About three weeks ago, my friends at the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination asked me to join them at the annual meeting of the Society for Scholarly Publishing for a “book sprint.” I’ve done similar sprints with them before — in collaboration with the WorldBank’s EVOKE project, I wrote a complete 10-page comic book script on the future of human trafficking. But knowing that my airfare would be paid for, I started to wonder if I could turn this into visit to my parents, who live about four hours away from Vancouver in Twin Peaks country.
And then I started to wonder: could I see more people? Could I finally hang out with some of the collaborators and clients and friends who had invited me out to the West Coast after our various engagements?
As it turns out, I couldn’t. Not quite. In fact, I had to cut out an event at the XOXO Outpost in Portland, because it conflicted with my other commitments and the Amtrak schedule. (They had invited me and everything! I’m still glum about it.) But if I jiggered my Amtrak schedule just right, I could hang out with friends and family, and make some (but not all) of the appearances and meetings I wanted. Why Amtrak? Well, because aside from airfare in Vancouver and some very gracious family and friends who are letting me stay with them, I’m paying for this myself. And currently, the Canadian dollar is only worth 77 cents on the American one. This exchange rate is what’s keeping me (and David) from attending more conventions this year. Because for every American dollar we spend, we’re really spending about $1.30. So that four-city Amtrak ticket that cost $250.00 US? Really cost me about $330.00. Which is still less than the cost of a plane ticket, and doesn’t include a three-hour line for the TSA.
So! The “tour” dates:
June 1-3: Vancouver. Society for Scholarly Publishing book sprint
June 7: Seattle. University Bookstore, Event with Adam Rakunas and Brenda Cooper, reading from Company Town.
June 10: Los Angeles. Attend meetings, say hi to foresight clients.
After that, David will be joining me in Los Angeles, and will finally be meeting some of my family there. I’m incredibly excited about it. The last time I was in LA, it was because my wallet was stolen in San Francisco, and I spent two weeks on my friend’s couch waiting for new documents. It feels wonderful to return to the city of my birth in triumph. Watch this space for updates.