I recently had the pleasure of attending one of the largest technology trade shows, Mobile World Congress, in its beautiful host city, Barcelona, Spain. I hadn’t previously had the opportunity to visit Spain before, so I was ecstatic about the trip, all except for the part of being away from the kids for so long.

I arrived early Sunday morning and then spent time getting by bearings at the airport as well as picking up my badge for MWC, waiting in a long queue for the ATM and then finally catching a taxi to my hotel. Once in the taxi, I began practicing my Spanish and learning a little bit about the beautiful new (to me) city that was blurring by me as we raced to our destination. One particular stand out on the drive was a grotto built into the hillside with grave indicators visible from the freeway.

Once I’d checked into the hotel and got settled, I was in touch with my company’s event coordinator, Cassie, to see if she needed any help setting up. She responded that everything was set up but that her and another co-worker were about to head to lunch. I desperately wanted to go for a run but opted instead to join them and get my first taste of sangría in Spain.

Afterwards, we changed into our CradlePoint clothing and walked to a pre-show event for the press. Another colleague who was supposed to be one of the main people interfacing with the press at the event was unable to be there due to a delayed flight so I spent a lot more time talking with the press and others than I was expecting. We had prepared great talking points for the events of the week and I found myself quickly using them. It was also becoming more and more evident that my spanish was going to be really useful throughout the week.

That night we started off a new routine which I never would have thought I could get used to, eating dinner well after 8pm and staying out until well past midnight. If you had asked me a month ago if I could hang with the group for a 10pm dinner with excessive amounts of wine and then get back to my hotel room at 2am and then get up the next morning to work a trade show, I would have quickly answered, “No!” But alas, the things we don’t know about ourselves and what we are capable of doing when we change our vantage point. And let me just say that the vantage point from Barcelona did create a lot of opportunities for fun and cultural immersion that I have a hard time saying no to. I found myself falling back to the mantra my Rotary Group Study Exchange team relied on heavily during our month in Argentina, “You sleep when you die.”

Because of the lack of sleep and busy schedule I wasn’t able to get to that run for a couple of days but once I finally did, it was amazing. I ran over to a main boulevard with a median with a walking and bike path and ran as far as it could take me, stopping every few blocks to capture one of the many beautiful buildings in a photo. I still contend there is no better way to see a city than to go for a run.

I did something else new that I’ve never done in a foreign country and attended a yoga class that was only a block from the hotel. I was able to follow along pretty well as I dusted off the cobwebs from the body parts Spanish vocabulary rattling around in dark closet in my long-term memory.

The week consisted of a lot of time at the trade show, which was unbelievable. There were thousands of attendees from all of the world so a two-hour booth duty could pass with conversations from a potential partner from Seattle, a potential customer from Spain, a potential channel partner from Brazil and then a guy from the Netherlands who wanted to build a plastic enclosure for the devices my company sells. Needless to say it was interesting as was the time in between booth duty when I was able to walk around and see booths from other vendors from all across the globe.

The days started to fall into a routine of a workout, breakfast, navigating the subway to the event center, booth duties and the highlight of my day, Facetiming with the kids as they woke up and were just getting moving for the day. After that it was more trade show, back to the hotel to work for a bit and change for dinner, followed by a late dinner, wine, more wine and eventually returning to the hotel. It was as exhilarating as it was exhausting.


Besides the amazing tapas, sangría, buildings and people, another stand out from the week was a day when my booth duty was over early and I joined a couple of colleagues to visit Segrada Familia, the unbelievable unfinished church designed by Catalán architect, Gaudí. I’ve been to Europe enough at this point that I don’t get overly excited to see churches so I had no idea what I was in for before we arrived at Segrada Familia. This church was SO different than anything I’ve ever seen and I applaud both the Barcelona region and the Catholic Church for allowing Gaudí for proceeding with his vision. The result is today and will be even more so in the future once it is complete, one of the most breathtaking edifices I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Gaudí was inspired by nature and it showed in the church. In my bastardized reality molded by television and movies, I couldn’t help but compare the inside of the massive structure to what I saw in the movie, Avatar. It was also reminiscent of the massive redwood trees we ran through during our 50K in California. The columns of the church felt more like large redwood trees than manmade, concrete structures. The amount of thought from a creative, geometrical (pre-computers) and, of course, architectural perspective would blow anyone’s mind and certainly did mine. I found myself a little envious of Gaudí as that man had a true life’s work that now stands proudly in the center of a gorgeous city that boasts of his treasure.

Mobile World Congress ended Thursday afternoon and I stayed in the city for another day and a half with Cassie and her friend, Dave, to explore more of the city. We ate more, drank more, went to the Picasso museum (which was okay but missing many key paintings) and then visited the Montserrat Montasery in the mountains accessible by cable car.

All and all, Barcelona was an incredible city that I hope to visit again someday, but next time I’d like to bring my loved ones along.




Feb 07

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Tonight I told Eloise that I was going on a short trip and she replied, “You’re going on a trip? Where to?”
Surprised by her question, I said, “Phoenix, Arizona.”

She didn’t stop there, “Oh, that sounds fun. I will miss you mommy.”
Holy cow, when did this girl learn how to have real conversations?

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I had a wonderful three days in New York City for work and I have to admit it has been challenging coming back. As the kids were arguing and delaying bedtime yesterday, I went into the bedroom to change into pajamas and Andy came in and said, “Its nice to get away. And then you […]

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Dec 21

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