With cold and flu season at its height, if you are reading this from beneath the covers of your apartment flat, you may be wishing that your “off day” was more of an “off day” and not a “go off and die day.” In case you needed a reason to play hooky from work with a GOOD purpose, here are a couple geeky conventions coming up in 2017 that are well worth the paid time off. So, go ahead… book a plane ticket, plan your stay and dream of an off day that doesn’t involve reheated chicken soup, Vicks vapor rub and the kind of cough that wakes the neighbors, the cat and the baby…
PAX West (Formerly Known as PAX Prime)
Where: Seattle, WA
When: Usually Labor Day Weekend, Currently TBA
Cost: $45-$150 (Registration usually opens in spring. You can check openings here.)
Why you’ll geek out over it: You will be able to play blockbuster games before they drop, enjoy tabletop gaming and maybe even spend a little time with the pros
While the rest of the workforce is stuck at home grilling hot dogs, come Labor Day you could be grilling opponents in the next RPG in rainy-but-reigning Seattle. This now-huge convention started out as a small niche area with roots in the comic book industry. If you are a diehard underground geek, you might recognize The Penny Arcade comic book as the comic that celebrated gamer life. Well, now, this print turned real-life wonder consistently sells out to crowds the size of football stadiums… in less than 30 minutes.
While you are here, you will experience the next big-name games before they hit shelves, battle other geeks from around the world, learn from the pros and snag plenty of selfie photo-ops with the massive crowds – many of which arrive in full-on geek garb.
What’s not to love?
Where: Madison, Wisconsin
When: May 26-29 2017
Cost: See site for details. (Hint: If you are serious about attending, think fast. The slots fill up quick at 1,000 max, allowing the community to better connect.)
Why you’ll geek out over it: This is the essential sci-fi literary convention of the green-state.
Where feminism, science fiction, learning and literature combine, WisCon is the perfect convention for the bibliophile who prefers books to actual people. Here you will find workshops, panel discussions, academic presentations, writer’s workshops and even parties that are on gypsy time (aka late-night soirees.) If you are arriving with kids… don’t worry. WisCon is family friendly and proudly offers programming designed for both kids and teens alike. They even offer $1 childcare. (Yep, you read that right.) In fact, WisCon is the PERFECT place to bring your daughters who will leave nothing short of empowered thanks to the variety of strong female voices in attendance. If you identify as trans/gender-queer, there is a Con Suite that is overflowing with snacks and a safer atmosphere if you feel you need it.
If you are a reader or a writer, come be free for a while… we promise, you won’t meet a stranger you don’t click with right away. (Psst… network, network, network!) The convention runs from a Friday straight through Monday, so if you plan on staying for the long stretch, you might need to get some extra help at your day job, but the PTO days are well worth it.
The Alaska Steamposium
Where: Anchorage, Alaska
When: April 4-5, 2017
Why you’ll geek out over it: Authors, séances, amazing wardrobes, oddities and other weird and wonderful creations combine to create a world where everything is topsy-turvy and other-wordly
Off the beaten path and unlike anything that you have ever witnessed in your lifetime, The Alaska Steamposium is where all the strangest oddities live and breathe in one big place and, even if you must fly in or float in (time machine optional), you will count your travels as well worth the efforts. Whether you are interested in the incredible, artisan fashion that steampunk offers, the unexplained allure of the great beyond, mythical mermaids, tarot readings, adventurous literature or werewolves/vampires/and the like, you will find it all and more at Steamposium where you will never be bored. NEVER. Not even for a moment. If you, check your pulse. Seriously… this convention is for the ADD in all of us and you might not even get a chance to see it all if you do not stay for both days. And hey, if you aren’t a local, stay for the scenery and get lost in the Alaskan experience that spans beyond your love of steampunk and into the well-crafted outdoors. With plenty to do and see inside and outside, this will be your favorite trip away from work yet. You may even get a chance to see the Northern Lights.
As you recover from the cold, flu or other all-around “leave me alone so I can go sleep in the corner in peace” bug currently residing in your residence, get through those “ugh” days by daydreaming about better ones. Not every off day from work should be based on how well you are feeling and if you have not taken a vacation or a mental health day in a while, it is probably long overdue. Go on… what are you waiting for? The best days away from the office are those that you spend doing what you love… and we both know that is always something geeky.