Workshops, presentations, and networking filled my days at the STC Summit. I learned from the best in the field. During early morning breakfast gatherings, I met with colleagues. We used lunch time for SIG meetings or to take part in Speed Networking. In the ever-present Exhibition Hall, I learned about software applications and upcoming events. STC even filled our early evenings with business meetings and an award ceremony.

Constant activity and noise. Sometimes I felt saturated with information. I needed quiet. Where could I go to relax and think through the insightful material?

There was my hotel room. Somehow the room wasn’t conducive to letting my mind wander. That’s it! I wanted a venue where I could just be; simply let my mind wander through the recordings inside my head of the enlightening sessions I’d heard.

But where?

Late one afternoon, I headed down toward the National Harbor boardwalk. 20170508_172812-National HarborAlthough a river cruise sounded lovely, I knew there would be a band and more noise. That wouldn’t work.

As I got closer to the water’s edge, I spotted a small white wooden boat.

Water Taxi

“Where does the Water Taxi go?” I asked the cashier at the pay station.

“Alexandria, Virginia.”

“What’s there to do?”

“At this hour, mostly check out the eateries.”

Hmm…not what I had in mind…that would be more noise. “Could I just ride without getting off in Alexandria?”

“Of course! The Taxi’s leaving soon; wanna buy a ticket?”

I happily handed over my cash and boarded the Water Taxi.

The Water Taxi glided along the Potomac. We passed dark green forested areas and small white houses.

Greenery and White House

Closer to Alexandria, we viewed the urban center along the water’s edge. This SoCal Gal wasn’t dressed for Spring in DC, which was a lot colder than in LA! I chose the cushioned seat inside the heated cabin. I relaxed and watched the video about the city’s history and tourist attractions. Other than a few hushed conversations and the video, I had a quiet ride. The sunlight over the Potomac changed slowly to dull yellow and orange.

After we passed under the highway bridge, I spotted Old Town Alexandria.

20170508_183707-old town alexandria

The Water Taxi slowed as it neared the shore. I excitedly watched one of the crew jump onto the dock. From my camp experiences, I knew what was next: tying the boat to the piling. Once secure, the crew lowered the gangplank and some of the passengers disembarked.

I walked to the cabin door and checked the outside temperature before I left the warm cabin. Funny. We weren’t all that far from our point in the National Harbor yet the wind had subsided. Weather in Old Town Alexandria was warm with a light breeze. I strolled onto the deck to enjoy the fresh air and scenery: more greenery and wood-planked walkways lined the area. Behind the Water Taxi was a paddleboat, fresh out of a Mark Twain novel! From another side, I saw a floating wooden gazebo next to docked boats—perhaps a gathering place for the boat owners? 

Picturesque and peaceful.

I spent the return trip on a deck seat and enjoyed the scenery without a window barrier. The gentle gliding motion of the Water Taxi soothed me. The lapping sound of water against the boat reminded me of earlier times when I’d sailed or canoed. I smiled at the memories.

After I returned to the hotel, I realized I hadn’t thought about the workshop material. Yet I did notice less noise in my head. This Water Taxi ride readied me for another day of learning and hob-knobbing with my fellows!