In the past when I’ve attended the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, I’ve gone with some level of fear. “Was traveling the right thing to do when I had so little money?” Over the years I’ve realized that money will be spent whether I travel or not and I decided that this trip was worth it to me as a writer.
As an undergrad several years ago, the professor asked for a show of hands of students who had traveled out of the country. To my shock my hand was the only one not raised. Several years later I’ve still not traveled out of the country. In fact I can name only a few states within the US that I’ve visited. So with my limited travel experience, three feather boas and jittery nerves I left my house at 4 a.m. to begin my journey to Washington, D. C.
On the train I had a sleeper car which was more comfortable than a regular train seat. Though no bigger than a closet, the room had two seats that converted into two beds, a toilet, a sink and a table. It was pretty cool. Once we were settled in our room, it was time for dinner in the dinning car. It took me a second to walk steadily down the hall. The motion of the train was consistent at times and then at other times it would jerk a bit and I would loose my balance.
In the dinning car I fell into my seat. I took a menu and started to look it over. Once we’d made our decisions it was time to place our order.
“What room are you in?” the waitress asked.
I stared blankly at her. I hadn’t thought to look at my room number.
“What’s your car number?” she asked.
Again I was silent. Fortunately the gentleman who was talking care of the rooms on our hall came through and gave the waitress our car and room number. After dinner we went back to our room and went to bed. The next morning we were about three hours from Washington. At breakfast the next morning we watched all of the cool places we passed as we ate. After breakfast we returned to room. The beds had put away and the seats were upright again. We were preparing to exit the train. The gentleman who took care of us got our bags and otok them to the door and we got into our big winter coats. We hurried down the hall and got off the train with the help of the Amtrak Staff. As we hurried toward the train station, we nearly passed out. It was hot as hell. The temp was 70. We shed our coats and proceeded to the next step of our journey.
At the hotel, the clerk behind the desk looked up our reservation then smiled and said, “I’m upgrading you to a Deluxe King Room.” The original price of the room was $1,500 a night.
When we got to the room, It was very luxurious and had a beautiful view.
The rest of the trip was onderful! I met a lot of new people and ran into a lot of friends. We went to several very good sessions including one that was a tribute to poet Rita Dove. In the Exhibit Hall we visited lots of booth including the Mississippi University for Women’s Booth where I met up with Dr. Kendall Dunkellberg the director of the MFA Program.
On Saturday we explored some of the sites of Washington.
I enjoyed this trip so much! I experienced so many new things and I look forward to talking more about this trip.