Have All The Words Been Written?
If my trips to the West Coast could be defined as a source of motivation and confidence for me, these articles could be defined as a source of catharsis and reflection. Besides the fun of the trips and sharing some of that here, I also like to consistently bring personal stories and thoughts into the mix. I hope that is part of what makes them enjoyable to read, as my aim is to always create something unique, interesting, and relatable.
“”I’m ready! How ’bout you!?”
With this article, the second in just over two months, I will go through a trip that, while having some days and moments that I will cherish right up there with the E3 memories of the past, did not always feel like it was going the best it could be. I often found myself thinking about not just how things could be better, but that they would be better – next time. With that said, I would not change a thing about what happened, as this year especially has shown me that even things that may seem not-so-great at first, end up being the best thing that ever happened to you.
— Rob (@ReclaimerRob) August 29, 2018
Seattle is a city I contemplated visiting for several years and earlier this year, in the weeks leading up to the E3, I decided to finally book the flight, reserve an Airbnb, buy tickets to PAX West and see what happens. I knew it would have a different feel than I was used to with E3, but after those three fantastic trips to Los Angeles, and with my hopes high for the upcoming fourth, I was full of anticipation and confidence for what memories could be made in Seattle later in the summer.
The theme of my E3 article earlier this summer consisted of talking about “a new era” that I believed Xbox was going into – something I hoped and anticipated for my own life as well. The same day I published the article I went immediately to work on a cover letter for a new position I had found, which I ultimately ended up being hired for and started at less than a month before PAX West. Although it is, once again, not a career that correlates with what I am truly passionate about, it is the best place and position I’ve ever been at. My hope of a “new era” for myself in the near future had come true, and the weeks leading up to PAX were a whirlwind of new changes in life – all of them for the better.
That Old, Familiar Feeling
Unfortunately, all of the good timing, luck, and circumstances in those couple of months since early July made me complacent. Typically before a trip I like to put a lot of effort in so that I go into it as confident as possible – an attempt to look and feel my best – in order to make the most of my trip, photo opportunities, etc. I’ll eat healthy, workout much more, and just try to make everything perfect. Back in the day, I would do this leading up to even something like a midnight launch party for a new Halo game, concerts, a new Xbox, and things like that.
Why not use something I’m excited for as motivation to better things as a whole? That was my mentality, and it served me well for many years. The feeling of accomplishment would be amazing, and it had nothing but positive, healthy side effects and actually caused me to bond even more with Halo specifically – which I’ve run over 2,500 miles on a treadmill to while playing over the past ten years.
In recent years, I have never tried as hard as I did back in the day and I have no excuse for why that is. The things I can experience now; the opportunities I have been given to meet people that I have wanted to for years, and to be able to see the legendary places I had never dreamed of seeing with my own eyes, are much more important than a quick launch party at a local retailer or a couple hour-long concert in a dark venue.
When I would have an experience at E3 in the past, especially that first year in 2015, I felt like it was once-in-a-lifetime, and that it could and would likely never happen again. Maybe this was due to not actually believing it could, but this way of thinking also let me off-the-hook when it came to making the best of the inevitable next time. Now, especially after Seattle, I know better. These events and these opportunities will happen again, and it is time to be at my best when that time comes around – and not simply rush that personal goal in the final weeks causing stress and unsatisfactory results.
Going into Seattle, I felt unprepared. I had been so focused on other things that the trip (the fifth of its kind) snuck up on me – and suddenly I was there on the plane flying in. I may not have had the “prep time” that I wanted or needed, but I (of course) was still excited for it all!
Besides PAX itself, I had two main things planned for my five days in Seattle:
- A visit to 343 Industries and its Halo Museum
- The ID@Xbox pre-PAX event on the Microsoft campus
A few hours after arriving in Seattle on the morning of Wednesday, August 29th, I found myself getting out of a Lyft outside of a building that is, no doubt, the location of active development for the upcoming Halo: Infinite. My head spins enough as it is on the days I leave or come back from a trip, but to now be walking in the doors of 343 Industries just twelve hours after waking up in my own bed 1,700 miles away – that surreal feeling was amplified even more.
This first Seattle/#PAXWest trip of mine started off in the biggest way a few hours ago with a trip to 343 Industries. I had the surreal honor of seeing the #Halo museum, among other things, all loaded with items they have curated from nearly two decades of Halo’s history. pic.twitter.com/UoZfT6t77i
— Rob (@ReclaimerRob) August 30, 2018
There was so much more, and then the Chief/Locke statue – which has always been special to me. It is part of those legendary E3 2015 briefing day/first day of FanFest memories where I first met so many people I am a fan of, and seeing that statue later in the evening was so cool. pic.twitter.com/pb9kpmy1gm
— Rob (@ReclaimerRob) August 30, 2018
I could keep on about how much it all means to me and how much today meant, but I wanted to share some pictures and thoughts right after getting back. Thank you to @RobSemsey, @ske7ch, @GrimBrotherOne, and Corrinne Robinson for making me feel so welcome in such a wonderful place.
— Rob (@ReclaimerRob) August 30, 2018
The tweets I wrote after coming back from 343 Industries are an exhibit of the magic and excitement I was feeling as I sat back in my Airbnb with the Xbox One S I travel with for my first night in Seattle. The massive update and enhancement to Halo: The Master Chief Collection released just a couple of days before I left for Seattle, so I had only spent about a half-hour with it until that night. That first night in Seattle I had some quality time playing Halo before finally succumbing to exhaustion from lack of sleep and the experience of a lifetime in Redmond.
