by Fred Bergeron, DTM
The Paris convention was on my bucket list, but it was suddenly cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. So, I decided to add another overseas convention to my list, the 2023 convention in the Bahamas.
While it was only an hour’s flight from Orlando, the journey was a nightmare from the beginning. I left Ormond Beach at 10:30 AM on August 16 to catch my 2:55 PM flight. Unfortunately, two hours of that time was spent driving around the different airport lots to find parking. At the last lot, a security officer informed me to park at the Park-n-Go a few miles away. I parked at my alternate destination and was able to get shuttled to the airport with 1 ½ hours to spare before my flight left.
At the airport, the baggage attendant suggested that I put my camera bag in my luggage to save on the fees. But when I reached Nassau airport after an hour-long flight delay, my luggage was nowhere to be found. Sadly, I missed the first part of the opening ceremonies. And since I had no camera equipment and my phone battery was dead, I could not take any videos or photos, including the great speech by Keynote Speaker, Lisa Nichols. ☹
After almost saying “Yes to the Dress,” as was jokingly and seriously suggested by our Club Growth Director, Amanda Cross, my luggage was delivered to the hotel around noon the next day.
Despite the flight snafu, I was able to enjoy the convention and the Bahamas. I met new people, primarily people I’ve only known virtually for the past 2 to 3 years. My “Aha Moment” was going down the waterslide known as the Devil’s Backbone, after climbing up about 20 flights of stairs, to be refreshed and relieved after making it to the bottom of the slide.
There was a Presidential Ball where we got to wear our Sunday Best, and of course, there were dancing Toastmasters, as well as dancing Bahamians who entertained us with their drum dance. The Toastmasters ended the night by forming a Conga line around the entire ballroom.
The highlight of the event was watching all eight finalists compete in the World Championship of Public Speaking. It was inspiring to learn that the winner, Jocelyn Tyson, had only been in Toastmasters for two years. During the Presidential ceremony, it was announced that the next convention will be held in Anaheim, California, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Toastmasters International.
Hope to see you all there!