Modelers are fairly eccentric people. We spend hours at a time sitting alone in a secluded room away from our families to painstakingly recreate an aircraft or vehicle in small scale. Our hobby is a lot like work yet we don't get paid for it. Maybe that is why some of us enter our models into contests - to seek some sort of award for the blood, sweat, and tears we have spilled along the way. Of course, I'm sure some of us attend these geeky gatherings to mingle with others of our kind, swap stories, see some really decent models, and of course, spend our life savings in the vendor rooms.
Whether they are called shows, contests, or conventions, they take place in one fashion or another throughout the year globally. If you are a modeler, chances are you have access to a model-related get together some where in your region. It may be only a local club but it is better than nothing. If you don't happen to live within close proximity to an annual show then you may have to put some miles on your car if you really want to win AMPS gold.
So just how far are you willing to go for this hobby?
Every year, I attempt to make two different shows - Mosquito Con in Wayne, New Jersey and Armor Con in Danbury, Connecticut. Both of these shows occur annually, and generally take place on the same weekend every year which is convenient to plan around. While I enjoy attending them, they are quite a distance away. Wayne is roughly a two and a half hour drive up the Parkway and Danbury is just a hair over three hours. Of course, this may not be lengthy compare to some of your travels but to me (and my wife who doesn't understand the draw) its a long way to drive to look at a bunch of models.
I have had the occasion to attend some other shows if they pop up during the year, like Jersey Con or an IPMS Region 2 show. Some have been closer but I have never ventured greater than three hours for a hobby fix. I have determined that over six hours of driving is not worth it considering I will likely be spending less than six hours on the location. While I could make it a two day event, I am entirely unwilling to spend additional money on a hotel when that cash could go to more important things...like kits in the vendor room.
That said, I will likely never attend a the IPMS or AMPS National if it is not within a three hour drive. I was fortunate enough to attend the IPMS National when it was in Maryland about five years ago. In fact, that might have been the first show I had ever attended. Though it got me hooked, I'm not nearly addicted to the point that I am willing to drive much further, or worse, fly. I will leave that to you crazy folks.
Aside from shows, there really isn't any other need for me to travel. In my region, there are no model clubs and I barely know any modelers on a personal level so starting one myself would be difficult. The nearest club is an hour away but that isn't worth the monthly drive either.
Even my "local" hobby shop isn't near by. AAA Hobbies is a forty minute drive but that I can tolerate considering I only make the trip two or three times a year. If I desperately need something, I will let UPS do the driving.
So, while I enjoy the occasional model show, I am only willing to attend if it meets my criteria. The farthest I have ever gone in the name of the hobby is three hours or just shy of 175 miles. That is likely the farthest I will ever go. While going to Telford or even Euro Militaire would be an awesome adventure, unless I win the lottery, it just isn't going to happen.
Read Some More!
Part of being in the Union means you must include links to fellow contributors' posts within your own response. If you liked this post, then perhaps you'll enjoy what some other modelers have to say about this topic!