One of the things that really became apparent during my New York trip midway through October was how little time I had to myself on a convention trip these days. When I think of New York Comic Con, I tend to think of two things: firstly, going with Chloe, which didn’t happen this time because she was recovering from a migraine that knocked her out for more than a week. Secondly, and more importantly for the purpose of this post: having the time to go wander ’round the city after each day, before heading back to the hotel to file a story or maybe two.
Really, I think back to the days when I’d be covering the show for THR, and I got to decide what was and wasn’t a good story. Sure, I’d check in with Aaron back in LA, and he’d let me know if there was something he really wanted that might not have been on my radar, but otherwise, I’d be there under my own auspices and would have the brain space that came with that afterwards.
That wasn’t the case this year, where circumstances combined to give me more than enough to think about, and more than enough to keep me busy to the point where I only truly existed in two places during the trip: the convention center, and my hotel room, where I was either writing or failing to sleep. It was a rough trip, and I felt particularly burned out when it was over.
Just over a week later, I was in London for another show, and I had pretty much the same experience for the three days of that convention, too; it’s not that I had too much to do, per se, as much as I had just enough to do that meant that I was pretty constantly working for the entire time I was awake, even if said work was occasionally monitoring livestreams or having meetings. My brain was pretty consistently “on,” which paired with jetlag to leave me pretty intellectually and emotionally wiped out by the time the show finished. When I think back to the show — which just happened last week! — I pretty much can’t remember chunks of it because I was just reacting to whatever needed to be done at that particular moment. The show happened to me, if that makes sense.
(To a lesser extent, I think I’d say the same about the New York show.)
I’m saying this not to be all, “woe is me”; I actually love my job, even when I don’t necessarily like my job. (It is, after all, a job.) I’m aware of the opportunities I’m provided, and grateful for them, even as I can be aware of the ways in which I need to do better — and those in charge need to do better — to avoid burnout and overwhelming myself with everything. I’m saying all of this to lay the context for the image at the top of this post.
It’s nothing special, of course. It’s a picture I took while going for an aimless walk on the morning I left London, when I found myself with a couple of hours and, for the first time in… maybe a week and a half(?) , had nothing to do. I went for a short walk, with no intent other than to enjoy the calm and some fresh air. I had no agenda, and it was relatively sunny, and I felt… free. I did the same thing the morning after I arrived in Scotland, a handful of days later: just walked, with no agenda, to see what happened.
I need to make more time like that for myself in the future. Trips are better when I feel part of where I am, beyond simply seeing a convention center and a hotel room.