Last week took me to sunny Palm Springs, CA, for the annual PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference. No other event is more targeted to what I do every single day at work than this conference. I love getting to see old friends in the tourism industry and making new ones. Plus, Palm Springs is not the worst location to have to travel for work, right?
The conference was held at the Riviera Palm Springs Resort, just ten minutes from the Palm Springs airport and easily accessible to all of the city’s hot spots. The beauty of this conference is that you get to hear from major travel editors and journalists in the industry, while also rubbing elbows with them at networking events. I mean, how often do you get to talk Tupelo with Samantha Brown, face-to-face?
Tuesday morning, I participated in a fun run with everyone else crazy enough to get up and run through the desert. It was hot, even at 6:45 a.m., and the 5K I ran seemed way harder than usual, as a result. They say it’s a dry heat. But, hot is hot and at least in the humid South, I know when it’s time to hydrate. I loved getting to experience Palm Springs while running, and the view made it worth those hot miles.
Our closing reception was held at the Dinah Shore Estate in Palm Springs. The plush, mid-century modern estate is now owned by Leonardo DiCaprio and is situated in the same neighborhood as homes once owned by members of the Rat Pack, Marilyn Monroe, and Liberace. Elvis’ honeymoon cottage is also in the neighborhood, so my new friend, Rachel from San Jose, and I hopped in an Uber and made it our mission to find the home. Of course I had to check it out!
My trip to CA included quality time with my first and forever best friend, Elizabeth. We met at Disneyland for a magical morning of roller coasters and catching up. We would have been happy to just sit in the car and talk all day, and with the crazy traffic getting in to the park, that almost happened.
This was my first trip to the original Disney park. I consider myself a Disney World pro at this point, but that prepared me in no way for this visit. Walking into the park was like stepping back in time. We maximized our visit by hitting the rides that were exclusive to Disneyland. The Matterhorn Bobsleds, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and Pinnochio’s Daring Journey, were a few favorites.
Elizabeth and I took a 72-hour trip to Disney World when we were in college. A Friday afternoon phone call from her at Ole Miss to me at the University of Alabama resulted in the two of us driving through the night to Orlando in time for rope drop at the newly-opened Animal Kingdom. Rather than buying food and a hotel room, we brought snacks from home and purchased Disney souvenirs. We ventured to the Magic Kingdom that afternoon, stayed through the fireworks, and drove home. The whole way down we talked about riding Space Mountain first. When we arrived, it was closed for refurbishment. So, it was only fitting that Elizabeth and I chose Hyperspace Mountain as our first ride together at Disneyland. It was well worth the almost 20-year wait! (Ummm, yes I did the math correctly and I, too, am shocked.)
My trip to Palm Springs was pretty fabulous. It’s less than two hours from both Los Angeles and San Diego and Joshua Tree National Park is about an hour away. Make it your base and it’s the perfect place from which to explore all that beautiful, sunny Southern California has to offer. I learned a lot, met some new tourism friends, spent time with my forever friend, ate some great food, and got to experience a new place. This trip was just the first of many this summer that will keep me on the run and I look forward to sharing it all.
2017 Miles to Go: 483