6/27/13 Travel Log

Following is a copy of a rough journal entry I had written while en route, without wi-fi and with little battery power remaining, to Dublin.


6/27/13 travel log – slightly leading in to 6/28/13

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport before the storm
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport before the storm

I arrived at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport soon after leaving work. About two hours prior to boarding my scheduled flight to Philly, I discovered my flight was cancelled. I was instructed to visit customer service representatives  to obtain new boarding passes for a later flight, but I was quite dismayed because I could not afford to miss my flight from Philadelphia to Dublin. If I were to take a later flight to Philadelphia, I would not have been able to catch my scheduled 9PM flight to Dublin.

While at the customer service desk, I noticed a woman making her way to the rental car area following her discussion with another customer service representative who advised her to take a rental car to Philadelphia in order to catch her next flight.

Realizing we both faced a similar problem and could achieve a similar remedy, I asked the woman if I may accompany her on travel, explained my situation, and offered to pay half of the rental fare. The woman, initially reluctant, invited me to join her and , soon after, another man — also needing to arrive in Philadelphia before his next flight had arrived — had asked if he could join her. A party of three, then, would leave the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport in a race to catch flights.

View from the rental car
View from the rental car

The rental car drive was very rewarding and a welcome change to flying to Philadelphia although I was under considerable time pressure, had entered a storm, and was stuck in congested traffic at times. All of us were very open to conversation – discussing our lives and our plans following flight. We eventually arrived at the Philadelphia airport, still in torrential rain that had impeded earlier parts of our travel (and likely cancelled our flights to Philadelphia), and took a shuttle service to the airport.

Stormy shuttle service
Stormy shuttle service

With approximately an hour to spare, I went through security, found my gate, and was prepared to board. I had finally seated in my respective gate with only 15 minutes remaining before boarding which allowed for a panini purchase, a restroom break, and a small window by which to charge my cell phone. Although I was disoriented and lost within the Philadelphia airport, I was able to find me way because of helpful airport staff who put me in the right direction.

The 'Last Supper'
The ‘Last Supper’

I arrived on the airplane to Dublin and was hit with more complications – hours of delays while sitting on a plane not yet off the ground. Following a very delayed takeoff, I noticed, much to my chagrin, that no wi-fi was available on the plane although I had thought that wi-fi would be available because of website advertisement.

The complimentary meals and drinks while flying were very welcome and very good. Passengers largely left me alone save people speaking loudly behind me. My first flight experience, thanks in part to generosity from strangers who had accompanied me in a rental car through torrential rain and troubling traffic, although fraught with complications, was a success.

As always, feel free to leave your comments below.


Irish eyes will be smiling

1044823_10151510322929327_1636149682_nI’m currently sitting in the lobby of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre International Airport waiting for my flight to Philadelphia which will connect me to Dublin, Ireland.

I leave Philadelphia at 9:00PM local time and will arrive in Dublin around 9AM Dublin time to later report on the Empowering Women Through Secularism conference [Update: The flight leaving to Philadelphia may be delayed because of inclement weather and may instead leave at 8:03PM local time – Update 2: I am now in a rental car with two strangers — whose flights to Philadelphia were also cancelled — en route to Philadelphia in order to catch the flight to Dublin that hopefully will not be delayed.].

Stay tuned to my Facebook page, Twitter feeds (main, alternate 1, alternate 2), #EWTS on Twitter (unless the conference hashtag changes/is established), and Brave Hero Radio for updates and reporting (see more concerning the June 30 Brave Hero Radio episode here). All of this is possible thanks to promotion, support, and donations from brave heroes who funded my expedition.

As always, feel free to leave comments below.

Inconsistency, irony, and intrigue in Ireland


While preparing for my trip to the Empowering Women Through Secularism (EWTS) conference — thanks to a fundraiser graciously promoted and funded by supporters — I failed to notice any type of anti-harassment policy listed on the conference’s website and am thus quite befuddled. I praise conference organizers for not implementing an anti-harassment policy, but cannot help but note inconsistency within some speakers at this upcoming conference.

