I don’t leave my family often. That is to say, I don’t travel much, and so far, since my children have been born, I’ve been away via airplane exactly three times.
Thrice, in nine years. (Well, it’s actually four times, if you include the time I stayed in a hotel for two nights by myself, but that was about six blocks from my house in the city I live in. So. I’m hardly what you’d call a freaking globetrotter.) There are many reasons surrounding this that obviously have to do with children and lack of child care… blah, blah, blah… what it comes down to is I never go anywhere.
But this past weekend, I flew to Toronto for the BlissDom conference, and managed to come a couple of days beforehand so I could spend some time with my sister (who housed me) and to see each of my parents as well.
The conference itself was fun – very social in it’s atmosphere, with about 500 bloggers in the mix, sitting in on microsessions on various topics, and nibbling on food samples provided by Kraft Canada, Starbucks, and others. Chef At Home Michael Smith was milling about, giving food information about lentils, and prepared to sign his latest book. Chevrolet was one of the conference sponsors, and gave away lots of swag. I won an iTunes gift card in a draw – yay for me!
At the lunch break, Nancy and I found each other, left the Sheraton Hotel, and wandered over to The Bay’s food service counter, and noticed much ado… we each got a slice of pizza and had a seat about 12 feet away from where Jamie Oliver was signing copies of his latest cookbook for a long line of people. I made Nancy snap a pic:
He’s not nearly as blond as I thought he was. But still adorable.
After lunch, the highlight speaker for me was Jian Ghomeshi, who’s first book was released in September, called 1982, which is a memoir about that year in his life, when he was a ninth grader, trying his best to be cool. (Everyone can relate, I’m sure.) I bought the book before arriving, and actually started reading it on the plane. I’d read a rather rude and crappy review of it in the National Post in the weeks prior, so I knew I just HAD to read it. I’m enjoying it so far, as it’s really summoned up a lot of high school memories for me, in the way of music and people and such. I walked up and sat in the first row, right in front of the microphone (which is turning into something I do now) and let me tell you – besides being smart and charming and driven and whatnot, that Jian? Is eight flavours of Cuteness. He gave a fairly warm and affable talk. He signed my book for me. (If you like David Bowie and Rush and anybody awesome like that at all, give it a read.)
My friend Marci snapped this one.
There was also a cocktail party mingle-time with many of my fellow Urban Moms, and some of the SheBlogs media team as well. It was really great to meet these fine ladies and gents in person for a change. We had some drinks and ate some chips, and even went out to get a quick bite to eat with some of my cohorts.
Sidenote: During this outing, I may or may not have mock-kissed Sara for six or seven seconds in a bar, in an effort to shoo away some rabid Republican supporters who were trying to chat her up. (Romney? Really?! Please!!) It worked. They went bu-bye.
And such is the thing about being on my own, being ME again. I turn into the biggest ME that I am, since I’ve no children at my side, and my sense of freedom is short-lived. Heh.
I patted a bald men on the head. I told flight attendant that her haircut was fierce. I tell random people how much I love their shoes. Or their scents. I had dinner alone before a friend came to meet me, and started with six oysters and a glass of champagne… just because I could. I was not rushed. I smiled at people, and stared back at people who stared at me. (Well, they totally started it, right?) My eyes and ears were attuned to everything not family-related, and it was wonderful. I compliment people everywhere I go – much more often than in my usual life, only because it’s fun to do, and why not? People say plenty of nice things to me all the time.
Especially endearing are the shy ones, who made a point of coming over to tell me how much they enjoy reading my blog. That makes me want to cry. *sniff* It’s good to be in new places (even if they’re old places to me) and to spend time moving over the ground in the way I like to do it, even when the sidewalks are different than the ones at home. But they’re the same. But they’re different.
It was good to get away. I feel filled up again. I feel full of new stuff that’s just for ME. My conversations. My memories. Delicious, all.
I can’t stop smiling.
Do you travel on your own? You know what I mean?