WHAT YOU MISSED (Vegas Edition) — Being a #BiSC-uit: A Weekend That Changes EVERYTHING

The shot of (almost) everyone at BiSC 2013 on the last day when all the feelings came out.
A whole group of BiSC-uits dressed up for the White Party at BiSC 2013!
Photo courtesy of San.

Sometimes you just won’t recognize something that’s been missing in your life until you experience it.

I’ve been back in Toronto a few days now after almost a week spent in the crazy of Las Vegas — but I haven’t blogged. I haven’t felt the urge to get back in the mix and put my blood, sweat and tears into my content… not unless I was ready to chance everything and start to write stuff that lives up to my potential. That week in Vegas — much of it spent at Bloggers in Sin City (BiSC) — returned something to me that I didn’t know I was missing. It gave me something that makes me look at the world around me in a different way, and changes what I’m trying to accomplish with everything I do.

It gave me hope.

Going in Circles

For me, these last few years as a Toronto blogger have been quite a trip — I’ve experienced things I didn’t know possible, lived a lifestyle with free meals and cool toys — life has been full of amazing events, all in exchange for sharing my thoughts about them on my blog.

At the same time, though, blog long enough and you either perfect your blogging craft, or burn out trying to do so and call it quits. The more I blogged, the more opportunities came my way, the more tricks I learned, the more I wanted to do to make my blog as excellent as possible. This is all great, but I got to the point where I was investing enough time into the blog to pretty much make it a second job. I wasn’t sleeping, I’d end up doing posts sometimes out of obligations and not enjoyment — was this all these was? Would I be lost in a sea of product endorsements and event recaps, alienating myself from my audience by not sharing who the man behind the blog actually was?

These are the kinds of questions I’d been asking myself lately, and BiSC couldn’t have come at a better time to help me find some answers!

Simone had tried to get me out to BiSC for a couple of years, and had it not interfered with wedding planning (2011) and a trip to Africa (2012), I very likely would’ve made it out, too! In some ways, for me it was lucky that it was the last BiSC, or I might not have worked up the nerve to go out and be part of it — and it was undoubtedly a weekend that left its mark on me!

There are only three things I regret about Bloggers in Sin City:

  1. That I didn’t make the time to read up on all the other BiSC-uits’ (i.e. the name used to refer to a BiSC attendee) blogs beforehand;
  2. That I didn’t make it out to BiSC sooner; and
  3. That I didn’t get to spend enough time to build these vastly epic and meaningful relationships with every BiSC-uit in attendance, because so many of them were amazing, and I hope that I can correct this at some point in the future.

Regrets aside, I wouldn’t have had the weekend any other way. I’ll break all the madness of BiSC down for you later, but what I can tell you is this — five days into Vegas, I found myself at a Starbucks in the MGM Grand late at night, the end of BiSC only a few hours behind me.  I had a lot on my mind about what I’d just encountered, and I realized this — I might be sore, I might be tired, but I’d just been part of something that just changed my life.

The shot of (almost) everyone at BiSC 2013 on the last day when all the feelings came out.
Welcome to my new family. (*biological family, I’m sorry. They’re just that awesome.)

BiSC — More than JUST an Unconference

At the same time, five days in, I’d considered getting an earlier flight back to Toronto a couple of times by then, since being in the City of Sin can feel like being a stranger in a stranger land counting down until he can return to the land he knows and loves.

It’s the little things you miss a lot more when you don’t have them. Time spent with Sarah right before bed. Being able to get from point A to B with a quick subway ride or walk that didn’t involve bridges, detours, motovators, escalators or just about every crazy the city has to throw at you. Prices that make sense and knowing that just maybe you won’t have to pay extra for each incidental thing that makes your life a little happier.

But BiSC isn’t about the city — the city is the draw, because of its notoriety and all the crazy it has to offer. But really, BiSC could’ve been hosted anywhere and still be equally as amazing.

Because BiSC is about the people.

With a cast of 70+, you’re going to form stronger bonds with some than you do others. I’d told some new friends that I wished I’d found time to sit down with every BiSC-uit and discover just how amazing a connection we could make with each other, but that’s not realistic — not in four days.

What we got instead was an understanding of the types of people we naturally gravitated toward. You had your introverts and extreme extroverts, people who wanted all the alcohol they could take, and some who just wanted some good rest. Every blogger at BiSC brought something different to the table, and it wove together in a glorious mosaic of feelings, adventures and chances. The chance to discover something new. The chance to become someone new. Or — as Simone and Raoul  have so eloquently put it — the chance to find your tribe, the people you were always meant to rely on; you just never knew it.

