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Last year, for the first time in several years, I did not make it to SAP TechEd in the fall. Next week, I will not be in Las Vegas for the 2013 event, nor will I be in Amsterdam for TechEd EMEA. For the second time, I am privileged to be attending TechEd Bangalore in December, as an SCN Moderator, an SAP Mentor, and an SAP customer. Two years ago, I planned and completed my first visit to India (see: Help an SAP Mentor with his travels? ), had a wonderful time, but did not expect to get the opportunity again. Life is often what you make it, so I'm returning.

First, a bit about my prior trip. My blog post pleading for community help remained generally unanswered, though I got tangential help, including tips from vijay.vijayasankar, shabarish.vijayakumar, krishna.moorthyp, and dewang.trivedi. To my surprise, the person who offered to help most directly was now-SAP Mentor, September 2012 SCN Member-of-the-month, and terrific blogger kumud.singh. Without her graciously hosting and acting as tour guide, I would not have experienced India in quite the same way, nor would marilyn.pratt or jeanne.carboni have had the temple visit Kumud arranged. I've written here about the TechEd conference itself (see: Recapping and recapitulating SAP TechEd Bangalore and TechEd marathon - last minute preparations - Bollywood homage as just two examples on SCN), and externally about my personal vacation/holiday, especially the  3-hour bus ride with abesh.bhattacharjee to visit his home town, wife Haimanti, son Ahir, and his parents. I learned not to touch anything I dropped - "visitors do not work!"

What to expect this year? I've altered the blog title from "Help a Mentor" to "Help a Moderator", as I seem to have been spending more time behind the scenes lately moderating, training moderators, policing the site, and related administrative matters than being out front as a Mentor or presenter. My day job keeps me plenty busy, though we're not on the bleeding edge (still upgrading one last 4.7 ERP system, and meanwhile retiring AS400 applications that seem to have the tenacity of dandelions). I've offered to help with hands-on sessions in Bangalore (a cool opportunity afforded SAP Mentors, though I've not heard whether that has been accepted or not. As in previous TechEd conferences, I'll jump on the hands-on registrations when they open, unless I miss the memo, schedule too many overlapping obligations, and I'll meet people from the SCN community.  jocelyn.dart wrote about "Meet The Moderators" in a post called Meet the Moderator at #SAPTeched 2013 Las Vegas - C'mon I dare you! - I expect to be hosting similar meet-ups in Bangalore. Marilyn Pratt has asked me to attend her "failure" sessions, documented in Why Owning Failure Makes Good Business Sense.  I can talk about this, having had personal crises probably exacerbated by too much time helping others. Fortunately, I will traveling with my new partner Heather, who knew nothing about SAP before we met.

Where else are we going? Of course, I won't be traveling halfway around the world to attend only one conference then head back. We've worked with the same travel agent that got me around India in 2011, skipping the American middleperson this time, to once again visit with Abesh (though in his temporary station in Pune, not his homeland), see Mumbai (where all SCNotties should be filmed), then a week in southern India, starting in Kerala:

02nd to 04th DecCochin
04th to 05th  DecPeriyar
05th to 06th DecMunnar
06th to 07th DecOoty
07th to 08th DecBandipur
08th to 10th DecMysore

What help do I need?  Before I ask that, I want to know what help I can give at the conference, before the conference, or after. What do people think about the changes with SCN?  Is there too much emphasis on HANA and not enough about interfaces, communications, and other business imperatives?

Where would you recommend we visit in the above locations? 

Wrapping up, the above shot illustrates my impression of the US, juxtaposed with India. My old shovel on the left has a wooden handle, but I've stressed it over the years to the point where the blade has begun to fracture; the newer pick mattock, barely showing the imprint of a foundry in India, has a plastic handle and so far I've not chipped the cutting edge. The tools can work together, as can the communities around the world.

What can we do to top mark.finnern's post Best SAP TechEd Ever! Period! ?