The next evening was the ID@Xbox event at the Microsoft campus, which was quite a bit of fun, but unfortunately I got there about an hour later than I had planned to and, ultimately, I feel like I missed out on quite a bit because of that mistake on my part, and the rest of the night suffered for it. This was the first part of my trip where memories of that final chapter title in Halo: Reach entered my head:
Although there is no guarantee of that for many reasons (the unpredictability of life being one of them) it did make me feel better to think of that line in the moment, as I knew I could be making more of the trip on a personal level thus far – not unlike the feeling I’ve had during E3 sometimes over the years. At this point in the trip I was definitely missing that usual FanFest atmosphere too. I was missing the familiar faces and comradery that comes along with it, which had also come along with every trip I had taken from home thus far. I had known from the day I booked the Seattle trip that it was most likely going to be like this (more of a lone wolf affair) but it still was wearing on me a bit. That aside, I was on vacation and it had all been worth it for the visit to 343 Industries and the small glimpse I had of the Microsoft campus.
Next up was PAX itself. Although I bought badges for three days, I estimate I only spent a total of about six hours in the convention center itself. This is another area of the trip where I did not make the most of the experience and told myself that next time would be different. In the time spent there at PAX I was lucky enough to see some favorite friends again, and meet some amazing people for the first time as well – all which made the trip worthwhile and then some.
On Saturday, after the second day of PAX, I spent the evening walking around downtown from the convention center and over to the Space Needle area. This actually ended up being one of the only tourist spots I checked out due to my other mistake of not renting a car like I used to do in Los Angeles. During my last two E3 visits I got in the habit of simply using Uber/Lyft there and renting a place near the events – choices that have made the experience far more fun and relaxing.
In my “There’ll be Another Time…” vision of the next Seattle trip, I see myself renting a car, visiting more places, and especially going to the outskirts of the city to explore the prime spots to drive, walk, and hike. Those of you who read my 2015 article won’t be surprised that I’ll be eyeing a spot to kayak, and maybe even try and go on the ferris wheel near Pike Place Market waterfront (especially since I was never able to go on that one on the Santa Monica Pier in 2015!)
After the best first day possible, Saturday was when the trip felt like it got back on the right track. As Sunday, my final day in Seattle came around, I was finally warming up to it all and was on a mission to make the most of the day. I attended the Xbox Adaptive Controller panel in the morning, chatted with Major for a minute (a tradition of any trip), and went around PAX for a bit longer before heading back to the Airbnb to get ready to head back out.
My final evening in Seattle was a late one downtown hanging out at a launch party/concert at the Hard Rock Cafe for a few hours – a highlight of the trip without a doubt. In a mix of the usual bittersweet emotions that hit in those final hours of a trip, and also a fear that my phone’s alarm would not have the ability to wake me out of an exhausted and hungover state, I laid there awake thinking about the past five days in Seattle.
From the rooftop of the Hard Rock Cafe
Each one of these trips I have taken has changed and affected me in different ways. They inspired me to better my daily life, to try and find something more enjoyable to make a living doing, and from the start they improved my opinion of people and mindset of positivity. I’ve written in prior articles that all of the great memories have also been integral in getting through hard times, one in particular, in recent years. These E3 trips, all of which went so perfectly, showed me that good things can happen reliably, and that my bad habit throughout life thus far of getting that sense of dread whenever something good happened – bracing for the next hit – was not so accurate and relevant anymore.
It Followed Me Home
So what does this latest trip, which did not go so perfectly, bring to my life going forward?
More motivation than ever. The start of a personal mission aimed at making sure the next trip, the one after that, and the one after that, are all everything they could and should be. I can’t say what that will all entail, because I don’t know, but I have a lot of things in mind and already working on that are aimed at not only improving myself, but also my life overall even more.
Every goal and dream running through my head right now might not be successful, since I have some high hopes, but at the very least there will be some great positives coming out of this new fire that has been lit, and that sense of accomplishment will be there someday in the future – a day that will be here even sooner than it feels like right now. No more simple regrets is the goal, and along with that will come even better memories – and more of them.
Over the past three years, incredible people have made this guy from Minnesota’s dreams come true over and over again. These are acts of kindness and friendship that I am forever grateful for, think about all of the time, and would not be where I’m at now without. Some of the best things in my life have all happened these last three years, and now it is time to use those memories, and the inspiration of what the future holds, and become the best I can be.
Life to Come
There is no telling what all will have happened six months from now, but I’m excited to make the most of each day between now and then, and I hope you do too. My next “goal line (as I referred to them as in A New Era) happens in the early spring of 2019, and it will involve once again traveling to a brand new city:
I hope to see some of you there, and hope to see even more of you in Los Angeles at E3 2019! As always, I hope to make the next year even better than the last, and I thank everyone who follows me on Twitter and has been interacting throughout all these years. It means so much to always have so many caring about my thoughts and adventures and I love seeing all your lives on my timeline as well. It has all been a life-changing experience the past several years and I appreciate it all every day.
Thank you for reading and I will see you on Twitter and Xbox Live (and maybe in Boston/LA/Seattle!
Gamertag: Reclaimer Rob