If there ever was an art of travel I’m afraid I’m not familiar with it (likewise for the art of attending a conference). Calling it the art of travel implies there is a technique to it, something that you can do to make traveling enjoyable. But what I’ve found is that traveling is mosty enjoyable when I do absolutely nothing to prepare myself for it; and then I do absolutely nothing that could take away from anything that might and, inevitably, will happen (however, note to self: In the future, avoid US Airways, the worst airline in the world, even if it is just one flight out of four).
For example, everybody told me “Enjoy the sunshine” upon hearing I was going to spend time in California. As noted before, things happen: In this case, half the time it was sort of cool, grey, and rainy. But you’ve got to be open to whatever possibilities there are, and Frank Gehry’s new concert hall in dowtown LA looks very cool (almost monochrome) when the sky is grey.
A conference’s unpredictable coincidences also allowed me to see the Getty Center with its gorgeous art and architecture. Having taken my laptop and having the occasional extra time on my hands, I managed to aim for the slightly different look-and-feel of my digital photos taken there (and elsewhere) - and I don’t even have to worry too much about all that digital grain any longer. Could I have planned it? Hardly!
But I obviously could have planned what I wanted to see and where I wanted to go. Would I have enjoyed the trip more? I doubt it. Often, I find that preparation is really the enemy of enjoying travel. Did I see everything that I could have seen? Probably not. Did I enjoy what I did (and am I happy with the photos that I brought)? You bet!