This past weekend I was blessed to be in Montreal to attend my second Food Bloggers of Canada conference. It definitely was a different experience for me as this year I was lucky enough to be on the volunteer crew. Some may not consider that lucky but I did. I love being behind the scenes and helping others enjoy their experience.
So here are my thoughts. Just like last year I am going to split my posts, this week will be the words as they are burning in the front of my mind and need to be written down. This will be a long post because there was a lot to digest for me. Next week will be the photos of the food and fun.
Because my life has pretty much been in upheaval for the last month I hadn’t really given much thought to the conference, to be honest. It was always there in the future but I couldn’t quite focus on it because of all of the things I needed to do before I got there. I knew where I needed to be, I knew I was going to be fed, and I knew I was going to have a pillow under my head at the end of the day. Other than that I was ready to work and that was all that mattered to me.
And then the day came, I was on my flight to Montreal. It was a very early day so I made sure to sleep as much as I could on the plane to prepare me for the upcoming day. And I’m glad I did because we were working right away, as soon as we got to the hotel. That day is like a flash to me. Making new friends and getting to know each other while stuffing bag after bag with all that amazing swag. It’s a blur of burlap and books and lots of lifting. Then in the evening we shared a meal together and enjoyed each other’s company in the quiet before the storm.The next day was similar in fashion as we got ready for arrivals and workshops. There was lots of lifting and lugging of swag bags and props. In fact before most of you picked up your swag bags my Fitbit was buzzing at 10,000 steps at 2:30 pm. Between the first two days of physical labour and the last two days of sight seeing my Fitbit was very happy with me. I think it funny that I may have been the only food blogger at this conference that actually lost weight!
And then we were there, it was Friday night cocktails, show time. The rest of the conference just flew by after that. So instead of walking you through everything blow-by-blow I just wanted to talk about the lasting impressions. Last year my post was about three words. The take away from this year is three thoughts.We are all going to be talking about Taking the Leap, of course, because that was the theme that Melissa and Ethan set-out for the conference. What was definitely defined was that those leaps will be different for each of us. Some of us may be on the verge of those life defining leaps and some of us may be on just a little bunny hop. Whatever it is, jump, move forward, challenge yourself to take the next step.
I loved that Ethan and Melissa asked us all to write down a goal we could achieve in two months and stick it in an envelope with our address on it. It will be interesting to see how that works out for everyone when they are mailed in the new year. I thought it was a brilliant and totally non-threatening way to set a goal for yourself. I mean, who’s going to keep you accountable more than, well you. I hope everyone took the opportunity to do their homework and fill out that goal.
The second theme is one that I talked about last year but I think it really is what these conferences are all about anyway and that is connection. This year is no exception. It was my great joy to meet up with some friends that I made last year and spend time with them. That even applies to friends from my own city. We are always so busy with what we are doing that we don’t get a chance to sit down and actually talk to each other. I also made a couple of new friends and really found out about them and what makes them tick. All of these connections are so valuable to me.But what is really important this year is how we take all these connections and work together. We all have a place in this crazy blogosphere world we are in and we all bring something different to the table. How do we support each other to make us all stronger? What does that look like in your city, province and country? Melissa and Ethan have helped us out and given us this community to talk about it. Now how do we carry that forward?
So I know this post is already really long but I wanted to talk about one more thing. On the last day, the very last session, I received my definition of purpose, at least for the next little while. In a session talking about moving from a hobby blogger to a professional blogger Ayngelina Brogan said it is ok to be a hobby blogger. Then it hit me, that is where I am and it is ok that that is where I am. That session combined with all the others made me think though. Ok, I am hobby blogger but I am going to be the best hobby blogger I can be. Put your best forward, even if it is your hobby, be professional. Such good advice.
Again, I want to say thank you to Melissa and Ethan for putting on a stellar conference. Le Westin was amazing and there was so much thought and detail put into everything. Thank you to all of the sponsors. Without them none of what we did in Montreal would be possible. The speakers and sessions were inspiring, all of them. Even though Casey probably blew everyone’s minds talking about SEO he fit right in and gave us so much to think about. So thank you all. A special thank you to Beth, Sondi, Christina, Ariel, Sandra and Shauna, our team. In the quiet moments it was special to learn about you and your kids or dogs or wherever you are in life. And of course all of you participants, it was so fun to see your enthusiasm and smiles every day. Ok, the gush fest is over but I needed to say all that.
So now that I have that out of the way stay tuned next week for some more photos of food and Montreal. I had a quick flip through and I don’t have too many but what I have I am going to share with you.