It's been one hell of a September. Was it Mark Twain who said, "Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it?" That's been my Summer in a nutshell. After arriving back at E&P in May after a short hiatus, I was immediately engulfed by Houston's Offshore Technology Conference. The following month I flew to Budapest, Hungary, for IADC's World Drilling Conference. While both of these conferences were fruitful and educational from an editorial standpoint, the overall themes were overshadowed by the growing oil spill in the US Gulf of Mexico. I returned from Budapest with a wealth of contacts and editorial possibilities managing to leap back into the fold rather quickly. Now, I've often perused travel magazines wishing to visit faraway lands to experience different cultures and to witness uncommon sites. As of August 22, I boarded a plane to Stavenger, Norway for the bi-annual Offshore Northern Seas (ONS). This was a grand affair in a wonderful city with a weather report to die for, at least compared to Houston, Texas, at the time. While there, the Macondo blowout was still on people's minds although the "tragic" consequence was waning. Remediation was well underway, and the world's media were moving on to other news. In the North Sea, offshore activity continues to heat up. Companies are steaming ahead, and 2011 looks to be a bright industry, at least from North Sea/Barents Sea perspective. Near the end of August, I returned to my home city of Houston. One week later I was again boarding a plane bound for destinations outside the US. Beginning September 12, Montreal, Quebec hosted the XXI World Energy Congress (WEC). Much to my dismay, the heat proposed in the oil and gas industry at ONS seemed to have dissipated. My normal reportage was somewhat hampered by convolutions from the renewable sector. Although "energy" was prominent theme to the conference's title, little credence was paid to the future value of oil and natural gas. Using projections from 2007-2008 (stemming from $147/bbl oil), proponents of wind, solar, etc. espoused a skewed reality where renewable energy accounts for 50% of the world's supply by 2050. (For a more detailed rant check out "Maslow's Heirarchy Updated to Include Energy" from September 15, 2010.) While the time spent covering WEC was not in vain, it left little to be desired from the common consensus. On September 16 I landed in Houston once again. I slept in on Friday. By Saturday, September 18, I was boarding yet another plane--this time bound for Florence, Italy, to attend the annual SPE conference there. After a somewhat jaded week in Montreal where little enthusiasm was shown for oil and gas, it was nice to back among the believers in Florence. The conference boasted a wealth new technology and a number of technical sessions unveiling both new challenges and solutions to former ones. Unconventional shale held a lion's share of the spotlight as news from Halliburton's first successful completion for Poland's PGNiG came out just last month. The future of International Shale remains unwritten, but all indications are that it will soon take off. While the US continues to grow its reserves, many countries are working to get into the market. It was a nice respite to mingle with a number oil and gas executives who share a positive outlook on the world's future energy needs. While no one denies the increase of renewable energy's share in the global mix over the next 40 years, many of us understand that natural resources like natural gas will continue to provide the backbone by which alternative forms of energy can be introduced both through manufacturing, infrastructure development, and technological innovation. Meeting energy demand does not occur in a vacuum. Divining a robust alternative energy future out of thin air without accounting for fossil fuel's major contribution to this bridge is simply a pagan daydream. It will take everything to get there. As for the travel, I can't complain. While the tenure and tone of each individual trek varied drastically, I was glad to be a witness for each consecutive event. In the end, I've always "wished" that I could travel internationally; and I got exactly what I wished for.