Yesterday I sat next to a wonderful older gentleman on my way from Houston to Asheville, North Carolina for the Type A Mom blog conference. He shared great stories about being an aero engineer at NASA, told me a little about growing up in Asheville, and amiably chuckled over the particularities of the tiny commuter plane we were on (like: the noise, the size, the noise).
When I told him I was heading to a blogging conference, he smiled and said, “Oh, boy.” Then he asked what was my area of ex-per-teez. I told him it was a mix of personal, parenting, and product reviews. He asked a few more questions, got quiet, and finally asked the million dollar question: “And exactly what do you hope to accomplish at a blogging conference, anyway?”
He was a really sweet man, so I didn’t take it as condescending at all. But I got the feeling no amount of impassioned reply could have convinced him it was worth the time. Some things just don’t translate into someone else’s world view, and that’s ok.
Besides, it’s a valid question.
What had I hoped to get out of Type A Mom conference? Well, I had already started evaluating that as I reflected on my experiences from last year. I knew I was coming here willing to learn whatever lessons spoke to my soul. I knew I was coming to be: inspired, taught, amused, befriended, changed, or…all of the above.
Day One has already been all of that and more for me. I sat in on the session “Building A Business” with the seemingly bottomless font of knowledge, Maria Bailey. I wanted to stand and cheer at the end of the incredibly informative and infectiously energetic session on “Consulting in Your Community” with Sarah Pinnix. And I got goose bumps as I listened to Deb Rox‘s encouraging session on Strategic Planning.
I spent some time with my sponsor, eBay Classifieds, in the expo hall, spreading the word to bloggers and sharing details of the site. I also met some other great companies and representatives at the expo, and had a wonderful time at the hour-long “blogger/business speed dating” portion of the afternoon.
Dinner and mingling with old/new friends was peaceful, and the Type A Mom talent show tonight was actually quite moving (so many talented women! and so many of them pushing through fears to share them with us!).
I feel buoyed, I feel grateful. I feel, more than anything, like I am on the right path. And I’m moving down it the right way: MY WAY.
It was mentioned in Deb’s session today that bloggers do NOT need to attend conferences to become great bloggers. There are many roads to the same destination, and not every road must include a conference.
But, to answer my seatmate’s question from yesterday’s flight: I hope to leave with a fuller heart and a larger wealth of knowledge from coming here. And you know what? Mission accomplished.