As a teacher, I can tell you that what–or how much–you learn matters less than how you use that knowledge. So for our next trip, I fully intend to use as many of the lessons I learned about travel (and about myself) on The Europe Trip, thus (hopefully) ensuring a more successful trip.
Of course, the fact is that this is a very different sort of trip. Apples to oranges, Europe to NCTE Convention, Paris to Disney World. However, like most authentic learning experiences, I truly believe that the lessons transfer over quite nicely. Take, for example, my decisions on flight options. I could have taken a (slightly cheaper) flight home from Orlando, landing over an hour’s drive away from my house at 11pm on a Sunday night. This would have given me an ‘extra’ day to possibly spend at one of the Disney parks–after checking out of our hotel. But based on lesson number twelve ‘just because you have the time, it does not mean you should spent it’, I knew that this was a bad decision. Thus, we’re flying home at 2pm–three hours after check out, which is perfect–and flying into our local airport, less than 15 minutes from our house (which also works with lesson number fourteen: ‘it is worth the extra money you’d spend to fly into and out of somewhere closer to your starting and ending points’!) Additionally, I know that one is very exhausted towards the end of a trip–even a shorter trip, like this one–and trying to do a park (full of lines) at the end would be a poor choice.
I’m also heeding the advice of lesson number thirteen: ‘it is worth the extra money you’d spend to stay somewhere more centrally located’. As the main convention resort was sold out, we had the option of staying anywhere else for less money, or staying at the more expensive, but very conveniently located overflow resort. Overflow resort, here we come!
Lesson number three is a big one–’guidebooks are bullshit’–though I feel this may be less true when looking at a place as unreal as Disney World. Still, I’ve adopted what I feel is a very realistic planning policy for this trip. You see, this trip has two parts–the larger, more important, grown-up part of the professional convention, and the smaller, less important but just as fun, bonus-prize Disney portion. So it requires two different planning approaches.
For the convention, I will have a binder. I had a binder last year, and it worked out very well. I need to know the important location and time information about the sessions I want to attend. This is very grown up of me. But for Disney World–no planning. Because do you know who has the most fun at Disney? Kids. And do you know what kids don’t have? Guidebooks. Binders. Highlighted itineraries. So I’m not going to have those things either. I’ll have purchased my tickets ahead of time (because you have to to get the convention ‘after 4’ rates), but that’s it. And if that means that all we get to do is wander around and look at the park, then that’s what we’re doing. I am not running about, collecting fast passes and checking attractions off a list. I’m going to eat an ice cream cone and get my picture taken with Mickey and hold a balloon. That’s it. Oh–and follow my husband around whilst he ‘drinks around the world’ at Epcot. If they have anything other than beer, I may actually join him in that pursuit.
Finally, there’s one more rule that I shall be forced to follow–thankfully–as we are not paying for wireless internet at the resort. Following lesson number seventeen–’blogging whilst traveling is not always the best idea’–I shall not be posting on here during the trip. Am I taking my netbook? Of course–it will be incredibly useful for note taking at lectures and workshops. Will I use it to write possible posts? Probably not–after all, the resort has a 24-hour pool and jacuzzi area. And the netbook is not waterproof.
Honestly, no matter what, I’m thinking there will be some good things about this trip. If all else fails, it is so very uplifting and inspirational to be around so many amazing teachers–teachers who take time out of their lives and money out of their own bank accounts (like I’m doing) to attend this fantastic convention. I can hardly wait. Sixty-five more days to go! (hey…there was no lesson about not counting the days!)