It's barely been 2 years since I started travelling out of Singapore for conferences and I've always travelled alone. Until last week, when I went to YGLF Vilnius with my good friend, Wei. And it was one of the best trips I've ever had.
We hadn't travelled together before but we did get on really really well. Although you never really know until you spend a prolonged period of time together, right? I suppose how we approach things is fairly compatible, in that, neither of us is especially stressed out about unexpected events.
For example, on our way home, our first flight was delayed thereby throwing off the rest of the connecting flights, leaving us stranded in Berlin for 24 hours. But like a mutual friend commented, there's no better city to be stranded in. So we made the best of it and hung out in Berlin for a day.
But on a personal note, this was the 3rd in a series of 5 talks, scheduled almost back-to-back in 5 different cities. I'm not the kind of person who gets energised by crowds of people, quite the opposite, to be honest.
So having a familiar face and a close friend with me did make a difference during the downtime. I think we barely said 2 words to each other after day 1 of the conference, but that was perfectly fine. She doesn't know it, but her presence did wonders for my mental health and getting through the “3rd-quarter slump”.
I know some speakers travel with their significant others and that's great but not that many are in the same industry and will actually be interested in the conference itself. So it was nice to share some of the perks of being a speaker with a friend who genuinely gets something out of it.
Not sure if I'll ever get to conference travel with her again any time soon, but I definitely hope it will happen again sooner than later.