I was so nervous before leaving for FitBloggin’. I remember not being able to sleep the night before I left for the airport. I was wondering who I would meet, if people would be nice to me, and if I would be able to handle the Savannah heat. FitBloggin’ was my first blog conference. Now that it is all said and done I am so happy I went and feel confident that I could not have picked a better first conference.
FitBloggin’ is a conference for healthy living and weight loss bloggers in all stages of their journey. It’s a place to get together and learn, grow, and connect. It really feels like one big party weekend.
I have a full recap coming tomorrow with lots of pictures from my trip. I met wonderful people, ate delicious food, and did lots of fun things while in Savannah. While uploading my billion pictures for that post I realized recapping the experience doesn’t really do the conference justice. I want to share what I took away from all this. My mind has been racing since I left Savannah and I want to make sure I get all my thoughts down while the memories are fresh.
What I learned at FitBloggin’ 14.
Bloggers are some of the nicest people I’ve met.
I had no idea what it would be like meeting everyone. This was the 5th annual FitBloggin’ and I could tell that a lot of people had some really strong friendships coming into this weekend. I knew very few people and was worried that everyone would break off into groups and I’d be left on the sidelines. This was not the case at all. People were welcoming, accepting, and incredibly warm. I literally did not meet one person that I had a bad experience with.
I can approach a group of strangers.
I love to meet new people but oftentimes hesitate to approach a group of people I don’t know, and feel shy. At FitBloggin’ I was walking up to everyone to say hello and it paid off. I met some amazing people, organized a MidWest meet-up, and found out about a ton of new blogs I can’t wait to follow. It’s incredible what can happen when you get out of your comfort zone.
Everyone has a story.
I’m a big believer in learning and growing from each other’s stories. We all have experienced something in life and can help others by sharing our journey. The Ignite session at FitBloggin’ was made up of speakers who had 5 minutes each to give a presentation on a particular topic. Their slides were synched to a timer which was super fun. Topics ranged from silly (how to make a proper cup of tea) to serious (what it’s like having lipedema). I really connected and learned from the Ignite speakers and appreciated them sharing their stories.
My roomies are the bomb dot com.
I stayed with Susan, Denise, and Lauren. We all found each other through the FitBloggin’ Facebook group and I’m so glad we did. I had so much fun with these girls over the weekend. I’ve never shared a hotel room with people I hadn’t met before. Maybe it’s because we’re bloggers and read each other’s blogs and have been emailing up to this point, but I really felt like I knew them. We all got along great. If you’re going to a conference and have the option of roomies I highly recommend that over staying in a room by yourself. You’ll have so much more fun!
I can do anything I put my mind to.
As you guys know, I have been struggling with my weight for the last year. I want to lose ~30 pounds, and when I think about that number for too long I start to get overwhelmed and feel like it’s hopeless. The people I met at the conference have done so many amazing things. One girl ran for Team USA. Others have lost 100+ pounds. With hard work and determination I can achieve anything I put my mind to.
Three days is not enough time to meet all the people, see all the things, and eat all the food.
There were sessions I didn’t get to make, restaurants I didn’t get to try, and people I didn’t get to meet. I learned that there simply are not enough hours in the day to do everything at FitBloggin’ so you do what you can, enjoy the crap out of it, and vow to do the other things next time. I’m already really looking forward to Denver 15. 😀
Everyone is struggling with balancing blogging and real life commitments.
I went to a session on balancing your blog with your personal life and found it to be incredibly helpful. We talked about balance, and how that rarely ever exists in life. A lot of people outside of the blogging world don’t realize how much work a blog is. I make sacrifices in my personal life for this blog. My blog is totally worth it because I’ve met some of my best friends, have a documented history of my life, and have been given some incredible opportunities. That being said, it can still be overwhelming to try and accomplish everything I want to on my to-do list on any particular day.
We also talked about the difference between blogging about our lives and living our lives to blog. As much as I agree with the, ‘picture or it didn’t happen’, mentality (because memory is such a fickle thing) I never want to find myself doing things for the sole purpose of documenting them on this blog. That is not what life is about.
Savannah is absolutely gorgeous.
If there wasn’t the crazy humidity in the summer Savannah would be the perfect city. The riverfront and squares are absolutely beautiful. I loved walking along the gorgeous tree-lined streets and by the historic buildings. Savannah has so much charm. People constantly described it as a classier, family-friendly New Orleans. (I haven’t been but want to. Like New Orleans, Savannah also has an open container law so you can drink on the streets.) I want to go back there on a vacation with Josh in the Spring or Fall. 😀
The bike tours of Savannah are basically binge-drinking trips on wheels.
The bike tours around Savannah are such a great way to see the city and learn more about the stories and history behind it. That being said, five bar stops in two hours is a recipe for a really fun tour and then a very early bedtime. (And missing the opportunity to run with Jeff Galloway and Disney the next morning, but I digress.) I would definitely do a bike tour again but would probably not feel the need to get a drink at every bar. I want to say a big thank you to Susan for bringing me breakfast the next morning since I slept through the entire morning schedule.
I need to rebrand.
I attended some amazing blog-building seminars and realized that Girl Gone Veggie is not who I am anymore. Sure I still focus on eating veggie-centric, healthy meals. I’m still the same person that started the blog three years ago, but I am no longer blogging about the same things. Every person I met at the conference who heard about my blog for the first time asked me if I was having luck finding vegetarian meals at the conference. (I’ve been eating chicken, turkey, and fish for the past year.) My name no longer accurately describes what you will find when you come to read Girl Gone Veggie. I love healthy eating and food recipes, but it’s not all I love. As such, my days of being Girl Gone Veggie are coming to a close. I still have to come up with a new name and figure out the logistics of transferring the look and feel and posts on this blog to a new one. Girl Gone Veggie will still be here, it will just be redirecting people to a new site. This is probably months in the making but I just wanted to put this out there so it wouldn’t come as a shock to anyone.
I need to be providing more value to you guys.
There was a lot of discussion about why readers visit blog sites and what makes them keep coming back. My favorite blogs are all blogs that provide me with useful information, tips, and advice. Sure I love reading about bloggers fun adventures, but my favorite posts are when they tie it back to me. (Although I was blown away in the survey results how far and away my random adventures are your favorite thing to read on Girl Gone Veggie. Those are definitely not going anywhere.)
I feel that I have been doing a bad job at creating posts that are of value to you and want to work on providing you with more blog posts that are informative and useful to you. Again, this is another work-in-progress thing, but I wanted to put this out there to everyone so that no one would be surprised when some new blog post formats start popping up.
Questions of the Day: Have you been to a blog conference? What have you learned?