First day of Collaborate 2016 conference. This is a conference for my muggle job – the one that pays the bills.
The day started painfully early – this being any time I am required to rise before the sun – 4am being this “time” today.
Flight was scheduled to depart from Austin at 6:30am – this is the first time I’ve ever “not” arrived at the airport 2 hours prior. This was un-necessary stress that I will likely avoid in the future – it was not that there was any issue, or that the time was any less productive; it was just the stress of being nervous in the line for security, verses knowing that there was ample time. The feeling rushed to head to the gate verses ambling along down to the spot. The boarding being so quickly after arrival at the gate.
This flight was on SWA – an airline I tend to avoid due to the cattle call style seat assignments – this was the least expensive (by alot) option and best/direct flight. It was a no brainer, and a necessary evil for me. While I had looked at the option, and almost accidentally upgraded my seat to business class (491.00 additional charge at 5:35am when I had not had coffee – being as Starbucks had not been opened when I had passed them) it wasn’t really a viable option.
I’m guessing, that the fact that it was a Sunday morning, and so early – would the the reason that my flight was not entirely full – just mostly full. When I boarded, in boarding group B – even having paid the 15$ upgraded boarding – B55 – I headed for the very back of the plane – this was for two very distinctive reasons.
The first being my late arrival had prevented me from using the bathroom prior to boarding. And the second being that I wanted an aisle seat and the others were all taken. This also worked out well; as I normally check my bags so as not to navigate the airport with them, knowing the conference was starting half an hour before my arrival to the hotel, I wanted to be able to get to it as quickly as possible, and didn’t want the delay of waiting at baggage claim.
This small choice made for a synergistic combination – I exited the terminal and headed to pick up transport to the hotel. There was a shuttle, fairly reasonable priced, and I boarded. The very next lady to board was also hurrying along to the conference, and was also from Austin – she was also attending as her company is doing the same upgrade this year, and she also works in Finance.
The fates, as usual had been kind and blessed me with exactly the opportunity that I needed – someone to network with; that was super happy to have met someone so quickly with so many like circumstances.
I was charming – this was due to the fact that the shuttle driver had hit on me, and been very flirty and I had greatly enjoyed this attention – and the fact that I too felt the connection and kindship of meeting a fellow Texan/Austin attending for precisely the same reason.
We got to the Mandalay Bay hotel; and it was right around 8am. We headed through the gallery style entrance, and eventually winded our way over to reservations. I paid for the early check in on my reservation and was able to get into my room right away, this turned out to be quite a boon.
We headed over to registration and got checked into the conference and got our first batch of ribbons – hooked back up with my new conference BFF (hence forth known as D) – and we discussed the many many many options – we headed to Starbucks – there are 2 full Starbucks inside the hotel – as well as approximately 12 full restaurants, two food courts, several casinos, two full convention centers, an extensive beach, multiple show rooms, clubs and bars, shopping center and just general an incredible amount to see and experience all in the confines of the hotel itself. We discussed options, and attended divergent paths, in order to pool notes and share information.
~~ More notes here —
In hindsight, I wish I had continued to make detailed journal/logging like I did this first day, and wish I had finished the first day of information. This didn’t happen.
It was a great experience, the week was incredible valuable, uplifting and inspiring and I had the chance to engage and collaborate with so many different individuals from so many paths, so many companies, so many different experiences, all sharing the experiences with working with Oracle. I learned many things to help me with our transition.
More what I learned the most was that I need step out of the box experiences to rejuvenate. I need solo trips, where there is one purpose, and I am allowed to be completely spontaneous for everything else, because while this experience was exceptionally tiring, it was also very very uplifting to my spirit.