Being a court reporter has given me the opportunity to experience international travel, and today I find myself in Chiang Mai, a beautiful place at the base of the northern mountains of Thailand in a kingdom formerly known as Lanna, “A Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields.” Lan = Million and Na = Rice Fields.
I am not in Thailand to report a deposition, but to explore, relax, and spend time with my husband and dear friend Christine Randall of Wood & Randall who is becoming a president of her Bakersfield Rotary Club. Rotary International is holding its annual convention in Bangkok this week.
So you may ask, what does court reporting have to do with me being in Chiang Mai today?
My first trip to Chiang Mai was in 1987. I was 27 years old and had never been on a plane, never checked into a hotel, and had never been in a taxi. But I was a court reporter. One of my clients called one day and asked, “Would you do a deposition in Singapore?” Without hesitation I answered, “Yes.”
Everything about the trip was very scary to me. I didn’t know how airports worked, and I ended up misplacing all of my tickets for all of my connecting flights, everything, in the first hour of my trip. (I think I left the tickets on the airplane in the commuter flight between San Diego and Los Angeles.) The ticket agent in Los Angeles was not happy and would not guarantee me my seat on any of the flights through to the end.
The most relaxed I was on the whole trip is when I was actually reporting the deposition. I love writing on my steno machine, and I know I excel as a court reporter no matter where in the world I might find myself.
My travel agent suggested I stop over in Bangkok and Hong Kong as long as I was in Southeast Asia. Not wanting fear to stop me from ever doing anything, I took her advice and experienced the trip of a lifetime. And on the advice of a woman in Bangkok, I flew to Chiang Mai for a two-day excursion where I found an exotic world of elephants, wats, and the most kind people I have ever met.
I believe if I had not become a court reporter and was invited to Singapore so many years ago to report a deposition, I would not be in Chiang Mai today. My family did not travel. Being a court reporter has allowed me to face many fears – fear of writing realtime and letting others see I am not perfect, fear of writing testimony about cutting-edge science with witnesses who have difficult accents, fear of finding the correct comports on clients’ computers and getting them hooked up, and the fear of traveling to foreign places.
One thing I know for sure, not letting fear stop me has made my life as a court reporter incredibly rich. My wish for my fellow court reporters is not to let fear get in the way of greatness.