Gary is currently in Grand Chute, WI (May 22nd, 2015)

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Off to New York!


New York Stock ExchangeIn about 12 hours I’m off to New York for my first real trip away from Wisconsin since I flew back from Spain to be with my dad. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was ambivalent about going. My dad is doing better, but he’s far from being out of the woods. He is still in intensive care, but isn’t hooked up to any major life support. His kidneys have started functioning again, he can go most of the day without being hooked up to the ventilator, he is off his blood pressure medication and starting physical therapy. He can move his hands and feet somewhat, but he’s been in bed for almost two months.

However, he is going to need heart valve surgery at some point. The hope is the rest of his body recovers enough to have the surgery before it is too late for him to get the surgery.

The last month has been the closest to a normal routine I’ve had in several years. I wake up, do stuff online, drive 15 miles into town to the hospital and take over from my mom who is there early in the morning to mid-afternoon. I usually stay here until 7pm which is when the ICU has their shift change and they don’t allow visitors from 7-8pm.

I told my mother of my reluctance to go to New York, but she insisted I go, and my dad seems to want me to go too. I have no idea how long he is going to be in the hospital, so it was agreed that there should be some sort of normalcy in our schedules.

The reason for my trip to New York is the 2nd annual Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) conference. I attended last year in Chicago and this year is looking to be several times bigger and better.

Many people have been waiting for this year’s TBEX, myself included. There are many people (like Craig and Linda Martin) who I’ve never meet in person before, and some who I’ve met in other countries (like Lillie Marshall and Jodi Ettenberg). I’ll also be part of two presentations on Sunday. I’ll be giving a speech called Travel Porn (I came up withe title before I knew what I was even going to talk about) as well as a live taping of This Week In Travel.

I’ll be doing a meet up with Chris Christensen on Wednesday, but we don’t have a location yet. It will be somewhere in Manhattan. I’ll post something on my site and on Twitter, but expect a time of around 6-8pm. I’ll be available during most days from Wednesday to Friday so if you are in New York and want to get lunch or something, just contact me.

  • 20 Comments... What's your take?

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  1. Wunschfutter says:

    Are you back? Hope you had a safe trip :)

  2. Robin says:

    Hope your dad fully recovers. I love New York, wish I was going there again. Good luck.

  3. Max says:

    May God bless your dad, Gray!

  4. ChinaMatt says:

    Wish I could’ve been at TBEX (especially since I live so close).

    Hope your dad gets better.

  5. Cool…..I like New York a lot!

    Has anybody been to the new James Rizzi Gallery on Broadway? Will make it to NYC next year…Bummer!

    Greetings from Germany

  6. Shawn says:

    Hey Gary, glad to hear your dad is doing better.

  7. Donna Hull says:

    Thanks for organizing PREBEX, Gary. It’s been fun meeting online travel friends in person.Looking forward to your two presentations today. I’m happy that your father’s health stabilized enough to make the NYC trip possible for you. I went through a similar situation with my dad. It’s tough. Hang in there.

  8. SHABL says:

    Great title for a presentation, I have a few ideas what it could be about. Hope your dad gets better soon and have a sick time. Next time in Europe, Portugal is really special.

  9. Melissa says:

    Have fun in New York! Looking forward to your live This Week in Travel broadcast. Also wishing the best for your dad. Heart Valve surgery is “easy” compared to some other heart surgeries. Best to you and your family.

  10. Ant Stone says:

    A tough dilemma, Gary. It sounds like you’ve been a great support, the perfect son during the recent spell. A lot of people at TBEX will feed off that strength, and hey, it’s not like you’re leaving the country! Have a great time in NYC (like that’s going to be hard!)

  11. Emily says:

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re concerned about leaving your Dad behind–I don’t blame you. But I hope you really enjoy yourself at TBEX. I’m super psyched to meet you in person!

  12. Laura says:

    All the best to your dad and have lots of fun in NY. Wish I could go too…

  13. I stumbled across your site a few days ago and I must say, I love it. :)
    Good luck/Have fun in New York! & I hope your Dad gets better soon.

    – Christina

  14. Hey was just checking out your blog and you have some amazing content. We will be sure to come back visit on regular basis. Making sure werss you so can stay up to date when you post new content. Me and family are on 3 year trip around the world feel free come check us out as well.

    Unstoppable Family
    Brian and Rhonda Swan

  15. MousE says:

    I hope y our dad gets well soon, Gary. I’m going thru something similar with my aunt, so you have my best sympathy.

    Best wishes, and good luck in NYC.

  16. Lewis says:

    I hope you dad recovers fully soon Gary. It’s always hard when a loved one is suffering.

    Love, Sex and Backpacking on the Cheap

  17. Audrey says:

    Glad to hear your father’s health has stabilized a bit and that he’s getting stronger now for the surgery. It’s also great your family is supporting you in taking this trip and be able to speak at the conference.

    Look forward to meeting you in a couple of days!

  18. Susan says:

    It’s not like it’s a pleasure trip – it’s business, and of course you should go! Your dad is in good hands, and I’m sure you’ll be impressed by his progress when you get back. Have fun and good luck with your speech!

  19. Sarah says:

    Gary, I’m happy to hear there’s been an improvement in your Dad’s condition (even if slight) and that you’re getting to head to TBEX to deliver your “Travel Porn” after all. Sorry I’m missing it, but I’ll be sure to check it out if it’s posted somewhere after. Good luck and stay in touch!

  20. Roaming Ross says:

    Have a good time at TBEX and in NYC. Look forward to hearing how it goes. Will you be videoing your talk, would be great to see it.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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