Or more accurately in the air.

Heathrow to Dallas to Portland to Vancouver to Bellingham to Seattle to Dallas to Grand Rapids to Chicago to Heathrow.

Nine flights over nine days.

14,501 miles as the crow flies, or as it would fly if it was foolish enough to undertake such an endeavour.

By any standards a gruelling schedule.

And why, I hear you ask, should one be doing such a thing?

All of this travelling is for one reason and one reason only – to attend 2 conferences on Parkinson’s disease on opposite sides of the United States. These are the triennial WPC (World Parkinson Congress) and the annual Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease.

In the normal run of things, I would caution against such intensive travel over such a short space of time. We Parkies are fragile creatures, often at our worst when travelling. And that’s an awful lot of travelling!

But, balanced against that is the fact that WPC is the most significant meeting in the Parkinson’s calendar – a huge international Congress where scientists, clinicians and patients all mix in the most heady and intoxicating mixture of discovery, support, hope and enthusiasm you could ever imagine. This is that magical interface where scientists can see patients in the flesh, patients can talk to scientists and neurologists can see Parkinson’s as its lived not just as it appears in the consulting room. Never and nowhere is there a better opportunity to learn. Whether a rookie getting ready for your first attendance at this Congress or a seasoned veteran of the conference circuit, you will leave Congress bowled over by what you have learnt, seen, heard and noticed.

And it’ll be a busy time personally for me – Three roundtables, three posters, a workshop panel presentation, three oral presentations, two sessions to chair and a “meet and greet” author book reading in eight days.

Drink plenty of water, try to pace yourself and steer clear of alcohol at lunchtime! You want to be awake during the afternoon sessions!

Of course there is plenty of good advice circulating. The key thing is to try not to dip into your reserves physically. Congresses like WPC involve a lot of walking, a lot of standing and, especially if it’s warm, that can be tough. Try to sit down.

Oh and if you are around The Book Nook on Wednesday lunchtime, come and say hello and listen to me read from my book Heads or Tales. It’ll be good to see you.

Then, at the weekend, it’s off to Grand Rapids. I knew there was something else…

On The Road

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