A place where they’ll never find [I]

This is the first of a three-part story of self-discovery that coincidentally culminated with my attendance at the World Domination Summit (#WDS2013) in Portland, Oregon July 5- 7, 2013.

Everything’s outta control

A year is far too long for this introvert to go without an extended period of self-reflection. I know this, and still, I let the days slide by until more than two years had passed since my last significant “time-out.” The few weekend getaways I had managed to squeeze in somehow lulled me into a false sense of stability and security in the midst of my complicated life and an overabundance of work obligations.

My friend Patti must have sensed my need for a break and in May generously offered me her ticket to the World Domination Summit (WDS) when she discovered she could not attend. A conference with the name “World Domination Summit” could be about any number of things, so I’ll admit to researching the event before accepting her offer.

WDS was billed as an event for those who desired to create “a remarkable life in a conventional world” with an entrepreneurial slant. On the surface, it seemed very “touchy-feely” and although I am introspective, “touchy-feely” is not my thing. The speaker list was solid, and there was enough information to provide some comfort about the event’s topic. I still wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but the World Domination Summit was in Portland, Oregon and in all my travels, I had never been to Oregon.

I knew a period of self-reflection and recharge would be essential before encountering a crowd of nearly 3,000 people seeking to become remarkable, and I built that time into my trip. I flew into Sacramento on a late flight July 2 and left the next morning on a self-guided photo tour through Mt. Lassen National Park and around Mt. Shasta, before stopping in Ashland, Oregon to visit two long-time friends for a couple of days.

Feeling recharged after my visit with John and Steve, I left the morning of July 5 for the five-hour drive to Portland. My plan was to check-in before the early registration ended at 3:00 and then attend the WDS Virgins gathering—a meeting of first-time attendees to learn the ropes—at 3:30. I left Ashland later than planned, but I thought I could make it to Portland by 2:30. Two rest stops later and interesting encounter with a guitar-playing homeless woman who pulled my heart-strings to the tune of twenty dollars, I realized I would not arrive before early registration closed. Since I could register at the opening reception, my revised goal was to make the WDS Virgins gathering.

I was still on track when I arrived at the hotel a little before 3:00. I quickly showered, dressed, and left at 3:20 to attend the WDS Virgins gathering. Unfortunately, I misread the map and eventually discovered I had gone blocks in the wrong direction. It was impossible to make it to the meeting and still have time to mingle, so I abandoned that plan, too. Despite a day of missed connections, I was confident I could make it to the meeting hall in time to catch the bus to the Oregon Zoo for registration and the opening reception.

Walking to the meeting hall, I realized I had completely lost control of my day. Typically I would be frustrated with myself for making choices earlier to derail my plan, but I was not frustrated. In fact, I was very calm for an introvert on his way to a Zoo filled with the untamed energy of 3,000 people.

Read Part II: Magic set in motion

About the author

David Harkins

It’s A Process features the personal essays, fiction, and poetry of David Harkins, who endeavors to make sense of the chaos around him through the thoughtful telling of stories in what he hopes to be an engaging and sometimes humorous manner. Don’t count too much on the latter, though.

Except where noted, the photos used on this site are © David L. Harkins.

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