— spooky name tom (@tomfromhr) May 19, 2013
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:
- 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;
- That I didn’t make it out to BiSC sooner; and
- 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.
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.
HYFR and YOLO,
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: Laura, Katelin, San, Nico, Valorie, Kelly L, Marian, Mikael, Kate, Germana, Karlyn, Jenn B, Kaci, Dominique, Jess, and Terra!