Friday, April 6, 2012

Seattle – A Delightful Place to Do Business

I am freshly arrived from a business trip out to Seattle for the magazine.  Ok, not so fresh as I spent all day on planes and in airports, but the cats were super thrilled that I came back to fill up their food dish. 

View flying into Seattle
My reason for travel was a little outside my normal duties as an editor – we often attend tradeshows as they have an education bent to them but this was for a company that’s launching some new products.  I was resistant to going as I knew I would come back empty handed from the event (content-wise), but politics won and the powers that be said I would spent three days out of the office. 

I have no idea what these are, but they're really neat looking (*reader update below)
Side note – I detest work politics.  I am a straight shooter almost to a fault and if you ask me a direct question, I cannot give you anything back but an honest answer.  That being said, I’m smart enough to know when politics are afoot (thank you working in higher education!) and can say with a genuine smile, “Of course I’d be happy to represent the magazine and the company.”  It’s a savvy move sometimes to not put up a fight … 

Somewhere in between Denver and Seattle
Anyways, the event I attend was informative, well organized, and populated with interesting people to network with.  The greatest benefit I got out of the trip was the conversations I had with other B2B (business-to-business) editors.  It’s nice knowing that they also have crazy workloads, share the same struggles with online content generation, and do their best to straddle multifaceted audiences. I bonded with one gal over our shared frustrations about managing the volume of emails we get for our product sections.

You also meet a lot of characters while traveling, whether at your event or on your flight.  I met a gentleman from Spokane who ran a utility plant, two ladies from Alabama with very pronounced accents (one informed me that parsnips were a “yankee vegetable,” I kid you not), a pair of editors from Madison whose extended family are in the same Wisconsin towns as mine, and a social media strategist who couldn’t have been much older than I but was totally rocking that platinum grey hair color that’s going around. 

Another view coming into Seattle
I have to say though, Seattlers are lovely people. They’re a lot like Midwesterns – they’re down-to-earth, genuinely nice, and minutely attune to the weather.  They’re also very proud of their city and state and every one of them will assure you that it actually rains more in New York or Boston.   

I’m told that very few of them are native to the Emerald City (named so for the shape of the skyline) – most are transplants who needed a distance place to reboot their lives.  That intrigues me as it makes me think of the Northwest as one of the last places in America you could genuinely consider a frontier (not in an economic sense, but a personal one).  

Anyways, business trips seem like a great way to explore the country and that’s partly true.  I got enough of a taste of Memphis and Orlando to know that I would visit the first again if passing through and avoid the latter at all costs.  But depending on your schedule, you may have no time to get out and get a true taste of your host city.  

Such was my luck with Seattle.  I saw the inside of the airport, my hotel, and my meeting site.  I was fortunate enough to have a window seat both in and out of Sea-Tac so I was able to get a glimpse of the beautiful landscape. 

In fact, the highlight of my trip was getting a glimpse of Mount Rainier.  It’s crazy to think this ginormous mountain is 2 hours away from Seattle – so what you’re looking at in my photo is over 100 miles away! 

This is definitely an area I would come back to for a vacation – the Space Needle, the proximity to Canada and Banff National Park (drool ...), the allure of hiking the mountains, the chance for ferry rides.  It reminds me greatly of the very northern edges of Minnesota, up in the Boundary Waters. It smells and looks so fresh and pristine. 

Around Chicago
How far out West have you traveled?  Up until this trip, I'd only been as far as Denver.  Definitely need to go back to the Northwest for further exploration!


  1. I assume the picture with the green circles was taken over eastern WA. there's an amazing rain shadow complements of the Cascade mnts. Where I moved to after leaving Clear Lake averaged about 7.5" of precipitation a year, less than Phoenix,AZ.

    Anywho, the green circles are, quite literally, crop circles. Think of the huge irrigation sprinklers back in IA. Same thing except that due to the lack of natural rain anything outside that spray zone can't live/grow.


    1. I assume eastern WA - not like there are handy map lines on the ground marking when you've crossed a state, lol.

      Thanks for explaining the crop circle - that makes sense with the rainfall.

      And I remember where you moved - Yakima :)

    2. lol. The line between eastern Washington and western Washington is the cascade mountains. A girl lives out there for a few years and she forgets those things aren't common knowledge. :)

      If you want an interesting way to kill a few minutes and see the "line" separating east and west do a Google map search for ellensburg, WA. Swap to the satilite view and just to the west of that town you can clearly see where the rain stops, one side is full of green trees the other is brown scrub land. The kicker is the utter lack of transition, just bam! it changes.

    3. Here's to irrigation! *clink*

      It was weird to get used to the constant watering of things. Plus the irrigation channels running all over town, fairly dangerous things really. A few times a year there was a news story about someone nearly drowning after falling into one.

      They diverted water straight off the river and channeled it all over. The small ones in each neighborhood were about 3 feet wide and 4 feet deep with a strong current. It also took some remembering that you couldn't drink water from the yard faucets, the irrigation water wasn't treated at all. Though the stuff piped into the house was fine