And then in January 2018, I went and hit a wall.
I looked good on paper. I’d just finished my best year yet as a blogger, already looking to take things a step farther with a retooled Tales from the 2.9. And adulting was alright, too—I had the routine down with the morning drop-offs, the house was kept relatively clean, and there wasn’t anyone clawing at the door for money. Life was good, and as my friends would point out, many would kill to be in my shoes—but don’t get any ideas. However, all that didn’t make for great storytelling, and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get my words quite right. The volume was there, but the tank was empty—it was time to look for some new inspiration.
And with that in mind, enter Dad 2.0.
Dad 2.0 — Why I NEEDED to Visit the Big Easy
In 2014, my first was just a few months old, plus I’d just been to the North American International Auto Show the month before. In 2015, we’d just returned from a trip to Cuba with all of Sarah’s family, and I was sure leaving again so soon wasn’t that favourable an option. January 2016 brought my second son and the promise I’d stay put for a year, no matter what the #BloggerLife gave me. And with everyone else home all day as Sarah took extra time away from the office so we didn’t need to pay $3000 a month for daycare, being away in 2017 was not an option—who’d want to fly solo with two kids when you didn’t have to?
Enter Dad 2.018.
But 2018. 2018 brought the Dad 2.0 Summit 2.018, and it felt like I was finally ready. The kids were in all-day programs, the conference’s costs within my means. I could work remotely and go somewhere I’d never been before—it felt like the pieces had finally come together to make this trip my own.
And so I went. The flight times weren’t ideal, the hotel costlier than expected, but I needed to see what it was all about—this conference my contemporaries talked about so often.
Ladies and gentlemen—especially my fellow Dads—let me tell you all about the Dad 2.0 Summit.
Dad 2.0 — What Exactly IS It?
Dad 2.0 is a great conference—in fact, it’s one of the greatest conferences I’ve ever seen. It put me in the mind of the Bloggers in Sin City unconference I hit up back in 2013—programming focused on the emotion behind our content and not just the mechanics of producing the content itself. It focused far more on the “Dad” in Dad Blogger, and while talks on SEO, Instagram and personal branding are useful, how much more can men gain discussing the very things that make them Dads?
Dad 2.0 brought about different things for different Dads (and the beautiful people who support them.) Some found joy reconnecting with fellow Dads from across America—an annual reunion where they can catch up and exchange notes. Others found anything from inspiration immersed in the sights and sounds of a new environment to anxiety as they shook hands with sporting greats or digital titans they’d usually only access through YouTube.
Dad 2.0 Will Bring You Friends Aplenty, But Also Make You Miss Your Fam.
— Chris Read (@CanadianDadBlog) February 3, 2018
But for me, it was a mix. I made the most of every crowd I was in, loving finally meeting Chris Read in person and talking about our journeys so far, and making great new friends like Aaron McGee and Manny Gonzalez who became fast friends as we talked. But when the nights wrapped up and left me to my own devices, the loneliness hit hard, and I’d remember how much I missed my family. How much I’d discarded since becoming a Dad, with the relationships, habits and activities that defined so much of my life now becoming things of the past. I’d lay there wide-eyed in the stillness, for no pint-sized cries were interrupting my evening so I could soothe them back to sleep.
I found myself face-to-face with my very identity as a Dad, and the thought of it was terrifying.
But if there were anywhere for me to figure it out, it’d be the seventh annual Dad 2.0 Summit, offering both relationships and opportunities at a scale you just can’t get in Toronto.
And I’m here to tell you what I learned.
Everything I Needed to Know in Life I Learned from Dad 2.0
Now I couldn’t do everything—with plenty of time spent chatting with others and jotting notes down, there’s no way I could perfectly adhere to a schedule, but there’s was plenty available for any sort of Dad in the hundreds there.
I didn’t drive the Kia Stinger. I didn’t get pampered in the Dove Men+Care lounge. There was no way I’d make the fitness events in the mornings, I didn’t get to meet Von Miller, and I only got to some of the Roundtable Workshops. What you quickly learn from a conference this size is that picking and choosing events isn’t only how you figure your schedule out—it’s a method of survival with so much going on!
But I feel like I got what I came for, even if I still don’t quite know exactly what that was. I made connections with people like Mike and Christine Tremoulet not necessarily as just peers in the blogosphere, but as friends who helped make sure I eased into things soundly on the first night. My world shifted just a bit after Dad 2.018—for the better—and what I experienced is exactly why this conference keeps on growing. It’s important. It’s visceral. And it’s exactly why I think I’ll see even more Dads there at Dad 2.019 when it happens next February in San Antonio, Texas!
You heard it here first.
Dad 2.0 – I Felt All the Feels and I’ll See You Next Year!
It’s all about figuring out what kind of Dad you are, and the Dad 2.0 Summit gives plenty of opportunities to do it. Whether it’s while flying a drone and exploring abandoned power plants or through breakdancing while trying to clean a bathroom (no lie), it’s about busting through boundaries to figure out who you are.
And anything I didn’t figure out in Dad 2.018, well…
…that’s why there’s a 2.019, right?
’til the next, I remain,