Last month, I embarked on my first-ever trip to Germany to attend opti 2020. This was my first trip to a European trade show, so, naturally, I wasn’t sure what to expect. To be honest, I was prepared to feel entirely out of my element—I don’t speak German (or any language other than English, for that matter), I have no idea how to find my way around Munich, and I don’t have any friends or family in the area. Thankfully, I turned out to be completely wrong.

Although I didn’t leave Munich at all while I was in Germany, opti 2020 gave me the experience of a world traveler—all thanks to the incredible booth design throughout the show. Eyewear brands from all over the world travel to opti to show, and it felt to me like each and every booth brought a bit of home with them. Whether it was Moscot, who made me feel at home with their homage to New York City in their booth or Savile Row, who designed their booth to look like a London storefront, attending this trade show felt like Around the World in 80 days—or more like 80 minutes.

With trade show season firmly upon us now, many of us will be traveling near and far to attend shows, meet up with old friends, and make new connections. Many of the places we travel to this year (Milan, Vegas, London, New York) are familiar to us—we go every year, after all. But no matter how well we know these places, no matter how much they feel like home, trade show season itself gives us the opportunity to travel, at least for a moment, anywhere in the world through the people we meet, the frames we bring home, and the new experiences we have.