Over this past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Eat, Write, Retreat! conference, which just so happened to take place this year in my home city of Philadelphia. In addition to the conference being amazing and totally inspiring, I had the opportunity to see the city I grew up in through the eyes of a tourist. Many of the people I met at the conference were not from around here – some of them had never even been to Philly before. There’s something to be said for looking at a place you know better than any other through new eyes – its like John Lennon said, “All these memories lose their meaning, when I think of love as something new.”
The conference started on Friday afternoon, and even as I made my way down the oh-so-familiar street known around these parts affectionately as “Broad Street” (heck, I even ran 10 miles down this street on foot – twice!) it for some reason, seemed entirely new. So, I began snapping photos, as any good tourist would do.
I can’t really quite explain how all of a sudden, old familiar scenes were being graced with such newness and seemed to come alive – but I’ll take it.
The conference itself was a truly wonderful experience as well. I was beginning to lose faith in my dream of writing/baking/traveling/photographing; I was questioning my “purpose” and if I was still on the right path. Eat, Write, Retreat and all the fabulous folks I had the luck of crossing paths with put those fears to rest. I believe again. Maybe it had something to do with all the watermelon we ate. I do love me some watermelon.
Seriously, although the watermelon was delicious, it was the people that I met that gave me confidence again – through their various presentations, to off-the-cuff sharing of tips and knowledge, to nothing-to-do-with-blogging-at-all friendly walking and talking around the city.
Meeting new people has always been one of my favorite things to do – I dare say I even thrive on it. Halfway through the conference, I had already had so many great conversations and connections, I wasn’t sure if it could get any better — but it did. And not only because there was cheese (although it certainly didn’t hurt).
The very last thing we did was called “Pitch to the Pros,” in which we had a chance to sit with more established bloggers and ask them anything we wanted. I was rather nervous – I had nothing planned and didn’t even begin to know what to ask…I considered bailing out of fear and lack of preparedness; but I knew that would be the worst thing I could do. So onward I trudged, deciding to do my best just winging it.
It was those conversations that wound up restoring my faith the most – reminding me why I’m doing this to begin with. I love writing. I love baking. I love taking pictures. And as much as I love traveling, I can find all of these in my very own hometown, if I just look around once in a while.
I have to say, that in addition to the conference, there have been some wonderful and amazing things going on in my personal life recently that I believe I owe a large portion of this new perspective to, as well. May you all find someone who awakens that light within – who makes everything exciting and new again – even good old Broad Street.