Friday, June 3, 2011

Amtrak to Sunny, Fabulous Portland!

I've never taken a train before. I've never traveled to a city by myself before. I've never navigated a new city by public transit before. I've never checked into my very own hotel room before.

It's a weekend full of firsts!

I had originally planned to hitch a ride down to Portland with a woman I met at Chris Guillebeau's University Bookstore talk, but she decided to drive down a few days early and I couldn't swing it. I booked train tickets instead and I'm so glad I did!

I was excited to enjoy Wi-Fi and beer on the train instead of sitting in awful traffic on I-5. The Wi-Fi didn't exactly work, but I made the best of the situation...

My seatmates were young and friendly, and we chatted easily. As I was explaining the World Domination Summit to one of them (very difficult, by the way!), a woman across the aisle overheard me and said she was heading to WDS, too!

This is Jodi Ettenberg. She's been traveling the world since April 2008, when she quit her cushy job as a corporate lawyer in Montreal. She flew in from Thailand to attend WDS.

We moseyed to the bistro car to grab some refreshments, and I was able to ask Jodi so many questions I have about doing exactly what she's done. As I sipped my beer, she told me about how she saved up money to travel, how she does freelance photography and writing to fund her adventures and how to safely navigate the world as a woman.

I'm super happy I met Jodi, and I can't wait to read through her blog, Legal Nomads, like crazy!

She also has some of the most awesome business cards I've ever seen.

Each card features a different photo that Jodi has snapped somewhere around the world. There are some really incredible shots! She let me browse all the cards and choose my favorite — a genius way to show off her talent for photography and network at the same time.

I chose this card that features her with a tiger to remind me that I could easily be in the same position someday...

I just can't get over what a great idea this is for business cards!

Jodi was on the train with her friend, Shannon O'Donnell, who is also a world traveler, writer and photographer with super-awesome business cards. Notice a theme here?

Meanwhile, I'm just proud that I made it to Portland and found my way (via the MAX light rail and some walking) to my hotel.

Forgive me for being really excited about the first hotel room that I'll have all to myself for the next three days!!

Beautiful king bed that I'll definitely jump on later.

Sweet TV and desk, where the hotel gods have blessed me with complimentary Wi-Fi.

Lovely bathroom, where I can fling all my products around and not have to share counter space with anyone else.

Such a nerd...

Aaaand, YES.

The conference kicks off with a cocktail party in a few hours. Chris Guillebeau has tweeted that there'll be two signature drinks: "First We Take Manhattan" (bourbon) and "The Frequent Flyer" (vodka).

Excitement doesn't cover it.


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