Hello again dear readers. It’s been a while, but a bunch of things happened last month, so I was a bit busy. I’ll cover all of them one by one, but today’s episode is about me falling into a whole new dimension of chilling out and getting this long stick out of my ass. And believe me – this is a battle I was fighting since the day I was born. This blog post tells the story of NOT getting stressed out in a situation when even normal person, not just control freak like me, wouldn’t feel comfortable.
As some of you may notice – I have this… bad addiction. I love going to conferences, meetups, user groups. Why this is bad, you may ask. Like with everything you overdo, there are some dark sides. This case it was a matter of relationship between me and my employer. You know, they hired me to do specific job – programming. And I have been at so many events this year, that it started to look like this is my main duty there. So we talked and decided that I’d slow down. I think I even promised that there were only two conferences left, after which I’d start actual work. But then … I fell off the wagon and I did another one… and another.
This of course happened while I was still working, so when Paweł asked me then, if I want to join him as a volunteer during NDC Oslo, I was strong and decided this time I’d pass. The deal is, volunteers have accommodation and conference for free while working for 50% of the time. And after I quit my job, this voice sounded in my head (yeah, I hear voices): “You know what, Basia? You’re free now… You don’t have any urgent duties. So why won’t you do this NDC Oslo? You know you want it… :)”
There was one problem though – voice spoke on Saturday and NDC was supposed to start on Monday. Such a short notice is a bit scary, for normal people, but it was a complete nightmare for a person like me, who needs week or two to get used to the fact of the next journey. So… I just asked Paweł and the organizers, if it’s not too late to join the volunteers team. And it wasn’t! In fact they needed people since Wednesday, but the organization meeting was supposed to happen Tuesday evening.
Obstacles appeared elsewhere – because of the conference, hotel was fully occupied. So I didn’t have a place to stay…Sure I could book something, but you know… it’s Norway, and Oslo… and I was without a job, and even if I wasn’t… it’s Norway and Oslo… One thing I thought about, was asking people who were supposed to be there, if anyone can help me. So I tweeted that and expected to have this problem solved till the end of the day. Unfortunately except couple of RTs, all I’ve got, was lots of laughs and jokes :). And some comments that because I’m a girl, there will be no problem for me to find a place to sleep. Far from that, I can say…
But first things first – I can worry about accommodation when I’m in Oslo. My major concert at the moment was finding a way to get there. So I started to search for flights and almost resigned from the whole idea, because of the prices. Usually tickets are ridiculously cheap, but not when you’re trying to book something two days before departure…
And guess what – I also had a talk planned at Women in Technology on Monday. Sure I might cancel that, but it was the first meeting in Kraków and Natalia was working very hard to make it happen. I just couldn’t let her down.
And there was this other thing. Did I mention, that I hate working? And price for being a volunteer was actually doing something productive.
Normally I would be stressed like hell. Normally I would give up the whole trip. There were so many obstacles, timelines, things to arrange… But this time, somehow I wasn’t. I just thought “go with the flow”, “this will be the adventure”, “think about it later” or whatever new age, chilloutish crap you can imagine. Basically I really wanted to go, so nothing could stop me. And to be honest, all of this was just a matter of good organization, and if you get stress out of the equation – everything is achievable.
So, how to get to and from Oslo and not get bankrupt? Oh… I’m so bad at finding right flights, just awful. Fortunately Michał to the rescue! The only ones that wouldn’t ruin me, appeared to be from Gdańsk and to Katowice. Second one wasn’t such a big problem, but first… it’s like 10h journey just to get to the airport. And I needed to be back on Sunday around noon, because my niece had a ballet performance, I promised her to watch.
Heading to Oslo…
Tricky part was to figure out how to get to Gdańsk, so that I can do 2pm Tuesday flight. Plan was then to do WiT talk on Monday 6pm, then grab some aftermeeting’s beer with attendees and at 11:30pm get on a bus that was taking me to Tricity. And you know what? Everything worked out. Even the night spent on a bus. My back hurt only a little and I appeared in Oslo exactly an hour before volunteers meeting was about to start.
So I came to Oslo and headed straight to some friends’ hotel room. I left my stuff there and warned them about my worst sleeping option, which was crushing their floor, if I couldn’t find another place to stay. They were somehow concerned, even tried to think about arranging some blankets, armchairs and so on… Surprisingly I wasn’t, so there was no reason for them to be like that. I couldn’t allow this to ruin my evening. I had worked so hard to get here, I wouldn’t spoil it now.
It was late evening and my situation hadn’t changed. But then, around midnight, I got the message from one of my friends about a spare bed in his room I can take. When my colleagues in the bar heard the news, they didn’t let me go to “some guy’s hotel room”, and offered theirs 🙂 Somehow problem solved itself, and around 1am I even had two sleeping options 🙂
While planning getting back to Kraków, I couldn’t gain any information about busses or trains that go to the airport for that early flight I had. From schedules I did stumble on, I found out that the earliest one goes there around 1pm. So the only way I could be on time, was heading to the airport the day before, around midnight, and staying there for the whole night. But that wasn’t my only concern – airport was supposed to be closed for the night and weather forecast announced heavy rain. Tough, I thought, but doable. Again, like Scarlet O’Hara, I decided to think about that tomorrow.
But on Friday I felt a bit uncertain. Was that going to be my last evening in Oslo? So I figured, it’s not such a bad idea to ask people who live there, if I was looking for transportation in right places. And it appeared I wasn’t 🙂 That there are busses dedicated to each flight, also to mine. And it gets even better. On my way to the bus station at 4am on Sunday, I’ve met some guy from Poland, who was heading to the same airport. And he was getting there by a bus driven by a Polish company, that is even cheaper than one from the main station. Finally trip to Kraków from Katowice was really quick, and I was even able to sleep a bit before my niece’s performance.
So… that’s it. I can’t say it was the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it was pretty close. When I tell that story, or even just pieces of it, I often get in response, that others would be very stressed and that I’m nuts. They ask me how did I pursue it. My answer is – I just really wanted to go there. Seriously – I cannot imagine that I wouldn’t do this conference just because I was afraid of sleeping on a floor, or spending a night outside, or a night in a bus, or not having enough money, or work. It was totally worth it!
My advice to all of you, who still are afraid of doing something without planning every little details, is: just do it! When there is something you really want, there’s always a way to achieve it. Best strategy here is semi passive approach – throw a ball and everything will happen somehow. To be honest I’m not trying to convince you to do it like me. I’m not telling you to go to some foreign country without accommodation option or to easily accept the fact that you’ll spend the night at the airport. I write all of this to show you that even my crazy implementation was possible. And you really, seriously cannot plan everything. You will be just fine, if only you’re able to accept the worst option.
Sure there will be some problems. They even will appear unexpectedly – it’s the nature of them. But we often try so hard to foresee everything and get stressed while figuring it out. And all those troubles are not even present yet. Maybe they never will. There is no need to panic to early. Some of them will just figure itself out. And if there are people you know, who care for you or just like you – you can count on them and they will help you.
From my perspective – I had a time of my life… till next one that was even better 🙂 But this a material for another story.