I recently published my travel column in the Montague Reporter about staying in hotels in New York City in late January. For the past twenty years, I’ve come down to the Big Apple in January to attend meetings and visit with my large travel tribe. It’s a special time…I well remember the last time we all gathered, in January 2020, when we all were optimistic and nobody had ever heard of Covid. Ahh the good old days. I’ve been writing about exhibiting at the Javits Center for years, the link is to a 2006 post. WOW.
While we no longer set up and man a booth at the travel show, I always enjoy walking the floor of a travel expo and checking out the new story ideas and interesting people. This time, however, the show has been postponed until March 18, and I’m happy that I will be down here speaking with Paul Shoul on the stage at the Javits once again.
Today is the IMM Meeting, which brings representatives from all over the world to the Javits to meet with about 300 travel writers to talk story ideas, new topics and news from where they live.
It’s the best way to establish relationships that provide travel and also information for GoNOMAD Articles. I was also pleased to meet Alyssa Pinsker, Sharon Kurtz and Noreen Kompanik who are all regular contributors to our site. In person is the best way, always.
During my visit here I got a chance to have dinner at the Spanish Diner at Little Spain, located in the new Hudson Yards district amidst the $5 million one-bedroom apartments and the Louis Vuitton and Coach stores. On my way in, I got to walk through the soaring Moynihan Train Hall, a true temple to transportation. This sparkling newly renovated former post office building with marble floors and a grand vaulted ceiling, makes the train experience so much better. It houses LIRR, Amtrak and some New Jersey Transit trains.
Today at Moynihan there are some upscale eateries and many spaces that will be filled up soon like in Grand Central with all manner of new cafes, retail stores, and restaurants. It puts the dingy corridors of Penn Station to shame. The Moynihan is attached to the other ugly terminal via a passageway that goes under 8th Avenue.
The meetings went well, we had all taken PCR tests and we wore our masks for the whole day, in every meeting. I was inspired by one gentleman from St. Martin who said he was waiting for me–my reputation had preceded me. I am hoping to make a trip to the French island in the months ahead. I also enjoyed catching up with Wendy Haase, who is now running the tourism board of Santa Ana, California.
I have worked with Wendy through her entire career, starting in 2004 when she was with the Milwaukee tourism board. It’s so fun to catch up with and keep in touch with people for decades, as was the case for me with dozens of the exhibitors I met with and ran into at the meeting. Victoria Larsen, Kirsten Schmidt and dozens of writers I have met through the years were all there, and again, so fun to catch up in person.
Last night was a final party–at an Irish bar called Twins—hosted by my friends Mike and Anne Howard of Honeytrek. I met a woman at the bar who recognized me. “You published my first article ever!” she exclaimed. I tried to recall it but couldn’t. “I just had a story published in Travel and Leisure!” she added. “You gave me my first chance.”
That made me feel damn proud.
I came away from this year’s meetings with a sense of pride and purpose. I met so many writers who had contributed stories to GoNOMAD over the years and many more who were eager to pitch stories and get published. It was a wonderful sense of accomplishment to be still doing this, exactly what I love to do, for twenty years.