It’s been more than a year since I decided to go hang out with a bunch of bloggers in Mountain View, AR at the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged Conference. If I’m honest, I was seduced by the free boots from Country Outfitter, but as you can read here and here, it was an interesting and fruitful experience for me. It took me a bit to be comfortable with my weird existence in the bloggy world; blogging isn’t my livelihood, and I’m not blogging for my kids or to find my own tribe of like-minded bloggers (since I still can’t define what “kind” of a blogger I am). But I met nice people, got lots of swag, and did lots of introspecting. I felt justified in going since I figured I could take insights back to my day job marketing the arts at Walton Arts Center, which I did.
Tomorrow my 2nd AWBU experience begins. I’m excited for it. But good grief, how things have changed in my life since that trip.
For one thing, I no longer market the arts for Walton Arts Center. That’s big. Identity crisis, anyone? Nah, not really. But it will be strange to go this time just for me, although if I’m honest, I’ll be thinking of my next-and-currently-mystery employer, I’m sure.
I’m not sure if I would have gone to AWBU last year if I hadn’t gotten my friend Erin of IdyllHands to come with me.
I need a wingman in most of these hyper-networking focused events. She was a great one. We even got the same boots (pictured above), and we enjoyed (well, I enjoyed, and if she didn’t she didn’t say anything) sharing a room decorated in bedspreads with fish on them. But this year, she’s not coming, because, well, she moved to Portland, OR. I will miss her…correction…I do miss her, but you know…Portland. This year, I’m bringing a total blogging newbie with me, and I confess to a bit of nerves that it will all be too much for her. But we will have fun, I’m sure, because she’s cool like that.
Last year, I was on Blogger. This year, I’m on WordPress…sort of. I’m on wordpress.com, you know the one that everyone usually says with a slight sense of disappointment, the one that doesn’t involve self-hosting and plug-ins and all the glory of wordpress.org, the one that means you’re not quite a bonafide member of the “WordPress community”. It took me a LONG damn time to figure out the difference in these three platforms, y’all, and I like where I am. Just sayin’.
And finally, last year I was, if not content, then at least secure in the knowledge that Arkansas would be my home for the next few years. So, I loved learning about the folk culture at our conference location, and came away from the conference with a deeper pride and connection to my state. Now, though, it’s all different. My new job, whatever it might be, could possibly take me away from this place that I’ve come to refer to as home. That prospect, if I’m honest, is both exciting (because I love adventure) and makes me a little sad (because I love this place). I’m not sure how this will change the experience, but I’ve pretty much decided not to analyze it too much. If there’s one thing I’ve had plenty of time for these last few months, it’s introspection, and I’m kind of over it.
So, bring it, AWBU. Let’s have some fun. I mean, really…I’m going to summer camp at Ferngully…no wait…Ferncliff… with a bunch of nifty and smart women…that doesn’t suck.
And there will be swag. Yes, I’m shallow, I like swag. It will be provided mostly by a bunch of very generous sponsors. Rather than sending you to a link of them, I just put them below. They are awesome.