit. I even achieved Gold status with American Airlines this year, which doesn't get me anything because you need to be at least Platinum to get the worthwhile benefits like free upgrades and Admiral's Club access, but at least it shows that I'm on my way. To something. I think. Okay, the cities:
Los Angeles, CA (where I live)
Long Beach, CA (where I work)
Nashville, TN (where my client is) - I travel to Nashville multiple times throughout the year. I usually only go for a day if I can help it. The layout of the city is still a mystery to me, the only bearings I have are how to get from the hotel to the office, but there hasn't been much of a reason for me to get to know it.
This month I'll be staying for a few days and visiting the Jensen-Inman's in Chattanooga. So there you have it, a reason to stay.
Austin, TX - My second year at SXSW and also my anniversary with Dave. SXSW probably isn't the best interactive conference around, they definitely favor quantity over quality, but the networking potential is invaluable. For me, it’s really about the people I meet, the friends I make, understanding the technologies they're using and becoming a part of their social networks. If I didn't become one with the geeks, I wouldn't have a clue about the technologies and applications coming around the bend.
This year was cut short by my mom getting hit by a car while riding her bike. At first I didn't know how to react. It was the third time she had been hit by a car while riding her bike (the previous accidents resulted in either broken bones or minor injuries) and I was going to be damned if I was going to come home for this. It wasn't until I got a call from my dad later that evening telling me that after hours of surgery they still hadn't found the source of her internal bleeding, that I realized that I should have been on the first plane out of Austin.
It was a long road and she's still recovering, but she's much better now. She gets around with a cane, has started to drive again, is doing more and more things for herself, and I think she's finally peeking out of her depression long enough to come to the acceptance phase. She'll never have the active life that she knew before the accident, but hopefully she'll see the potential in finding new things to make a life with.
Dallas, TX - I went here for research and left as quickly as I could.
New York, NY - I also went here for research, but because I went straight here from Dallas I was able to take some time for myself and explore the city. I spent most of my time walking around so much during the day that I was physically spent by the time evening came around. I did manage to go out for one night when I went to go see John Oliver perform at a little basement club north of China Town. Before the show I went to a little Mexican restaurant, called Barrio Chino, before the show to have some dinner and kill some time before the show, which is where I met Simon, a Brit also on his own and going to the same show as myself. We ate, drank and talked for the rest of the night. He was perfect serendipitous company.
I also managed to get some Christmas shopping done. Mind you, this was in May. I was getting off the subway at Spring St. and noticed out of the corner of my eye that the Cleo & Patek boutique was having a 50-70% off sale. It didn't take me long to decide that Dave's mom needed a new purse for Christmas. Dave considers this to be a prime example of how I work.
San Diego, CA - My first account planning conference. Met a few fellow bloggers and a lot of really nice people, but no one I really felt comfortable with. I'm best with fellow geeks and people I know from regular interactions.
I did manage to meet Gareth Kay, whose blog I've been following for a while, and was flattered to find that he knew who I was and he encouraged me to keep blogging. (My apologies for the lack of posts, free time has been limited.)
Toronto, ON - I had high hopes for this trip. Unfortunately, nothing came of it.
Chicago, IL - I went here twice on research. The first time I managed to overdose on deep dish stuffed pizza and see Millennium Park. The second time we walked through a blizzard to get to De La Costa, a Latin American/Pacific fusion restaurant. The food was great, and the weather was pure Chicago.
Seattle, WA - Bumbershoot! God I love Bumbershoot. One of the best multi-day music festivals EVAR! Keith and Stacie were nice enough to open their home and share their bus passes with Dave and me, which made the weekend financially possible. Highlights - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Andrew Bird, Golgol Bordello, and as always, the Flatstock poster exhibit.
Vancouver, BC - Spent a lot of time in this fair city because Dave lives there. This year we went ice skating, I snowboarded for the first time, we played video games where Dave always soundly beat me, we went to Lynn Valley, hiked through Stanley Park, walked around the city a lot, visited the Museum of Anthropology, cooked together, and ate at some amazing restaurants. Vancouver is a great town to eat in. If you enjoy food, spend some time in Vancouver - be sure to stop at Guu Izikaya, Havana, Stella's, Habit, Hon's Won Tun, Vij's, Salt Tasting Room, Wild Rice, and SoCial.
Kamloops, BC - More commonly known as "The Middle of Nowhere." Dave's parents live there. We spent Christmas with them and I managed to limit my swearing to a bare minimum. I met Dave's new nephew and spent time on Dave's uncle's farm where I met his grandmother. I also drank too much champagne at dinner but managed to come off positively. Don't ask me how.
So that was pretty much my year explained in my travels, which happened to coincide with a few major life events. To my friends who follow this blog to keep up on what I've been doing, I'm sorry that the tone and subject material has changed so much. Its not nearly as funny and entertaining as it used to be.
Next year more Vancouver, more Nashville, some London (saving up my vacation days for that), and a little bit of Calistoga wine country for my sister's wedding.