Last Wednesday I loaded the car with my two suitcases and backpack, then headed to the airport for a midday flight to Chicago. It was time for my first blogging conference adventure, BlogHer 2013. I’d done my homework, translation: I’d read lots of blogs from experienced bloggers, on “what to expect at BlogHer” and “What to pack for BlogHer.” I thought I was prepared.
I had a suitcase with lots of extra room for toting home the “swag” everyone was going on and on about. Comfy shoes, chargers for my smartphone, DSR, FitBit, and anything and everything that could be charged. Clothes for every occasion: dresses, jeans, t-shirts, yoga pants, and comfy shoes.
Best item packed? The friction block that saved my feet all week, through more than 10,000 daily steps, until Sunday, when I made the bad decision to walk over 6 miles in my cowboy boots. It’s a Texan thing, y’all. (actually its because I had packed all of my other shoes, they weighed less)
I had schedules and event tickets printed, routes planned, and plenty of free time. Well, at least I thought I had free time. Maybe saying it out loud jinxed me, or maybe I was just delusional, but in the 5 days I was in Chicago, Sunday was the only day I ate both lunch and dinner while sitting down. Everyone had said, “don’t forget to eat”, I didn’t forget, I just didn’t have time.
From Thursday around 4 PM on, I felt like I was running a marathon. It was if I stepped on a treadmill, and someone flipped the switch to max speed. Things happened in a blur…but not everything.
So what goes down at a conference as big as BlogHer, when 5,000 + talented men and women descend on a city, ready to divide, conquer and unite! It starts with bloggers taking over Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with photos and updates. Most posted photo of BlogHer13: probably deep dish pizza.
We talk. A LOT. We talk about our blogs, our little piece on real estate on the Internet. We share photos of our children or pets. We commiserate about the hours we work, and being away from our children. We connect with brands, but most importantly with each other.
Sometimes things get awkward… like the time I was on the shuttle at McCormick Place catching a ride to the Sheraton. The blogger sitting in front of me had the cutest purse. As we were getting off the shuttle I blurted: “I love your blog.” Thing is, I meant to say “I love your bag.”
Not that I don’t love her blog, but I didn’t even know her name, or her blog. She could have given me a strange look, but instead when I saw Stacey later in the week at another event, we laughed about it, swapped cards, and now that I have checked out her blog (Stacey Says), I do love it!
We mingle with celebrities like Queen Latifah, Vince Vaughn, and the guys from One Direction.
We learn. I learned that sometimes those awkward moments are when you make memories and friends. I also learned BRF=bitc*y resting face, thanks Mary Jo!
We make lifelong friends. Some of my favorite memories include a photo opp with a childhood favorite (Snoopy), actually, I still love him as much now as I did as a child. Don’t judge me!
New Lifelong Friends From BlogHer
My new friend Mageenta Beetch, from the band The Sweaty Sox! She’s just one of the new sock monkeys with personality from Planet Sock Monkey.
Sunday evening on Twitter someone asked me:what was your #1 takeaway from BlogHer? It’s one huge conference with lots of events, a lot like summer camp. You learn more about yourself than you do about blogging. Everyone is nervous beforehand, but once you’re there, you realize people just want to connect with people that “get what they do, and why they do it.” It’s a lot like summer camp without the campfire. Kumbaya, anyone?