According to a select group of bloggers and their commenters, anti-harassment policies in various flavors are required for women to feel safe, welcome, and invited at conferences throughout the secular community [and beyond] because, as they claim, conferences are unsafe places for women. The secular community is allegedly rife with misogyny and only with anti-harassment policies may women be protected from sexual harassment and ‘creepy men’ which are allegedly common at conferences.

At least three individuals who have been fiercely engaged in rhetoric surrounding the necessity of anti-harassment policies will be speaking at this conference and, as far as I know, they have made no objections concerning the lack of an anti-harassment policy although other conferences and conference organizers have been under extreme fire – characterized as “anti-woman,” “not caring about diversity,” “not caring about women,” “siding with harassers,” “misogynistic,” “sexist,”etc.

One particular EWTS speaker — according to a recent interview — established two requirements for her speaking at conferences: at least 35% women speakers and an anti-harassment policy.

Perhaps because EWTS is a conference primarily concerned with women there is no need for an anti-harassment policy? Not so…at least when considering the recent Women in Secularism 2 conference which heralded its prized conduct policy — trumpeted by and invoked by speakers scheduled for both Women in Secularism 2 and EWTS — included on the conference’s main page.

In October of 2012, Atheist Ireland, one of the organizations responsible for and/or working to make EWTS possible released a statement noting another organization — Atheist Alliance International — instituted an anti-harassment policy and encouraged member organizations to adopt similar policies…but there is no policy at the EWTS conference nor does Atheist Ireland, as it seems, have such a policy.

Since EWTS has no anti-harassment policy, why is it the case that — since anti-harassment policies, according to a select group of bloggers and their commenters, are so important — there has been no outrage directed at EWTS and its organizers although outrage was directed at other conferences and conference organizers?

How can speakers objecting to the lack of anti-harassment policies at other conferences, and even refusing to speak at conferences lacking anti-harassment policies, be ethically justified in speaking at EWTS and saying nothing about the lack of an anti-harassment policy? Why the double standard? Perhaps flights from the United States to Ireland, fame, and speaking to audiences are enough to compromise principles?

I must, though, applaud organizers of EWTS for not falling into the ‘anti-harassment policies are necessary for women to feel safe from ‘creepy men’ and the secular community is rife with misogyny’ false narratives.

Instead of infantilizing women and demonizing men by instituting a bogus, worthless, and pandering anti-harassment policy which provides an illusory safety net, women are left to be empowered by their own assertiveness, Irish laws, and venue regulations…unless the intrepid and suspiciously-placed security team/personal bodyguards which were rumored to have been put in place by Melody Hensley at Women in Secularism 2 because of “concerns” due to my Washington D.C. appearance may mysteriously appear in Ireland.

The conference which was home to the alleged ‘elevator incident’ has no anti-harassment policy and the woman involved in the supposed ‘elevator incident’ — although she stipulates that conferences she speaks at must have anti-harassment policies —  is scheduled to speak at this conference lacking an anti-harassment policy with no complaints. Inconsistancy, irony, and intrigue indeed.

As always, feel free to add your thoughts below.

Passport has arrived!

976840_10151476317004327_134715806_oA quick update…

My passport has arrived via postal mail!

Thanks to gracious donors and supporters who promoted my Indiegogo campaign aiming to fund a trip to the upcoming Empowering Women Through Secularism conference in Dublin, Ireland, I raised $3515; the fundraiser was successful and I will be attending the Dublin conference.

Stay connected to my social network accounts [Facebook, Twitter main profile, Twitter alternate account 1, Twitter alternate account 2] from which I will be reporting and providing updates pertaining to the conference. Episodes of Brave Hero Radio — broadcasting live from Dublin — will also provide some of the first audio reporting from the conference and welcome callers.

As always, feel free to leave comments below.