In case you’re living under a rock or have a life outside of reading healthy living blogs, I should inform you that the 2012 BLEND Retreat starts today. Tonight actually, with our kickoff cocktail hour and dinner at the historic Chautauqua Dining Hall.
You probably already know this.
In fact, unless you’re actually attending, you’re probably TIRED of hearing about it.
I don’t blame you.
As excited as I am about this event, I’m kinda ready for it to be over and to have this last week in Colorado where I’m not tied to my iPhone and email, working out last minute details.
What you might not know is how BLEND came about. That’s the story for today (warning – there aren’t any pictures and if you’re coming to dinner tonight, you’ll hear most of this then).
To tell you the truth, I had to go searching through my emails for the answer.
But let me backtrack from there. To the time when this idea was held “in”.
I had been blogging for maybe a month when I noticed all these blogger conferences that people would write about. Fitbloggin’. Healthy Living Summit. Foodbuzz Festival. There are a lot actually.
And they all target bloggers. People who have deep passions – for writing, for food, for fitness.
These retreats/conferences are a way of bringing these “shared passion’ communities OUT. From behind the laptops and cozy couch blogging. Bringing people together in person.
I loved that idea.
So much so that when I saw that Bonnie and Janetha, two blogger’s who I desperately wanted to meet in real life, were going to Healthy Living Summit, I BEGGED Travis to let me go. He said yes (he’s a cool guy).
The logistics just didn’t pan out – I was still nursing Clara. I was short on time for finding a roommate. (Sidenote – Bonnie, if you’re reading, I’ll never forget how you offered to share your room with me. That act of generosity to a stranger made me fall in love with you even more.)
It was then – when I had decided to step out from behind my computer – that the wheels started turning.
I wanted to go to a retreat.
But I wanted to make the agenda.
To be in charge.
That sounds arrogant or something. But that wasn’t my heart.
I wanted to create an environment where bloggers could meet in real life and just hang out.
No schedule, no speakers. This isn’t your typical retreat format.
Falling in Blog Love:
If you read blogs, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You find a few that you really and truly love. The people behind them and the words that they write. You start to remember their husband’s names or that they hate almond butter but like cashew.
I wouldn’t say you become obsessed (although that does happen), but you begin to care. About people you’ve never met.
It’s truly bizarre.
But it happens. I suppose that’s how blogs are supposed to work. If not, then why wouldn’t you just write in a diary. Blogger’s want others to follow them. They want an audience that cares, that can relate.
Based on this assumption, I thought that bloggers would like the idea of a “fellowship retreat”.
I just needed help creating it.
Three planners were needed. Two is too few. Four, too many. I picked Janetha and Katie before they knew they were targets.
Katie Unger and I had been emailing behind the scenes for just a few weeks before I opened up the discussion.
(read from bottom)
She lives in Denver, so nailing down a location was easy enough. I knew I wanted it in the West – most of these retreats are in the Northeast.
She was frightened.
But intrigued, I think. That intrigue gave me hope that this wasn’t a cockamame idea.
I needed to convince Janetha.
Notice that I asked, “How hard would this be?” HA!
I wish I could show you her response. It’s full of expletives.
But there was definite interest. :)
And it was her idea to keep it SMALL. Always under 150ish people. The point would be the fellowship – and you can’t truly have fellowship with 2,000 people.
Fast-forward to today. 2,983 emails back and forth. Countless phone calls made.
Feelings of desperation. Prayer. Excitement. Second guessing.
Contracts signed. Heated discussions. Disappointment. Joy. Price negotiations.
TRUTH: This has been hard. Event planning for 100 people isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
TRUTH: I’ve learned SO much. About myself, about working with companies, about my husband’s patience.
TRUTH: I picked the most perfect co-hosts. Not just words of flattery. Honest to goodness, the three of us belong together.
TRUTH: I’m so happy that today is May 4th. The first day of the first ever BLEND Retreat.
Funny how ideas become actions.
It’s truly bizarre.
I’m not sure how much I’ll be around this weekend! Tell me – what are your plans?? Anything fun?