Why I Loved Attending BlogJam Atlantic 2018
This past weekend, I attended my first ever blogger conference. BlogJam Atlantic was held in the beautiful city of Moncton, New Brunswick on the east coast of Canada. It was a double first for me as I had never been to New Brunswick before (shame on me!). I was very happy to take my first solo trip for myself. It was not only a place to explore, but an opportunity for me to meet fellow Canadian bloggers and talk about the industry that we love.
I purchased my ticket back in the summertime and quickly purchased my flights as well as booked a rental car. What can I say, I was really excited!
My ticket was $358 and it included:
3 day, 2 night stay at the FAB Delta Beausejour
Parking at the hotel
Admission to the event for Saturday and Sunday
This price was far worth what I paid. Not only due to my comfort in staying in such a nice place, but being able to easily access the conference (as it was in the same building), and being able to attend so many wonderful talks, it truly was worth what I paid and more.
On Friday, I arrived at my hotel just after 7:30pm. It was a smooth check-in, park, and a very happy surprise to see a king-sized bed just for me! After getting myself settled in, I changed and made my way over to a local pub where the group Bloggers of New Brunswick was hosting a meet-and-greet to those attending the conference. I sat down with a lovely woman named Michelle and felt immediately welcomed to the group. I instantly felt comfortable with the group and was even more excited for the next day’s activities.
I slept so soundly and comfortably Friday night. Between feeling tired from my day of travelling, going to the meetup, and getting used to a 1-hour time change, I was ready to get some shut eye and energize for the next day.
I awoke Saturday feeling excited and nervous. After grabbing a quick breakfast at Tim’s (a perfect Canadian staple), I grabbed my notebook and water and headed to registration. I was greeted warmly by the lovely people of BlogJam, given a name tag to decorate, and was able to pickup a bundle of goodies from the event’s sponsors. It gave me a great excuse to practice my flat lay skills for my Instagram account.
My day was full of non-stop, incredibly informational sessions. I was disappointed only in that there were times where I had a hard time decided which session to attend. I feel like each one held such incredible and valuable information for all who attended. I even was able to hear from one of the founders of Mabel’s Labels, Julie Cole. All these sessions made me even happier with my decision to attend.
Saturday night, BlogJam hosted a networking event for the attendees. This was again, another amazing opportunity to connect with fellow bloggers. I met a fellow Stephanie who hailed from Prince Edward Island. We chatted about the fact she had this amazing red hair and hailed from PEI. It was like I was talking and walking with Anne of Green Gables herself.
One of the great things about these types of events is discussing what you want to accomplish with your blog. The ideas you have stored in your brain about how you want it to succeed. One of the lovely speakers, Ruth Ann, gave me an incredible idea for a pitch to make. I mentioned that I wish I had more time to explore around New Brunswick. I mentioned a plan to visit Hopewell Rocks (you need to visit, it is breathtaking), as anything further away would not leave me much time to make it in time for my flight. She suggested I pitch an idea to New Brunswick tourism and I could feel the wheels in my brain turning. In the coming weeks, I will be putting together this pitch and getting in contact with NB tourism. I hope it takes off.
Sunday morning came and my exhaustion from the past few days caught up with me. Although I had planned to attend the early morning Zumba session for the event, I hit snooze and turned off my alarm so I could take time to sleep in and relax. I also ultimately made a hard decision to miss the first session of the day. As my checkout time was during the afternoon session, I took the morning to finish packing and begin to absorb what had happened over the weekend thus far.
The afternoon session proved to be a great one, and one that was the source of therapy for many of us who attended. The speaker was Terrance Taylor and he spoke about being truly authentic in your blog and video life. Being authentic is truly the way to connect with your audience. It makes readers come back for more because they feel like they know you, that as you write, its like you’re having a conversation about your life.
During the presentation, Terrance asked us to write the most negative sentence we tell ourselves. Sadly, this came very easily to me. I get doubts about my ability to write and to have an audience sympathize with my story and want to be part of my journey. After we wrote these down, we discussed them as a group. We quickly came to find that many of us had the same fears and worries. It was a great exercise in helping us understand that we aren’t in alone in how we feel, and that it is okay to talk about how we feel. Chances are, someone is right there with you.
Later on, we were broken up into groups of two. I was sitting beside the lovely Vanessa Paesani, who had been the first keynote speaker from Saturday. She was incredible in asking me questions about what I was looking for out of the weekend, what I was going to to next, what were my feelings. It brought me to tears as I verbalized what my fears were. She was consoling and reassuring. It was a wonderful feeling to have her support. She also pushed me to really write this post, to get it organized and ready to publish for today. Her words, “you’re ready,” have been a source of comfort since the day ended. Thank you again Vanessa, you are remarkable.
This weekend held many firsts for me, and it was something that I will cherish for many years. It helped give me the comfort and confidence to pursue what I love. It may be scary, but many dreams are.
I cannot wait to return to Atlantic Canada to experience another blogging adventure, whether that be travelling around and writing, or attending another marvellous conference.
I've spoken to a few of the lovely ladies I met over the weekend, and they are planning something for the spring. You can guarantee I will be joining them again, either in the spring, or at BlogJam Atlantic 2019.
You can find more information about BlogJam Atlantic by heading to their website.