Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Traveling in Pairs - When You Have Different Interests

A "Game of Thrones" Prop
My husband and I have just returned from Worldcon 2011 - "Renovation".   We like attending Worldcons because we can be together, but we can split up to follow our own interests at times. Before we found out about science fiction conventions it was sometimes hard deciding where to go on vacation.

Because WorldCons are held in a different location every year, they give us a great excuse to travel.  Since 2002, they have been held in San Jose, Toronto, Boston, Glasgow, Anaheim, Yokohama, Denver, Montreal, Melbourne, and this year in Reno.  (We haven't been able to afford all of these).  There are alternate conventions for those who don't want to travel across the United States or out of the country.

We save money on hotels because convention staff does its best to get special Convention rates.

We like Worldcons because they are big enough that you can meet new people, but not so small you keep seeing the same faces. In a way, it is like a big family reunion - if you could choose your family.

We appreciate that local fans provide a lot of information on what to do in the area.  For example, at Renovation there was a panel on What to Do in Reno, another on Casino Gaming, and a wonderful lecture/slideshow by author Kim Stanley Robinson about his travels in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Fans also published a resource guide with restaurant reviews and retail locations and had an information table where someone was usually available to answer questions.

I like Worldcons because they give me a chance to see and hear some of my favorite science fiction authors.  I can ask them to sign their books while they are in an autograph session. I could even have signed up to have a drink with one of them at a Literary Tea or Beer.

I like the wide number of panel topics and activities.  I often have a hard time choosing what to attend when my husband and I are coordinating our schedules. We seldom go to the same panels - for example, I attended "What's Up With Zombies?" while he went to a panel on "The Arab Spring." I like the dances and parties and music and demonstrations and the Masquerade and the Hugo Awards Ceremonies and the dealers room and the art show and the movies and anime....

Each WorldCon will be different, of course, and programming and participants will vary from year to year depending on what the committee decides, who is available, and local regulations.

You can check out the Renovation site for more information on what happened this year, but every year is different.  If youve never been to a convention like this you can look at the Geek Calendar for something that is near you, or you might find other fans that share your interests and find out where they are going.  Most small conventions are entirely fan-run, so if you really want to get involved you can offer to be a volunteer.  Volunteering can be a lot of fun, but hard work.

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