We’re not meant to walk this Earth alone, but the lives that society has decreed for us often leaves us thinking otherwise. But we need each other. There’s power in numbers that can’t even be quantified — the bonds we make are the very things that’ll decide whether we live the lives we want to lead.

Let’s be real — my blog isn’t at a point where it’s going to have me swimming in my money like Scrooge McDuck, but that’s not the point. We can have all the money, all the power — all the things that we’re taught to lust after, but at some point or another, we all learn that without these ever-important bonds, gaining all the wealth in the world will leave us little we actually care to spend it on!

So here’s to BiSC. Here’s to a shared experience with handfuls of my new favourite people and all the energy they’ll put back out into the world. And while I’m not certain when next our paths will cross, there is one thing I know — with the Internet being the thing that connected us in the first place, none of us are ever truly far from one another. I’ll be reading up on all of their blogs, keeping up with them on Facebook and Twitter to keep our relationships going, and

I’ve come back to Toronto a better man for the experience, remembering that there’s more to the city than what it can give me — I must always remember to do what I can to make the city a better place to live in as well, even if isn’t the simplest task.

May we all be the best we can be.


–case p.

P.S. If my testimonial for how amazing the weekend was isn’t enough for you, I urge you to check out any of the BiSC recaps from my fellow BiSCuits, because everyone got a slightly different — yet utterly astounding experience from only a few days: LauraKatelinSanNicoValorieKelly LMarianMikaelKateGermanaKarlynJenn BKaciDominiqueJess, and Terra!

Author: Casey E. Palmer

Calling the Great White North his home, Casey‘s spent the last few decades in pursuit of creating killer content. From novels as a kid, comics as a teen, to blogs and photos once he could grow a beard, he’ll use whatever’s around him to create amazing stuff. When he’s not creating, he’s parenting, exploring and trying to make life as awesome as possible for everyone around him. Because a boring life’s not a life worth living!

18 thoughts on “WHAT YOU MISSED (Vegas Edition) — Being a #BiSC-uit: A Weekend That Changes EVERYTHING”

  1. Awesome post, glad you had a great time while you were there and came back with some insights and a bit of a new perspective! Definitely wanna check out some of the other bloggers you met while there. Vegas is surreal, isn’t it?

    1. Thanks, Ashley 🙂 It was a good way to spend my third (and likely final for SOME time) trip to Vegas — amongst great people all having a great time!

      “Real life” can often drag us away from the amazing experiences that we share with others, and I’ve already been a few days back into my life as “regular Casey”, already feeling the pull of routine as it tries to set me back to status quo.

      But I’m really hoping that I can take everything I felt and learned and really start to move in a better direction.

      Time — and a WHOLE lot of effort — will tell!

    1. Thanks so much, Casandra — it was pretty much like nothing I can remember experiencing; full of life, fun, emotions — I don’t know. Words don’t do it justice, but I’m trying to write it all out so I can cling onto the feeling and let it push me forward to do better things.

      I think, what I’m hoping for, is an entirely new approach to how we blog in Toronto.

      I wonder if that’s too much to ask for?

  2. While it’s difficult to be inspired 100% of the blogging time, the reason we all keep it up to a degree is simply to declare to the onlookers that “I am here.” In the blogging community, we’re all each others’ little lighthouses. But it’s events like these that rekindle the flames just when you think you’ve run out of fuel.

    You don’t have to be profound or show us great new toys all the time, Casey. We just gotta know you’re there. Because that way, we can be there for you. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Nico — that’s one of the refreshing things about BiSC. Being able to step away from all the expectations and just be who I am, and be accepted for that. It was an amazing time, and one I want to make a part of my life as much as possible 🙂

      I believe in you, sir. Thank you for believing in me 🙂

  3. Hey Case,

    I’m so glad the this conference had such a positive effect on you! I need to make it out to one of these conferences. They sound so AMAZING and based on our conversation. So do the people!
    Toronto is glad to have you back, and we can’t wait to see what direction you’re going to take.
    I’ve been doing some soul searching too… Stuff has to happen.

    I’m on it.

    PS. Great post.

