I’m sitting in the tiny Tallahassee airport attempting to guess if any of the other passengers on my flight to Atlanta are going to Dragon Con. My knee jerk first impression is probably not but what do I know? That’s the magic of a con – you can transform yourself once you get there. Or not. Your experience is entirely up to you. It’s a heady feeling.

They’re playing Dancing Queen on the PA and we’re all pretending not to notice that the majority of us are bouncing along and humming it under our breath. It seems a fitting start to an event as wildly entertaining and diverse as Dragon Con. You’re sharing space with people from all walks of life, coming together to celebrate joy in something. Unbridled joy is such a rare treasure these days I have to give myself permission to experience it. Dragon Con is a glittering reminder there’s more to life than 24 hour news channels and social media.

Dragon Con is a hundred thousand stories ready to unfold. I’ve never met a person there who didn’t have a fascinating tale or slice of life to share. We are united in our quest. We are there because we fell in love with a thing and we need to celebrate it. It’s as simple as that.

So ok maybe I’m a bit shaky on the eve of this Dragon Con. Everything from the personal to the political is more uncertain than it’s ever been. I figure that means it’s time to run away and have an adventure – to immerse myself in inspiration rather than cynicism.

Dragon Con may be a fantasy but it’s a damn good one, and that doesn’t make it any less relevant. Humans solve problems through metaphor and allegory. We have to dream before we can build. We also have to be brave enough to risk ridicule and judgment. Perhaps that’s why I love this convention so much. Sitting in that airport my fellow travelers and I felt compelled to hide our delight for something labeled as silly and frivilous even though the song’s only crime was it made us smile. At Dragon Con we allow ourselves to be openly, brazenly, defiantly happy and the world is a little bit brighter for it.