Once upon a time, it was March 2020. I was looking forward to the fun and exciting travel presentation schedule ahead of me. I had created my brand new presentation “Budget travel: Less money, more memories!”. The presentation was fresh, new, and something for everyone to appreciate. Who doesn’t want to learn the keys and tricks to saving on modes of travel and popular destinations? I couldn’t have been more excited to be doing that presentation at six library venues around my home area. All of a sudden, the COVID pandemic struck. The whole world came to a screeching halt. The world of travel came to a halt, too. I wasn’t all too sure what was to come of this virus. I must say, the worst did happen.
My travel presentations and writing took a beating at the hands of the pandemic. Every single one of the libraries I was scheduled to present at cancelled all of their programming until further notice. So, what does “until further notice mean”? To me, it meant an eternity. It felt that the travel industry was going to be non-existent. The cruise industry shut down, theme parks couldn’t open until mid-summer, and trains were on a limited schedule. The damage never stopped coming. Finally, a glimmer of hope came. Libraries were finally showing some promise of their programming restarting. Well, not really! The Las Vegas-Clark County Library had booked my Walt Disney World presentation for October 2021. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the American Postal Workers Union convention was officially cancelled. Therefore, I decided to reschedule my Walt Disney World presentation until February 2022. Just when I thought things were looking up, the Las Vegas-Clark County Library cancelled the Disney World presentation, stating that they were allocating funds to other things. I tried to reschedule my presentation there, but the library was no longer interested. Onward and upward, right? That was the approach I took.
Late 2021, I learned of the horrible news how many New Yorkers (in New York City alone) lost their lives to COVID. More than 40,000 innocent people died of COVID. I couldn’t help but come up with a brand new presentation dedicated to their memory. I created the presentation “New York, NY: Never asleep, forever alive!”. The presentation talks about New York City highlights that are seldom spoken about, that no one get to learn about on an often basis. From the city’s railroad history, to Broadway theatres, to Radio City Music Hall, to the World’s Fair, and the USS Intrepid, I couldn’t have had more fun putting together something so special. Further, I couldn’t have been more passionate about the new presentation. To top it off, the presentation includes recommended restaurants, New York’s famed sports tradition, and popular beaches to experience during the summer months. I’m hoping that the new presentation will be booked by many library venues nationwide. That is the sole intent of the presentation. Everyone dreams about visiting New York City! Presenting on New York City at libraries around the country is the goal I truly hope to accomplish this year and potentially in years to follow. I have reached out to the Boston Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, the Miami-Dade County Library, the Denver Public Library, the Los Angeles Public Library, and even the Hawaii State Public Library. Presenting in Honolulu wouldn’t be just a goal accomplished. It would be a dream becoming a reality. The pandemic may have gotten my spirits down at the start, but who said that the pandemic would stop me from dreaming?
Wait! Did I mention that I’ve also reached out to libraries outside the United States? Oh yes, I did! I left no stones unturned. I shared my travel presentation material with the London Library, the Vancouver Public Library, the Zurich Central Library, and the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels. Hey, the Royal Library of Belgium’s website was in perfect English. What did I have to lose? In 1994 on a high school Easter trip, my peers, my teachers, and I saw the famous fountain “Mannequin Piss”. However, we couldn’t find the female fountain “Angelica Piss”. I’m confident that soon enough I will finally have the opportunity to find her. I have visited Switzerland on two prior occasions. So, why not explore that possibility? Post-COVID, anything is possible. Trust me!
Finally, it’s 2022! I have done my presentation “Cruising: Making waves & sense” at a local library near my home. In January, I had the opportunity to do my New York City presentation in the videographer’s studio, just to kick the tires and market it to the public. Recently, I did my budget travel presentation in my home area. Twenty-one people signed up! Not too shabby! July 12th, I will be doing my favorite presentation “Amtrak: Staying on ‘track’ with America’s Railroad” via Zoom for HI USA, the non-profit hotel organization. Not one, not two, but 120 people have signed up! Over the past several weeks, I have sent letters to libraries around New Jersey and around the country, sharing the Eventbrite link to register for the presentation. I have also published the link on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I cannot wait to see the level of interest this long-time favorite presentation alone will generate. Tuesday night of the 12th will be “the night”.
I cannot be happier to be back in front the crowds again, doing my presentations and sharing my wealth of knowledge about the travel world. Whether it’s on cruising, Amtrak, Walt Disney World, Washington, DC, New York City, or budget travel, the message is clear. The travel industry is back! It feels even better to say, “I’m back!”. Endemicity is around the corner, and the travel industry has made the improbable comeback that no one saw coming. The COVID pandemic posed plenty of setbacks. That’s true! Was anyone thinking about the comeback? I cannot be happier to be making my comeback this year. Not only am I happy, but I cannot be more thrilled that this time that the world will be watching.