My trip to Arizona April 7 to 14th, 2022 was a long-time coming. I’d originally wanted to go in Dec 2019. However, I decided to stay in Montreal for the holidays. 2 months later, covid-19 came in put in a wrench in any travel plans I might have had for the states for all of 2020
2021 came around, and Steve Greenberg’s EUC Master’s retreat event came up! However, it had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns. ⏩ to April 2022, and the event is back on, and my AZ plans are back on track!
I LOVE travelling to the United States for tech related events, for the past 5 years I’ve attended the below events, some paid for by my employer, others I foot the bill. ALL were worth it for the experience of the respective city / meeting people / professional development
- Expert to expert, NYC 2017
- Citrix Synergy Atlanta, Georgia 2019
- IGEL Disrupt Feb 2020, Nashville, Tennessee
- EUC Master’s retreat, April 2022, Scottsdale, Arizona
For the Arizona trip, I decided to extend my trip beyond the Friday to Sunday scheduled dates of the conference. I’ve been in dire need of a break from Canada. The covid-19 response here in Canada is about 6-12 months behind the rest of the world. Matched only by our common-wealth brethren in Australia & New Zealand. That is, endless lockdowns, curfews here in Quebec, and hygiene theatre that all provide little to no benefit to dealing with the
pandemic C19 endemic
/end covid rant
I was unable to bring my beloved beast Coffee Bean for this trip. So, it was the first time in 2 years, I’ve been without her. About half way through my trip, the fancy Montreal doggy hotel, sent me a pic of her sitting on a chair looking sad AF. I felt like she was staring into my SOUL, compelling me to come home. I immediately thought of the angry cricket fan MEME dude
Did I give in to her guilt-tripping tricks? NO!
The conference was amazing. Even the hotel was top of the pops! DAMN. Here’s some pix from the Saguaro in Scottsdale
Conference-wise, what I really enjoyed, was it wasn’t all NERD STUFF! I’d say about 60% of the content was technical, 40 non. I’ve done quite a few on-line tech talks, but NEVER in person. You may wonder “Owen, how can this be, whenever I talk to you in person/zoom/phone, I can’t get you to STFU, and you’ve got a hot take on EVERYTHING!”. Well , you’d be right, I am very comfortable with speaking in person to one or more people at a time, but NOT WHEN IT’S SCHEDULED. The organizers of the event setup a planning session Friday evening to decide on break-out sessions that would be done on Sat/Sun. We passed a mic around, and voted on the topics we wanted to hear about / speak about. I raised two topics close to my heart: Sleep / IT standards via automation. I was able to speak on both topics over the next 2 days, awesome! It wasn’t so nerve wracking, as I mostly just spoke from memory, I feel sticking to a script / PowerPoint slide would make it more stressful. Kind of like trying to re-play a song on guitar note for note / chord for chord, ya miss something, your audience will know!
The conference ended on Sunday April 10, 2022. I said my good-byes to everyone I could find, and changed over to another hotel about 15 mins away
Now begins the second part of my trip, which had much looser schedule
Step one, acquire BLUE BOY! That is, this super awesome futuristic car , the Hyundai Ionic 5
TBH, I’m not sure why I was so hell bent on renting this particular car. I’m a bit of a contrarian I guess? The more obvious / cheaper choice would have been a Tesla Model 3. I ended up getting the only Ionic 5 in the Phoenix area, and it cost me about $30 more per day vs the equivalent from Tesla. That being said, OMG, what a ride. The interior is STRAIGHT UP STAR TREK TNG. Electric cars essentially have instant torque, so, in sport mode, you put your foot down, and the car FLIES. Navigation, seats, interior, road noise were like nothing I had experienced when doing my exhaustive test drives last year
I used boy boy to get around Scottsdale / Phoenix for sight-seeing and to visit locals I knew in the area. Here in Quebec, I don’t do much hiking, as I find Canadian terrain boring. Prob from living here for so long (lakes/trees/bears/blah). The grass is always greener, and the desert is thrilling! Cactus / scorpions / palm trees!
Here’s some pix from a visit to the desert botanical garden on Sunday April 10, 2022. I want to touch them ALL, but I know I shouldn’t
Monday April 11, 2022!
Time to take blue boy out for some shopping. 2017 onwards, I collect shot glasses wherever I go. Here are some day / night time shots of blue boy
Tuesday April 12, 2022
Went for a brief hike on gateway trailhead. During the hike I thought, if I lived here, how long would it take me before I would take this view for granted like my man Larry David says in this GQ article. CYE 4 life
My beloved dog coffee
Wed April 13, 202
My last day! I hooked up with the event organizers Steve/Beth to check out cave creek, where Steve lives. Such a beautiful area. Enjoy my last set of pix from AZ!
Thursday April 14, 2022
The road home! I prefer afternoon flights, as I struggle to wake up early. That being said, I love all aspects of flying. I recently bought an iPad Pro 12.9 for reading in bed, I brought it along with me for plane TV/movie stuff and copied over some recent tv/movie content. On the way back, I noted that the dimensions of my iPad stand fit perfectly into the sleeve of seat in front of me where the barf bag is! My plane had janky wifi, and no screens in coach, so, I had the ultimate in-flight infotainment system to watch the new HALO tv series (which is great) and “Lock stock and two smoking barrels”, which is not as a good as I remember it!
My flight from Phoenix had a brief lay-over in Toronto, there was some drama with a shortage of TSA / custom agents to process incoming travelers, which created an epic line. I was about half way through said line of about 300 people going through security checks when a beautiful tall black Gal Gadot / Wonder woman-looking lady appeared asking if anyone was connecting to Montreal. She allowed me to skip the line. As a polite Canadian, of course I apologized to everyone I cut.
Thankfully, I was able to board and get home to my beloved dog , who my gracious land lord Emilie had taken care of a few hours after coffee bean was dropped off by the doggy hotel pet taxi.
I will tell you, it had only been a week, but I teared 😭😢😿up when I got home and saw her waiting at the top of the stairs for me. However, I immediately stopped crying when I got close to her, she STANK of other dogs at the doggy hotel! 😆🤣😂😹
BATH TIME FOR BEAN RAY!
My checked luggage filled with Arizona snakes, rocks, and cactus got stuck in Toronto for one day, but who unpacks their bag as soon as they get home from vacation? Not me!
In summary ; this trip was extremely satisfying both professionally and personally. I’m so glad I got to go, and am very excited to return next year for the next EUC Master’s retreat!
Thanks for reading 🙂