One of my goals for the Wander List was to go to a comic convention. Ever since I was a kid, I loved all things fantasy. It started out with the works of Roald Dahl and Frank L. Baum. I would spend hours reading about how Charlie took over the chocolate factory or how Dorothy crash landed in Oz. The fascination has continued over the years with Lord of the Rings and all the Comic movies that have come out lately.

I’m so on board with Marvel making a new movie every 6 months.

The kids at my high school weren’t into nerdy things. It was just before the “cool nerd” trend. I considered myself a closet nerd. Only behind closed doors would I obsess about vampires and magic wands.

A friend invited me to work at Zenkaikon, an anime convention in Lancater PA, so I jumped at the chance to finally go to one.

The drive was under 3 hours from New York so it wasn’t a bad trek down there. Lancaster was a very nice little colonial town. All the buildings were brick and marble, which made it look like it was straight from a story book. The hotel was right in the downtown area close to a few restaurants and touristy type places. The weekend was cold though and I spent most of it inside the hotel.

The convention was very interesting. I’ve never seen so many people meeting about a single topic or boys dressed in drag. Is it considered drag at a convention? I never figured out the answer.

Honestly, most of the time there I was pretty uncomfortable. I went from being the closet nerd to the one too cool to be there overnight. With my friends, I’m the expert about Game of Thrones and at the convention I was an amateur. Being an introvert, it wasn’t that easy to make small talk with so many strangers.

Here’s me looking awkward when I didn’t know how to start a conversation.




Yet the enthusiasm was infectious. I had more fun playing video games there than I had in years.

Most of the weekend, I was playing Artemis, a virtual flight simulation modeled after Star Trek (one of my favorite old sci fi shows.

There were 6 stations set up for different positions (Captain, Engineering, Communications, Science, Helm, and Weapons). The way it is set up, people can’t see the information on each screen so you have to communicate to get through a level and navigate the ship.



No one had ever heard of it before so it was a lot of fun watching new players get so excited. This 12 year old kid sat in the room for hours helping new people learn the jobs and often jumped in as Captain to help them out. One of the old timers, directed the level with the same authority of a real leader of Star Fleet.

Another game they had was a huge projection of the old Sailor Moon arcade game.


The nostalgia it invoked reminded me of my brother and I going to an arcade with a couple dollars in quarters. We would be so excited and play as many games as possible. We never had a lot of money, the time would fly by, running back to our mom to ask for a couple extra dollars.

Overall, I’m glad I went. It was a really different experience from what I’m normally used to and it’s always good to change it up. If I ever went to another one, I would go with friends that I knew a little better. It was kind of awkward to be alone when most of the other people knew each other.

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