BEFORE I arrived Thursday afternoon, I had been SO excited to be a part of a gathering of women bloggers…but the sad reality is that I never felt more alone in my entire life than I did in the midst of 2,500 women.
One really is the loneliest number, just like in Three Dog Night’s lyrics.
And two can be as bad as one if they both jump in the car and sneak away from BlogHer 2014 off to Carmel-by-the Sea to enjoy a lovely, romantic, magical weekend.
‘Cos that’s what me and my tugboat man did.
*Another BlogHer 2014 Experience Analysis*
The feeling of Feeling All Alone is not a happy feeling.
NOT sour grapes.
For example, the couple of times I did approach groups, I felt a distinct chill in the air. There was no kumbaya moment, no jumping in the air to greet me — no invitation to sit down, join the group, and take a smiley selfie.
I got the message. I left.
I mean, what would YOU do when you feel awkward and you don’t seem to fit in anywhere?
And that’s about it.
There were some bright moments…
It was beyond FUN meeting My Life As Lucille and A Mother Life.
And Not a Supermom Anna Parrs was an unexpected surprise; lovely and warm.
I never hooked up with my Buddy, so I can’t determine if she would have helped to more successfully guide my BlogHer journey.
Sponsorship-wise, I connected with three brands, so there’s that.
Ursula and Rhonda from Garden of Life are awesome representatives of a great company that makes ethical, organic vitamins and supplements.
Wandering around and around the Expo, so many of the sponsors were geared to the still menstruating female with a working uterus, and well, um — THAT ship has already sailed for me, if you know what I mean. (TMI, I know, I know.)
In a former life, I organized large events; expos, career fairs, trade shows – I understand how hard it is to secure sponsorship and funding – and retain them year after year. For every sponsor we saw, there were probably ten that declined to participate. It’s hard work and I appreciate all the effort to bring in dollars to underwrite an event – but I would have liked to have seen companies that reflected more relevance to my demographic.
Social conscience, anyone?
I was disappointed not to see any booths or representatives of women’s advocacy groups…domestic violence, child abuse, human rights — or any animal rights groups that defend and protect animals against abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
I would have expected this conference to be a perfect forum for purposeful discussions and subsequent actions to build a solid platform for collective change.
As women, we ARE powerful, and our VOICES can be loud and purposeful, not only to push me out of the way to grab more swag, but to help those less fortunate and effect positive transformations.
Had I known prior to purchasing my ticket that McDonalds was not only a main sponsor but the provider of food for the closing party, that alone would have told me that this event was not right for me. I’m not a perfect vegan or a perfect human, but this is sort of non-negotiable. A deal breaker, as it were.
You probably don’t want to see this, and I can’t blame you, but there are many videos and undercover reports all over the internet about the abuse of animals that end up in your not-so-Happy Meal. This is one of them: http://www.mcdonaldscruelty.com
Most of all, I’m sorry that I didn’t have the same kinds of experiences I’ve been wistfully reading about.
Thank goodness my tugboat man was there to whisk me away to Carmel-by-the-Sea.
#BlogHer2014 was my first blogging conference.
And probably my last.
Did you know that Clint Eastwood was a former mayor of Carmel?
We found a room at the adorable, quaint, and very clean Normandy Inn.
In the evening, walking around the village, we heard a beautiful voice singing the kind of big band music we love from the 1940’s, and followed it to the Cypress Inn, owned by the AMAZING Doris Day!
Not only is Doris an accomplished vocalist and actor, she is one of the original animal rescuers and defenders. Her passion for saving abandoned, abused, and neglected animals is legendary. Click here to learn more about her foundation.
The lounge was full of well dressed senior citizens and a few tourists. Everyone had their dogs with them. Not only is the Cypress Inn dog-friendly; to our utter delight, so is the entire city of Carmel!
The lounge was standing room only. Vocalist Debbie Davis was amazing. She walked to the outskirts of the crowd in her sparkly dress and asked if we were celebrating anything special. I pointed to my tugboat man and told her it was his birthday. She located two chairs for us and serenaded him and everyone applauded and wished him a happy one. We both agree that Carmel has a great vibe and and we’ll definitely return.
The next day we drove down the coast looking for a place to camp. Big Sur was beautiful albeit shrouded in a heavy fog bank, but every so often the sun broke through. The views are incredible.We never make reservations at campgrounds because we’ve always had good luck finding a spot, but not on this trip. This is what we found EVERYWHERE. All the hotels were booked up too, so we drove straight home, which wasn’t as bad as it could have been, ‘cos everything’s better when my tugboat man’s around.
I’ll post more pics of our drive down California’s coast another time.