Blogger's Note: Been about a week since I've posted anything. I do apologize. As usually happens when I take a long time between posts, there were a couple of reason for it. Most relevant among them were my writing efforts were focused on another project and I didn't have anything new, different or interesting to write about. (I know that last reason hasn't stopped me in the past, but anyway...)
Now I am back and I have several ideas and pictures for upcoming posts. Thanks for coming back. I appreciate and thank you for being a faithful reader.
I've been listening to Lou Mongello's podcasts since 2007. His first one, Mouse Tunes, was the first podcast I ever listened to. His current podcast, WDW Radio, is on my list of a half dozen, Disney based podcasts I listen to each week.
Over the years I've watched his progression from a lawyer living in New Jersey, who wrote a book of trivia questions and facts as a means of sharing his passion for Walt Disney World, to an Orlando resident considered one of the leading Disney experts around.
His personal drive and philosophy about following your dreams and making them come true, working at something your passionate about, and that it's important to keep moving forward, are an inspiration to me.
Although he is very humble and would never brag about it, in just 7 years, Lou has built the WDW Radio brand into a highly successful business which includes: his podcast, social media, books, magazines, multimedia recordings, public speaking and, most importantly, face to face contact with other Disney fans.
Over the last seven years, although we never met face to face, Lou has become a friend. But while Lou states on each podcast that he considers all his listeners his friends (whether he has met in person or not) he also says nothing beats a handshake and a hug. So for a long time I have wanted to meet him in person.
Always open to meeting his listeners, for the last several years, Lou has hosted the WDW Radio Meet of the Month each month at a specific location in Walt Disney World.
Recently, he's started hosting "road events" which are essentially a "meet of the month" in places across the country other than Orlando. Unfortunately all his road meets have been too far away for me to be able to get to.
Recently, I found out through the WDW radio podcast, that Lou was holding a road event in Atlanta on Sunday May 18.
The event was scheduled from 1-3 at a restaurant near a park in downtown Atlanta. I knew that the drive to Georgia would take about 4 hours. Was it worth it? Comparatively it was.
You see before I found out about Lou's meet. I was considering traveling to Wrigley Field in Chicago on May 20 to see the Yankees play. The trip would have accomplished two cool things. I finally would get to Wrigley Field for a game and would get to see Derek Jeter play for one last time.
Going to Chicago would be a 6 hour drive both ways and require an over night hotel stay. It would cost quite a bit once you factored in the price of a game ticket (a decent seat would be close to $100) and paying for gas. Also it would essentially be a two day trip and Paula wasn't going to be able to go with me.
The trip to see Lou would be one day and be about 1/3 of the cost of the trip to Chicago. I've had "meet a Disney podcaster" on my personal "to do" list for quite a while now. Here was my chance to do it.
The choice was easy. The investment of driving time might not have been worth it to most people. But I had been "itching" for a long road trip for a while and I would finally get the chance to get that "handshake and a hug." So I decided to go to Atlanta this past Sunday.
I left my house at 6AM. It was a beautiful crisp Sunday morning at least while I was in Kentucky.
As you check out the picture below you will see that I was set up with my Ipod loaded with the latest episode of all my favorite podcasts (upper left), my GPS (upper right), and XM satellite radio (you can see half of it in lower right corner to the right of the steering wheel); ready for my road trip.
I sent out a message on Facebook and on Twitter about how excited I was about the trip. A tweet that would play a big part in my day.
After pick up breakfast at Mickey D's, I headed down the highway. I was going to Atlanta to meet the WDW Radio guy, Lou Mongello.
More in part 2 tomorrow.