One week in Beantown

So, is there really any way to go wrong with an all-expense paid trip to a new city? No. I’m gonna go with not at all.

But I can think of 100 things that can make such a trip even more unbeatable.

I’ll limit myself to 10 though.

10. The Cheers Bar: I did not eat here, nor did I drink here (obviously), but oh em gee, this is such a big deal for those of us who weren’t allowed to watch TV as kids and thus would sneak into the basement at night to get our fill, where we stayed up all night and enjoyed classics on Nick @ Nite because that was the only channel we knew existed. Classics like Cheers — where everybody knows your name.

9. Paul Revere’s House: Apparently, you can walk all the way through this house for just $3.50. There are some tour guides who tell you a little bit about Revere’s life and all his 16 [billion] children, like 2 of which survived to adulthood. The whole time, I couldn’t help but think that boy, was I making Mr. Malara* proud.

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*Mr. Malara was my 7th grade U.S. History teacher. You could not survive that class if you weren’t a loyal American patriot. He didn’t care where your parents immigrated from; you were born here, you’re an American.

8. Networking: I’m either terrible or amazing at this. I think everyone is my best friend, but it’s only recently that I’ve been able to determine when to add someone on Facebook and when to connect on LinkedIn. At the conference, I made like a gazillion Twiends (I’m up to 417 followers!). I’m not sure what that means on the best friend-business associate spectrum, but I assume it means I did well.

7. Hotel Life: One of the main reasons I didn’t have a TV (until today) is because I can’t trust myself to stop watching Law & Order for all time, always. OK, so there’s also the fact that I couldn’t justify the purchase, didn’t want to pay for cable, and never really saw the value of keeping a TV around the house when I can get the news on Twitter and the Thought Catalog (plus BuzzFeed and my subscription to TIME Magazine — in other words, everything I’d ever need in life). But every time I get to a hotel room, I immediately go for the remote. It feels like such a treat. So I watched A Time to Kill twice in a row (cried both times), and I wasted most of my nights away watching other random crime dramas. This probably would’ve gone down differently if my hotel room had WiFi. Regardless, I regret nothing.

6. I can officially say I went to Harvard Law!

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5. Bunker Hill: I climbed 294 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument… before I realized I would also probably have to climb 294 steps down. There should really be caution signs for pregnant women. But hey, it was awesome. It felt great. I collapsed into the Bunker Hill grass when I got back down, and I limped to the nearest T stop. In fact, I limped for days. But I limped with pride, bro.

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4. Arianna Huffington: For those of us who have dreamed for years about someday owning our own newspaper (back when the newspaper was a thing), it was so exciting to be in the presence of Arianna Huffington — a woman, an immigrant, and the founder/CEO of the Huffington Post. She spoke about… well, nothing I expected. She actually spent a lot of time discussing the value of sleep.

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“Sleep is a leadership tool; it’s a performance enhancement tool.”

3. Knowledge! People paid between $1200 and $1500 to attend sessions with marketing experts and other geniuses — learning how to optimize emails for clicks and conversions, learning how to nurture leads, learning to maximize the value of a blog, the list goes on. And me? Well, I paid nothing. I won a ticket and got to benefit from the same sessions as all of these folks who’d paid zillions. I even got a free headshot! One of the coolest things about being there was realizing that everyone else my age was either some kind of intern or student. It made me really proud of myself — just to see how far I’d gotten, especially having come from nothing. It’s exciting to see how far I’ve come and how far I’ll go.

2. Scott Harrison: I didn’t expect this guy to be so high on my list, but he was everything I’d ever dreamed and more. He was some sort of junkie club promoter in New York City who decided to turn his life around and now helps to bring clean water to millions of people across the world. Anything I write here won’t do him justice, but watch Rachel’s story. And just fall in love.

Besides bringing me to so many tears, this guy really taught me a lot.

1. Nate Silver: I genuinely don’t know why Nate was at a marketing conference. But I’m not complaining. The man is a genius.

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And now we’re engaged (pending confirmation…):

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Oh, there was also a One Republic concert. I don’t know where that fits into my list.

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Last, I literally can’t handle another article about Miley Cyrus. I really can’t, I promise. OK, so I actually liked this one — but only because it’s so Newsroomesque.

Real last thing: I think I could listen to this song 100x per day. Though I’m running out of sites to access it since the music police seems to keep taking it down.

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