The Quiet Before the Storm

Looking back at my photos from Altitude Summit in Palm Springs brings so many mixed feelings. I’m happy that my business partner Lidia and I were able to enjoy the desert life for a few days, but little did I know it would be the last of it for a long while.

The Quiet Before the Storm

The conference took place March 1-6–right at the beginning of everyone really wondering if this “virus” was going to get worse. Like many people here in the states, I felt a false sense of protection from things happening in other countries. We knew about the virus, but it wasn’t yet “our” problem and we assumed we could handle it. Just wash your hands, no hugging, all good. Right? Wrong.

Fast forward a week, and it was made very clear we were in for a very scary global rollercoaster. As news of the pandemic rapidly grew within days, my birthplace and home to my heart, New York City, became the epicenter. I worried about my family there, especially my uncle who works for at hospital overseeing its engineering department.

I worried about my mother and stepdad, who live in Texas in a community of pilots, who were flying in and out possibly becoming sick. To make matters more concerning, we made the decision to have my son stay in his apartment next to school because 1. He lives in a community with college aged kids, and would pose no threat to older, vulnerable people 2. Many of the students went home after classes went digital, so density was low 3. He could be asymptomatic and pass to my fiance, who is asthmatic. 4. Our household was higher rick than his, as my fiance’s job is considered essential and several of his clients are hospitals. He and I agreed this was the safest decision for all. But man, it’s not easy.

To think, just a few weeks ago, Lidia and I were presenting at Alt Summit, hanging out in our cute Airbnb, and driving around in a new bright red Chevy Blazer without a care in the world. I look back with an even bigger appreciation for having the freedom to do that.

Freedom to explore. Freedom to eat at a restaurant. Freedom to congregate in crowded rooms. Freedom to drive on the open road with friends.

These are all things I took for granted.

Knowing that it will be a while until I can do this again has given me a deeper appreciation for these moments. This trip has become more meaningful to me, and one that I will cherish for a long time.

It all started with a loaner delivery from Chevy. I asked for a “girls trip” car, and they certainly delivered. Not only did they pull up in their signature Hot Red color, but it was a Blazer–one of my favorite all-time models.

Lidia and I have been working so hard the last two years to build our agency, I really wanted us to drive in comfort and style to Palm Springs. This was perfect. I always dreamt of owning a red car, but end up playing safe. Fantasy fulfilled.

As you know from my New York trip, I like stylish bold, tough, and sophisticated SUVs. I’m trying to decide which one I loved more – the Traverse I drove in NYC or the Blazer. Leaning towards the Blazer because I found it a lot more manageable zipping in and out smaller spaces. But the jury is still out.

Lidia and I thoroughly enjoyed the heated front seats–not because it was cold but because it felt good on our bad backs! We sit at the computer for a ridiculous amount of hours, which makes a heated seat feature a dream come true. It’s the little things, right?

We also felt really safe driving around. Our Airbnb was about a 20 minute drive to and from the conference, which was a little nerve-wracking for me, especially at night through the desert. Like they say, you can take the New Yorker out of NYC…you know?

Fortunately, the car came equipped with seven airbags, an HD rear vision camera, and LED daytime running lamps, to name a few things. As long as I kept my eye on the road, we were all good.

The conference was such a great experience. But then again, Alt Summit never disappoints. I presented a solo-talk on my journey with chronic pain/illness and entrepreneurship while Lidia presented two workshops focusing on making a living in social media management. After a full day of conferencing we headed back to our cozy digs to catch up on work, TV shows, and make food. I was also invited to a really inspiring dinner hosted by the Riveter with other really awesome women entrepreneurs.

Had I known the stage would be so colorful, I would’ve picked a more neutral outfit. This is a bit much, but what are ya gonna do? It was a great presentation, and I’m happy it helped people see that their chronic conditions is more of an asset than hinderance. Note for next time though: tone it down.

There you have it. The last of travel and large groups for a long while. And I’m so glad I was able to do this with my business partner–she has been a true right hand for me, and I wanted to make sure she knew and felt that this CEO has her back too.

Thank you to Alt Summit and Chevy for making this a week to remember!

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