Sundance: solo travel lesson is learned once again.

Philip Seymour-Hoffman answering questions at Q&A after "Jack Goes Boating"

I arrived in Salt Lake City and, just as planned M picked me up from the airport around noon. (If you haven’t read it yet, Travel Partners Make Sundance Affordable will tell you who M is.) We drove to Park City together, picked up the keys to our condo and checked in. Then M had to head back into town to work at the Yarrow Theater and I got organized. There were things to do:

  • Figure out how to get into Park City, 3 miles away, using the the free bus system.
  • Check into the Volunteer Villa to pick up my credentials.
  • Pick up my volunteer uniform and other SWAG.
  • Get the lay of the land in Park City.
  • Start choosing films.
  • Maybe see a film.
  • Connect with A, the other roommate in our condo.

Sundance treats their volunteers very well. At the Volunteer Villa I received a warm welcome and lots of advice. Surprisingly, I was in line right behind O, a woman that I connected with on the Sundance Volunteer Facebook discussion board. A friend already.From check-in, I went to pick up the Sundance jacket — a really nice white bomber by Kevin Cole. Unfortunately, there was only men’s XXL left. Obviously, I haven’t worn it. But I am trying to figure out how to give it away to a Solo Traveler reader. So please, give me your suggestions in the comments section of this post as to how I can do this fairly. By then it was about 6pm. Maybe a film? But it was bothering me that I hadn’t yet connected with A. She needed a key to use the condo. And I hadn’t really figured out the city. And where were all the people? This was Saturday night and the streets were quiet?

I ran into Olivia again and decided to follow her to the theater she was working at. It was a hotel with conference rooms modified for the screenings. There was a makeshift cafe set up and I was starved so I had a bowl of chile and decided I couldn’t sit through a film worried about A. After the bite, I headed back to the condo – not feeling very accomplished.

Me at the Eccles Theater where I was on the theater team.

The Lesson
So the lesson is patience. I have to be patient when I go to a new place. I have expectations of the trip and, while my expectations have always been met, it has never happened on the first day. Day 2 is when things get into gear. And that’s exactly what happened. Everything worked:

  • I woke up and checked the film schedule one more time and noticed that “Jack Goes Boating” was playing at 9:15. I could barely make it in time but I did.
  • I walked down the mountain from the condo to the bus station and it looked like I had missed my bus. But I hadn’t. I got on the right bus and it took me right to the theater.
  • The film is fantastic — a nice piece of theater adapted for film with stunning performances. And Philip Seymour Hoffman was there for Q&A.
  • I took the free shuttle bus to Main Street and discovered the Park City action.
  • After a lunch and checking out “New Frontiers Performances and Installations” where I met O again, I headed for my shift at the Eccles Theater.
  • On the way I noticed that I had time to stop at the Volunteer Villa to check email. I did.
  • Back on the free theater circuit bus and I was at Eccles Theater on time.
  • I got a wonderful job checking that people didn’t bring food into the treater – which meant that I got to see two more films: “The Runaways” and “The Killer Inside Me”. (reviews of all films to come)
  • When my shift was over at midnight I overheard a guy mention that he was driving to Salt Lake City. My condo is on the way so I got a lift, thereby avoiding the thousand people trying to get on a bus at that time.
  • I arrived home and M was still up. She told me her film plans for Monday (today) and the first was a film at 8:30, “Blue Valentine” that I really wanted to see but couldn’t figure out how I could get there in time. I had written off the idea but now it was a plan.
  • I went to bed knowing that my tomorrow (today) would be even better.
  • Yes, patience.

    • Mari Campos

      Loved it! btw, I’d LOVE to be in Park City right now 😉

    • Sonia

      Just found your blog after joining the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Great way to save some cash by sharing a condo with others.

      Glad you are having a positive experience being a Sundance Festival volunteer. If you have questions about anything in Park City, just ask the closest person. Most locals are very nice and will be glad to help you out – buses, restaurants, etc..

      Look forward to hearing the rest of your experiences at Sundance. Focus on Film & then have some fun!