Where to start?
Let’s start at the very beginning. Because we all know, that’s a very good place to start. Or so Maria once said. Sorry to all those people who have never watched the Sound of Music, you must be wondering if I’ve been eating the mushrooms that grow in the front lawn again. Let me start again.
So I’ve been in Sydney at the Aussie Bloggers Conference.
But what is a bloggers conference? Well, put simply, it’s a place where all bloggers, amateur and professional, get together to discuss, well, their blogs. There were panel discussions about the sense of community you find when you find like minded people through blogs, when you find your tribe. And I know there are a lot of people who undermine a blog. They believe a lot of us are simply wanna be writers or creative types. Sure, say what you want but the fact is, to find a passion for blogging is as exhilarating as finding a penchant for adrenalin sports. Starting one certainly doesn’t mean you aren’t going to fall flat on your face, but at least you’ve found something that gets you going. Makes you feel alive again. So yeah, say what you want, but this is my little piece of the cyber world and because of it, I got to meet, drink, eat and inappropriately dance with 180 people I never would have gotten to with otherwise. And it was tops.
To be honest, when the idea of an Australian based Bloggers conference was in its infancy, I was a little bit meh, yeah, probably won’t be for me. But then I got thinking about the added bonus of crisp white sheets and sleep-ins in a hotel and my attitude shifted. Ironically, as it turns out, I spent so little time between those crisp white sheets and so MUCH more time getting to know the other bloggers and learning that I feel ashamed to say I didn’t initially give it the credit it deserved.
Not being a massive traveller, I did learn a few things this time around though -
- If you talk when the Air Hostess is giving her Emergency Evacuation Procedures Demonstration, you will get shushed. Note: I wasn’t the one talking. For once.
- After watching a full hour of Channel V on the flight, I can safely say that Taylor Swift looks exactly like a young Nancy Sinatra.
- A 187ml bottle of white wine purchased on an aircraft will cost the same as a decent 750ml one.
- Control Tower issues are code for settle in baby, you are about to be majorly delayed.
- Last but not least, I have learnt that wearing thongs gives the cab driver the heads up that you are total tourist and will take you the longest and most expensive way possible to your hotel room.
The most delightful thing I found was how much I adored Sydney. I’ve precious little to do with the city and found having it to myself, to wander around with no plan, was quite wonderful. I went running on the second morning in the drizzle and stumbled across the harbour bridge and Opera House completely by accident I’m surprised you didn’t see the neon flashing light shouting TOURIST from wherever you are stationed in Australia. You are invisible in a big city. I kind of like it.
We were lucky enough to be invited to pre-conference drinks with GKS the night before the conference. They had sponsored Kristen Brumm to come out to Australia for the event. They also provided male masseuses (tick) Ribena jelly cups (tick) and free cocktails and champagne (tick and tick). This is where I made my mistake. Instead of hooking into the copious amounts of food that were on offer, I ate two deep fried rice and cheese balls and then had a thousand champagnes. That could be the reason I went on, later in the night to spray shampoo under my armpits and apparently propose to a DJ that is Gay. Hey at least I wasn’t wearing undies on my head, like some *cough* Kerri Sackville. Adam, Kent, Rick Lana and Kerri, I had a ball. Thanks Rick, for escorting me and my rather large Yoga Mat home. You are a total gentleman.
|Me, Mrs Woog and Kristen|
|Things are about to get messy. Lana, Rick, Kerri and I|
I believe 5 hours of sleep were had and by some absolute miracle, I woke in time to shove 15 hash browns into me and be ready, as I’d volunteered for, to sign in the bloggers as they arrived. Clearly I hadn’t thought this through. I mean who in their right mind goes out on a Friday night and thinks they will legitimately be able to back up and be awake by 6:30am? I struggled and to my credit, did not curl up in a ball in the corner half way through the day, no matter how tempted I was. I read out my blog post as had been arranged and then hightailed it to Maccas to grab the biggest, fattest, greasiest cheeseburger I could find.
The highlight for me was the “My Blog, My Story” readings by some spectacular bloggers. They were heartfelt, raw and so amazing to see in action. Carly Findlay who you can find here at Tune Into Radio Carly was wonderful and such a pleasure to meet in real life. Special mention of course has to go to Mark McCann who, being one of only 5 men in the room, managed to leave in one piece after at one stage, it appeared that the ladies were going to pin him to the nearest wall and have their way with him. Married or no.
|Carly and I|
I also want to point out that I got to meet the TheNDM from blog, Not Drowning Mothering. Hers was the very first blog I ever started reading and still read religiously. She is one of the funniest people I have ever read, and now, after this weekend, can safely say, ever known. Please check her out HERE if you already don't; she’s kind of my blogging idol.
|The NDM and I. So Hot Right Now.|
After the serious stuff was over, came the dinner dance which again, at first I wasn’t too sure of. Dinner Dance always reminds me of the accounting ones I’ve been a part of. Bunch of old guys sitting around talking capital gains tax and propositioning the hot waitresses. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Someone literally lost their undies from dancing too hard. And I learnt more than I ever thought I would about strap on dildos. Oh yeah, this was no accounting convention. That really does sum it up for me. Sadly I was too piss poor to back it up and drink hard core and I did miss The NDM and Rick get married (later annulled due to his refusal to consummate the marriage due to you know, him being gay and all)
The next day, we woke to a lot of sore heads, a lot of great anecdotes and a bit of sadness that the whole thing was over. To be dead honest, even though we learnt a lot about the technical part of blogging, it was the "social" part of the social media that we all seemed to nail.
The Good news is, it will return again in 2012. Bigger, better and in Melbourne. The Not Drowning Mother has kindly offered those struggling to find accommodation her trampoline in her backyard. I Shotgun the mat that covers the springs.
I guess though, on returning late last night to the Coolangatta airport where my three children ran and kissed and hugged me while my husband lingered in the background holding onto a bunch of flowers was the best moment. There is no place like home.
I genuinely had a ball. Thanks everyone for making it so.
There were so, so many I want to mention and when I get the chance, will update with links to them. Dic, Jo, Sarah, Jayne, Annie, Chris, Bronwyn, Benison, Kim, Mrs Woog, Lori, Brenda, Veronica, Dorothy, Bianca, Yvette, Alison, Meaghan are just some to start with. I did this on the fly, I'll make sure it's updated later.