Why I Attended a Conference with an Infant
If you have been following me on Facebook and Twitter you know that Ty and I took off for a conference last week. I’d attended the Travel Bloggers Exchange conference (TBEX) last year in Vancouver and was really excited to attend again this year in Keystone, CO.
When I got pregnant with Ty I wasn’t sure the timing would work out. I still had my ticket to the conference but I held back on booking plane tickets and a hotel until after he was born. I had no reason to believe my baby wouldn’t be healthy enough to travel, but you just never know.
Ty came out a beautiful and healthy little man. I was ready to hit the road again and get his travel legs wet. I opted to leave Dek at home with his dad. I knew I could do a conference with an infant, but with a toddler would have been much more tricky. Ty is still very portable and just slept on me in the Ergo most of the time.
Before we left I touched base with my family travel blogging group to make sure I wasn’t crazy for bringing a 7-week-old infant to a conference. I was assured that mine would not be the first infant to attend. In fact, once we got there I found out that Nadia at ChildMode had also brought her 9-month-old son. I happily hung out in the back of each session with her and her adorable little guy.
Besides attending sessions and learning a little more about all there is to offer on my blog, I was also excited to meet a few blogger friends in person and reconnect with people I had met last year.
Jessica at Suitcases And Sippycups and I had been chatting and encouraging each other in our new blogging endeavor for over a year. We had never met in person but we decided to share a condo. I think this is the only way I maintained my sanity that weekend. Jessica hung out with Ty while I would jump in the shower to get ready for an event. She also acted as my second opinion when the babysitter showed up Friday night to watch Ty so I could go to the opening event at a higher elevation (more on that later). There is nothing like a new location and a tired new (again) mother to make you question your judgment.
There were a few hiccups along the way of course. Ty cried during some of the sessions, causing me to miss a lot of the information I was hoping to absorb.
I was also exhausted. Being at a higher altitude didn’t help. Having a baby up a few times a night and then needing to wake myself up early to get to sessions and do some extra networking had me dreaming about my pillow a bit more than usual.
But was it worth it?
Yes, absolutely. I would be kicking myself right now if I didn’t go.
I took away some very useful information to apply to my blog, and I got a lot out of the conference, even if I couldn’t stay for every minute of each session.
Travel bloggers are an awe-inspiring group of people. Get us all together in a room and we are a powerful force preaching our message of wanderlust. Whether they are a man and a woman on the hunt for the world’s best tacos like Vagabond3, a couple that rekindled their love as The Planet D did, or just a food lover tasting her way through one country at a time like Devour the World has done, they all bring something to the travel community.
I was able to learn from these people and stay motivated to keep on writing, taking pictures and most importantly, traveling the world with my boys and sharing it all with you.
Also not many people look at you like you are crazy for bringing a toddler to China when they have been there themselves.
Would I do it again?
Of course! I learned so much and really enjoyed making new contacts and catching up with some incredible wanderers.
It also helped that Ty suffered no ill effects from attending with me. He was of course a hit with everyone at the conference. I started referring to him as my living business card. What better way to advertise that you write about traveling with kids than to have one strapped to your chest? I just wish he had been awake a little more so people could see the smiles he has finally started to show us.
Above all else I remembered how to travel with an infant.
I didn’t travel with Dek until he was 3 months old. I was too scared and too overwhelmed by all the newborn stuff. This time around I knew what to expect. I was more confident in my mama travel skills. It was empowering and gave me a little more confidence as a traveling parent, something I am going to need come October when the boys and I head to Europe.
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written by Keryn Means