Adventures and Reflections from Cathy O'Dowd

Adventures & Reflections
from Cathy O'Dowd

I’m back at home after an epic week of work, with speaking engagements in Siofok (Hungary) on Monday, Saarbrücken (Germany) on Wednesday, and Iphofen (Germany) on Friday. As I sit on the terrace under my umbrella of awesomeness, soaking up the summer warmth, I’ve been reflecting on what I learnt on the road. (Apart from general gratitude to German/Swiss multinationals for continuing to hire international inspirational speakers.)

Here are a few gems from my travels:

1. When the weather report predicts a heat-wave, believe it. Just because I’ve been skiing two days before at home, don’t pack trousers, two jerseys and long-sleeve tops.

Red discs at bottom right,  part of a survey tripod slowly sliding off the summit of Everest.

Red discs at bottom right, part of a survey tripod slowly sliding off the summit of Everest.

2. The red discs on the tripod currently situated on the summit of Everest are almost certainly made by Leica Geosystems. At any rate, the delegates got very excited when they saw them and it is doubtless the main thing they will remember from the talk.

3. Coffee made from beans that have been eaten and then excreted by a civet cat may sell for Euro 180 a kilo, but don’t taste like they are worth the money, in my opinion. I doubtless horrified the barista by preferring latte macchiato.

4. Giving a talk in 40 degrees, in a hall packed with several hundred delegates where the heat has overwhelmed the air-conditioning system, standing on a stage facing five floodlights, is not fun. The sweat was trickling down my back and all I wanted to do was climb into one of my photographs of snow and just lie there, panting.

5. Hungary is flat. Very, very flat. Although that does make it fun to go around Budapest on a bicycle.

6. Don’t talk politics with the delegates at the gala dinner. When the lovely American gentleman on my left asked me what I thought of Obama and I said I felt he’d been rather a disappointment, he heartily agreed and told all about how the president wasn’t nearly conservative enough. As a Euro bleeding-heart liberal, that’s not what I meant….

7. Knowing the clients and the audiences were happy leaves me with a feeling of great contentment (but I knew that one already).

Audience feedback June 2013

Audience feedback June 2013

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