About 4 years ago I left Afghanistan (AFG). Imagine a 3rd World Country. Now imagine if were you are at is striving to be such a place. AFG has been at war since the 1970s so it is rough. 4th World Country is a valid description. I was working for a contractor tracking projects to improve the infrastructure.
After 8 months there and some searching here in Kansas City to be in the tradeshow business, the exhibit business is quite surreal. You've been to a tradeshow. You know that 15 minutes before the floor opens the booths are perfect. The display is dusted off, the graphics are all new and vibrant and the logo'ed shirts are all nice and pressed. The exhibits are in a state of perfection. The staff is buzzing in anticipation of what the next few days will bring. An exhibit house such as Exhibit Associates lives to get our clients to this state of perfection. The contrast between AFG and the tradeshow floor should only be told with photos since words can only fall short in this situation. The above photo was taken just outside the main airport in Kabul, the capital city.
Next week our teams will be in Orlando, NOLA, San Diego and Vegas. I will be in Orlando working with a client of ours Orlando. It is hard to imagine a further spot on the globe from where that photo was taken than Orlando.
Am I thankful I left AFG? Yes. Am I thankful I went to AFG? Yes. It was an experience that few will ever have. The journey from there to the privilege of leading an exhibit house is of course another story in itself. But 4 years ago this month is when I got to come home.