Last night was unusually special in that I was able to put some faces and voices to the blog names that I’ve been reading. I was able to have actual in-person conversations with some really cool people. My last 32 hours looked like this:
9/21 12 am – finally fall asleep because you’re anxious about meeting friends/bloggers that you’ve been reading for years and you don’t want them to think you’re more cool as words on a page than you are in front of them.
9/21 6 am – wake up. Eat unhealthy breakfast. Because you’re way too overwhelmed to actually do the nutrition thing yet when you haven’t had the chance to go to Trader Joes and buy some lazy dinner options like turkey burgers and beef burgers for those nights after boot camp.
9/21 730am -330 pm – Work. Because even though some of your facebook friends think you might have quit your job, you in fact still have to work.
9/21 – 330 pm – Get a hair cut. Because your hair is bushy as all hell and you’re just going to sweat even more in work clothes at a packed conference with bushy hair.
9/21 – 4pm – eat a quick meal and drive on down to San Diego.
9/21 – 6pm – arrive in San Diego. Spend a solid 10 minutes just sitting and watching the harbor. Notice the Navy facility across the harbor. Be thankful for all the risks your grandfather took on the submarines and in the business world.
9/21 615 pm – Walk your ass into the Sheraton. Notice the huge quantities of people. Look at their name tags to see if you have a clue who they are . Notice that there a LOT of people in the financial blogging space beyond your little niche of buddies. Somebody flags you down and is like “Hey! I’m supposed to meet you. You’re Scott, right?”. “Sorry, I’m not Scott. I’m TJ.” Learn that you have a FinCon doppelganger. Regret that you didn’t ask what Scott’s blog was so that you could verify the resemblance.
9/21 620pm – Show up at the free Phroogal event. It’s supposed to start at 6:30. They recommend coming early. You’re one of the first ones there.
9/21 640pm – Identify your blog buddy Kara. Learn that she’s super friendly and not at all shy. Talk to her about her road trip. Get nervous about your own road trip when you hear the story about how her check engine light went on and she drove 800 miles on it because she didn’t want to be late to FinCon. She introduces you to some of her blogger friends that you hadn’t heard of, and they are super nice.
9/21 650pm – You recognize Stefanie. You commented on her blogs a couple times, you watched her hilarious money videos, you don’t think she has any reason to know who you are, but she commented on your blog a couple days ago and you have no idea why. She’s super friendly and welcoming and encourages you to keep blogging. She give you tips to increase your traffic. She introduces you to some epic bloggers like the Broke Millennial and Making Sense of Cents. She tells you to keep commenting on other people’s blogs. They give you tips on how not to pay full price to go to Fincon.
Stefanie: Hey Erin, have you met TJ?”
Erin: TJ’s actually in the book.
TJ: Yeah…I’m in the book (and though I know the mostly harmless quote that she told me she was using…inside I’m hoping I don’t sound like some out of touch privileged brat. )
9/21 No idea what time in the PM. There was an actual presentation that people showed up for. I guess not everybody crashed this shindig just to meet their friends without paying the $400 FinCon fee.
The presentation was fine. There was definitely some inspiration out of some of the speakers, but some of it seemed pretty basic. IF you have $5,000 in 15.5% credit card debt and you add $10/month to your payment, you’ll pay it off in 7 years instead of 8. I’m watching that slide while I’m sitting next to the rock star Kara who paid off $18k in 9 months on less than $32k of income. I didn’t drive four hours in one day for a presentation. I WANTED to ask the question “How do we overcome the psychological barriers of it being okay to actually spend your money? It’s easy to spend a lot of time on the internet and feel guilty about not manufacturing your own hand soap or riding your bike to work.” But I didn’t know if that would offend what seemed to be the target audience of debt-saddled consumers.
9/21 830 pm….Your buddy Kara has some other panel to go to. You awkwardly look at people’s name tags who are in the room or around the room, they aren’t your people, though maybe they could be your people if you checked out their blogs.
9/21 835pm You realize it’s another 2 hour drive to get home. You’re tired as fuck. You just want to sleep. You realize it is not good to be doing long haul drives while tired. You catch your spedometer at 93 at least twice on the drive home. You brake that shit and are thankful there wasn’t a cop around looking to hit their quota.
9/21 10:30 pm. You’re finally home. You can’t sleep though because you’re on such a high from the kindness that you were offered to by strangers. You send shout outs on twitter. You send thank you e-mails to those who had the courtesy to show kindness to you.
Would I drive four hours for something like that again? I’m not sure that I would have. Not without firm plans to actually make sure that I get to meet all the people I want to meet.
That being said, do I regret going? Not at all, I had great conversations with people whom I did not ever expect to have a face-to-face with. My biggest complaint is that this whole Phroogal event was billed on EventBrite as “Meet your favorite blogger, podcaster, or YouTuber”. but there wasn’t enough time to actually do it or an organized way to do it. And there was no easy way to identify who you wanted to meet. Maybe it was a more fun event for someone whose favorite blogger was on the stage talking to the crowd, but I had never heard of any of those people personally, though I give all the props to Jason on what he is trying to accomplish with the phroogal brand and the road to financial wellness. and I’m looking forward to reading his book that I picked up for free.