Sometimes being sick has its advantages. I’ve cancelled all my appointments today and found time to write a blog post. I hope you’ll humor me as I reflect on the craziest week in my professional career. It was my Southern Los Angeles eBoot Camp tour that spanned five days and included four social media workshops and one private consultation. And I learned a lot of lessons about this great part of the world. I’ve listed a few below in case you ever find yourself in Sunny (I never saw a cloud) LA.
1. The 405. This is, by far, the busiest, craziest, fastest, ride I’ve ever been on. And yes, it’s just a freeway. What I learned is in order to a. make it to your destination and b. avoid a complete meltdown which culminates in you reenacting a scene from Falling Down (anyone remember that movie) you must understand the flow of traffic and the time of day. If you’re heading in the ‘Right’ direction, it’s not so bad. Which is the right direction? Best just to ask someone as it depends on where you are and where you are going. If you end know you’re headed into the traffic storm, simply leave at 5:30am (which is a breeze for us east coasters) and come home at 9pm.
Also, motorcyclists are crazy. They weave in and out of traffic with reckless abandonment. And yes, they are allowed in the carpool lane. Why? beats me. They also have WAY too much trust for other drivers.
Speed limit? There really is no speed limit. If people have a chance, they will go 90. But it’s rare and most end up between 1 and 35mph. With all the craziness, I saw no accidents. Similar to NYC, somehow this chaotic madness seems to work.
2. Ayres Hotel. If you find yourself in a similar situation as me and need to get to multiple locations in LA, this is your hotel. They are right next to the 405 and 30 minutes from Long beach, W. Hollywood, Anaheim, and most other LA areas. And they are two minutes from LAX. Beyond their great location, it was a wonderful hotel. In a city where you pay $8.50 for an envelope, it was nice not to pay for parking, Internet or breakfast. Their staff was great and by the end of the week we all knew each other by first names.
Here’s a link to their site: http://www.ayreshotels.com/hawthorne/
3. Disneyland. I was excited to see an old friend and fraternity brother who is doing the acting thing in LA. When deciding where to catch up, he mentioned Disneyland. I was a little caught off guard as I was thinking your typical coffee our restaurant spot. But he had some good reasons why Disneyland is the perfect place to reconnect. So I agreed. Two thirty-somethings went to Disneyland kidless and it was actually great. We spent the majority of time in lines with nothing to do but catch up. Most rides (like Toads Wild Ride and Alice in Wonderland) are also great places to keep the conversation going. We ate, we laughed, we rode rides and even took a picture with Mickey. I did find myself missing Talia (my 1-year-old) and saved It’s a Small World for her first trip. So, if you find yourself looking to catch up with an old friend, consider Disneyland.
4. Use a microphone. After four speaking events back to back, I had almost completely lost my voice. Upon my return home, my wife made a comment wondering how musicians do this week in and week out and don’t miss a beat. At that moment I realized they all had one thing that I didn’t: a microphone. I hadn’t used one for any of the events. Each event had about 65-75 people and it was just at that borderline of whether I needed a mic or not. Well, I did. It would have saved me from having to use the baby sign language that I learned from Talia when I checked out my hotel. Always use a mic.
5. Helicopter Ride. At the end of the trip, I was beat. LA had wore me down – my voice was shot, knuckles bloodied by the 405 and I was ready for rain and relaxation in good ‘ol Michigan. But then I got a call from someone at one of my events who worked for LA Helicopters. I was in the area, so I decided to tour their facility. One thing led to another and I was strapped in for my first helicopter voyage. Scared to death, the pilot made me feel completely comfortable and I got to tour Long Beach the way it was meant to be seen. It was pure joy and I highly recommend this to end your trip.
Here’s a little video of my ride:
Check them out: LA Helicopters
6. Have fun while you work. Although this was a tough week that took a lot out of me, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I had so much fun. Not just with the stuff I did after work, but during work. I love what I do and I hope it shows at every event we do.
So that’s it. It was five days of hard work and some hard play – the way LA wants it. On my last day, I sat out on the Manhattan Beach Pier and reflected on this trip. I missed my family and couldn’t wait to get home. But I was also a little sad as LA had crept inside of me and I found myself enjoying a bit of the Hollywood life. Who knows, maybe one day we may consider a move out to the great state of California.
But for now, I can definitely say that Cali is a GREAT place to visit.