Last week I visited sunny Anaheim, California, for a conference. It’s amazing how different the west coast is from the east coast. New York is hustle, bustle, gritty, a bit dirty, with an amazing energy level. It’s go go go all the time, with people on all sides at all times. In short, it’s exhausting if you aren’t used to it, but exciting at the same time.

Anaheim, on the other hand, has more elbow room. Not as many tall buildings, of course, and they’re more spread out. People drive where they want to go, so not nearly as many walking around. The atmosphere is relaxed, easy going, and full of laughter. Yes, Disney is right there but it’s more than that. The landscape is green, with more hills, more ocean (compared to Times Square, that is).

The thing that struck me the most, however, was the cool breeze that met my face as I stepped outside the airport. I wanted to cry, it felt so wonderful. When I got on the plane that morning, it was almost 100 degrees in Dallas. When I stepped off, it was 68. It nearly brought me to my knees.

In the mornings, a lovely mist blanketed the city. It looked like something out of a fairy tale, and I’m pretty sure there’s a castle in the distance. Then again, I suppose there really is, since Disneyland is out there somewhere.

The conference itself was full of laughter, friendship, fun, learning, late nights, joy, and the companionship of others on the same journey I’m on: to share their stories with the world. I can’t say enough good things about the wonderful people I met, nor the nights we spent giggling until the wee hours. You’d have thought we were teenagers.

Unless something changes, that was the end of my conference season for the year. Now’s the time to get back to doing my job…writing!