Saturday, January 10, 2009

Headed to Miami

I’m headed to Miami this weekend for a conference. I am not a big fan of Florida. I think that’s because I associate Florida with beaches, old people, and fakeness. Maybe it’s not. Maybe I’m just projecting the ultimate of fakeness—Disney World—to the rest of the state…although I’m pretty sure I read in The Orchid Thief by Susan Oleander that at least several of Florida’s beaches are man-made. Miami Beach?

I guess I just don't think Florida is very interesting. When I travel, I want to explore new places and experience things I haven't before. To me, Florida is just one big beach, and I'm not a beach person and never have been. On top of just being downright bo-ring, I don't like getting sand everywhere on my person the minute I step onto a beach. I don't like the smell of dead fish that always seems to be in the air and seeing the bloated, decaying, and stinking carcasses of fish and other sealife that always washes up onto the beach. And, if I ever dared to step foot into the ocean again, which I probably won't, I don't like getting stung by jellyfish, pinched by crabs, and nearly pissing myself every time I think I saw a shark fin--which I remember happened a lot on family vacations to Florida when I was little. I'll take interesting, vibrant cities or snow-capped rocky mountain ranges any day over a lame beach!

While I wouldn’t personally go to Florida on my own, I’m headed there for work. I am staying at an oceanfront hotel, which I’m sure any other person would be happy about, but since it’s me, I’d much rather stay in the downtown part of the city, where I heard that there are some interesting development projects I’d like to check out. I hope the downtown is close enough to walk to.

This conference is going to teach me how to market conferences. While my job title is writer/editor, I really manage marketing communications for an international conference series. And what that means, in a nutshell, is that I’m supposed to be increasing attendance at the conferences. This is challenging because a.) Companies are slashing training budgets and conference attendance is way down and b.) I have absolutely no experience in marketing conferences in general, and specifically to international audiences. So, I am feeling a bit of pressure. Even though it's in Miami, I'm hoping to get a lot out of this conference. And who knows, maybe Miami will really win me over.

Well, I’m off to pack my thong and roller blades. Miami, here I come!