I’m baaaaack!

Ok, ok, I know it has been forever.  A lot of people have been pressuring me to update my blog, with me being the major proponent!  I’ve just been so busy.  Moving back to Columbia, taking off for Germany, visiting Oktoberfest, speaking engagements and football games!  It’s been a whirlwind of a month, but I will finally get back to blogging because I really do have a ton of stuff I want to get out there! 

First, I am fresh off my first official week of being a businessman!  Last week, I had a very full week involving traveling, speaking, a charity event, and an unbelievable football game.  Recently, I was asked to speak at Learning.com, a company based in Portland, Oregon.  So, Tuesday afternoon, I took off west.  I had a connection through WashingtonDullesAirport and had one of the best days of traveling one could ask for.  On my flight from Columbia to Washington, not only did I have an exit row seat, but I also had no seat partner.  This was all sorts of awesome because I was able to grab a quick nap and stretch out the legs!  Having nobody to sit next to on those short flights makes them fly by that much quicker (ha, no pun intended). 

I landed in Dulles.  This was probably the worst part of the travel.  That airport kind of sucks.  I had to walk pretty far, then jump on the shuttle to get to my gate, and then my terminal didn’t even have any good food (I ended up making up for it later) so I was forced to get Wendy’s.  Not ideal, but who wouldn’t want to try the finger chili that they specialize in?  So, that’s exactly what I got.  Spicy chicken sandwich and the Finger Chili®.  I then hopped on my flight to Portland.  This was a long one.  Five and a half hours.  I was looking forward to it because I needed to get some work done.  I still had some work to do on my presentation for the following day.  I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous.  I wanted to make sure my first official gig was a hit and thus prepared and prepared and prepared some more.  My seat was at the front of the plane (not first class.  I’m working towards that.) and it was one of those planes that has three seats on each side.  Up until five minutes before the door shut, I had the entire row to myself with my seat being the aisle seat.  I ended up having a seat partner, but he took the window seat with no one in between us.  I have never been through an entire trip with an empty seat next to me like I was on my trip to Portland!  I enjoy the little things, I guess! 

I ended up getting a lot of work done on the trip, and after about an hour and half, I started talking with the guy next to me.  You know, standard plane talk.  “So is Portland home?  Are you traveling for business or pleasure?”  Definitely the standard pickup line for a plane.  Haha.  Ends up he was a business owner of http://www.sportsciencewear.com/.  Their products are a big hit in the outdoor industry.  If you want to check some out around SC, you can find them at a Mast General Store and Half Moon.  We shared ideas and talked business.  A lot of stuff most people probably find boring, but interesting to me.  The conversation circled back to me and why I was traveling to Portland.  I told him about my speaking business, and he very kindly asked, “Who the hell are you that they would want to hear you talk?”  Ok, maybe not quite like that, but I figure that was probably what he was thinking.  It was a very valuable moment for me because it prepared me for my presentation the next day.  I knew I would be speaking in front of people that likely had not heard my story either.  They were just going to be seeing some incredibly handsome 22-year-old up there speaking and they were going to ask themselves that very same question when I stood up!  So, I had to qualify myself to my newfound buddy on the plane, and I would have to do the same in front of the sales group.  God has a funny way of setting things up to prepare you sometimes!  Anyway, we swapped business cards.  Maybe if I become famous enough one day, I can endorse his products! Haha.

We landed in Portland, and I took off for the taxis to take me to the heart of the city.  It was close to 8 pm, and I was ready to grab some dinner!  I checked into my hotel, and it was awesome. It wasn’t like any of the hotels I had to stay in this past summer.  IT WAS FREAKING AWESOME!  I had a huge king bed and a big bathroom with a shower (with two heads?) and a big bath tub!  The marketing team for Learning.com had even put together a gift bag full of goodies!  Business life was off to a great start!  My contact through the company advised me to go to Wildwood.  When I asked the server what they were famous for, he said it was a typical northwestern restaurant.  Let’s be honest, I had no clue what that even meant.  “Uh, well, I’m from the east coast so that means nothing to me; please explain.”  I ended up getting some oysters for an appetizer and braised pork for my meal.  It was really good.  If there is a way to get close to my heart, it’s through food. 

After a full stomach and with the time change, I was ready for bed.  Jumped into my huge king size bed and zonked out.  But, I woke up at 6:30am.  Time zones.  They are killing me!  I’ve been across 9 time zones in all of September.  Talk about a busy month.  I grabbed some coffee, hit the gym (had to work off that food!), and then grabbed some breakfast.  Had an awesome breakfast at another local restaurant and got lost walking back to the hotel.  I’m mad I am even admitting this because I usually have a great sense of direction, but I guess my subconscious just wanted a quick tour of the city!  After breakfast and my tour, it was time to prepare a bit more.  I don’t just wing presentations.  There is a good amount of work that goes into preparing and trying to tailor each presentation to the given group. 

So, let’s just get straight to it.  I walked into the room about 1:45 that afternoon to get a feel for the room and listen in on the conversations.  I was supposed to speak around 2ish.  I didn’t end up speaking until about 2:30.  By the time I stood up, I could tell their faces were melting, they were cross-eyed, and they were ready to get out of there.  They had been there all day and were tired of sitting in the same seat all day.  I mean, it’s a sales team.  These people aren’t used to staying in one spot for more than a few hours, if that.  And to add to it, it was some guy they had never heard of and a 22-year-old!  Some were probably ready to flip out of their chair.  That said, I had to keep calm and carry on.  I went through the presentation, and they were great.  I know they probably didn’t want to listen at all, but they seemed engaged, and it was a good start to mtrE.  I attended a dinner party with the entire company, then took off for the airport to catch the red-eye back to the east coast.  I was smart (or was I?) and grabbed a NeuroSleep drink.  I used it before to pass out on the bus during pro ball this past summer so I was looking for the same result.  It didn’t work.  I had my window seat all ready to go, set to pass out for 5 hours.  Well, whoever designed that plane clearly didn’t want people to lean their head on the window.  It was the most uncomfortable window ever.  I got maybe 2 hours of crappy sleep and had the rest of the ride to kill.  It was miserable.   I was so relieved to finally arrive in Charlotte.  Caught a quick flight to Columbia and was back in my bed by 9am!

All in all, mtrE is off to a great start, and my trip to Portland was awesome!  It was a very cool city and very different from any city in the south.  I wish I could have stayed a bit longer but other things were calling!

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