    1. I’m hoping we can come up with something after BiSC, since Nicole is moving on to other pursuits — the more I discuss this with other BiSCuits, the more I understand why it worked. To quote one friend, BiSC provides “zero-judgement, pure friendship” — we were all bonded through our eccentricities and the fact that no one expected us to be anyone but ourselves. In the “real world”, you’re often asked to conform in order to fit in, but without that rule, it was just unbridled personality and it all worked SO WELL.

      I think the rest of 2013 is going to prove to be VERY interesting.

      Glad you’re along for the ride 🙂

  4. HOW DID WE NOT TALK ABOUT TANZANIA AND CLIMBING KILIMANJARO!?!? I CLIMBED MACHAME TOO LAST OCTOBER!!! I volunteered for 3 weeks in Moshi, did safari, Zanzibar, then climbed. Can we please talk about this?!

    I am so glad you came to BiSC this year. You helped make it be the best year yet for me. I loved meeting you and wish you lived in DC. I just want to be your friend in real life all the time. Canada is too far. I’m still working on my post, trying to find the right words. You radiate joy and fun and are absolutely a delight to be around. Your smile, inviting personality and dance moves brighten any room. Sarah – you have good one !

    I know you have a lot of up coming life changes and I can’t wait to follow along on your journey.


      Man, that was an INTENSE journey! We should swap safari and Machame pics sometime for sure!

      Caryn, thanks for the good times we shared 🙂 I always felt like I could just hang out and talk with you, no problems at all. DC’s not THAT far. I’m sure we can make paths cross — and until then, I’m on Google Talk ALL the time. Always feel free to drop me a line!

      The party’s FAR from over 🙂

  5. Casey, you were definitely one of the most fun and easy-going people I’ve met at BiSC and I am so glad we got to spend some time (and talks) together… I felt the same thing from BiSC that you described: inspiration and hope. Hope that people can be better than you expect them to be and how easy it is to float around a group of people and feel comfortable with pretty much everyone. If that is not inspirational, I don’t know what is.

    I know you’re going to be a great dad and you wife is very lucky to have you (also: I peeked at her profile, she’s beautiful and you’re going to have the cutest little baby!).

    Thanks for being you, Casey.

    1. Thanks so much, San 🙂 With the passing days, I notice more and more about the difference between BiSC and everything else. With BiSC, we told jokes — at no one’s expense — and we’d laugh. We could randomly start singing or dancing and knew that at least someone would join in with us. We were free to express ourselves 100% and know that we weren’t going to be judged or left feeling like an outcast.

      The real world isn’t like that — people lose touch because they don’t care enough about their relationships. Varying priorities make people too busy to really get invested in the lives of others. We’re like fly-by friends who lend a shoulder for an hour or two and then disappear for weeks.

      Makes me a little worried for the world, I guess.

      But thank you so much 🙂 It’s a big step coming up, but I look forward to it 🙂 Lots of good can come out of the world if you let it 😛

      I hope we cross paths again sooner than later!

  6. Hey Casey!
    Great post and you took some seriously amazing pictures. 🙂 Happy to have met you, you definitely brought some extra laughter and good times to the BiSC group! Hopefully we’ll cross paths again.

    1. Thanks on both counts, Germana 🙂 I’m sad that you had to leave before a proper goodbye, but I had fun chatting with you here and there!

      I feel that from the impact BiSC had on everyone that this is only the beginning of a whole new path for us all!!!

  7. I think you’re such a phenomenal individual. I wish I could go further than that statement, but truth be told, my emotions are all still a’jumble post-BiSC, & I have to speak in short, to-the-point sentences, otherwise I get confused & overwhelmed. I’m so glad we met in Vegas & got to spend some quality time together. Like so many of the other BiSCuits, you’re truly just a stellar person, & my life is better with you in it, even from afar!

    1. Heh. Kate, I feel like I said much of what I had to say in my comment on your blog, but yes — I’m also glad we got to chat some 🙂 BiSC meant a lot to me, and I don’t want this to be the end. The feelings will sort themselves out, but I look forward to many more conversations in the future!

      Stay amazing 🙂

  8. You were such an incredible addition to the BiSC family and I’m so glad you were there with pool dancing and all your awesome energy!

    1. Thanks, Terra 🙂 I was definitely honoured to be there!

      It’s ironic that I actually don’t like swimming, but give me music, drinks and awesome people, and well… I guess the location doesn’t matter!

      I still have my fingers crossed that there’re still many BiSC-related adventures yet to come!

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