Last week I ventured out to the big city to attend BlogHer15. It was my second year attending this blogging conference and I went in with a great deal more confidence than I did when I went to San Jose last year. I have to admit it was a great feeling. I ran into people I had met last year and even if I did not know them, faces looked familiar. I knew how to navigate through the Expo, I talked easily with new acquaintances and tried to make newbies feel more comfortable. I had lunch with my dear friend from Listen to Your Mother and I actually felt like a part of things rather than a bystander. I found my tribe – just as the organizers of the conference said I would. People who share my love and passion for travel, food and la dolce vita.
I met some incredible people. Everyone was there to learn, to socialize but most of all to tell their stories. Everyone has a story. Everyone. Some stories are heartbreaking, some are heartwarming, some are downright hysterical. Some ring true and touch my soul while others are foreign to me. I will never know what it is like to be a black man in today’s world. But that doesn’t spare me from feeling the words and hearing the message.
Sometimes going to a conference like BlogHer leads to great insecurity. My blog is fluff compared to many of the heavy hitters there. I mean really, a recipe for granita di caffe can’t hold a candle to essays on postpartum depression, gender equity, sexual assault, and other weighty topics. I feel like the lucky one, the one who dodged a bullet. I don’t have one of those stories to tell and I am thankful for that while it also makes me feel a bit guilty. But Italy shaped my life in so many ways and made me who I am, so I write about Italy. And what I write about brings people joy, it inspires them and allows them to travel virtually when a trip isn’t in the cards in the near future. There is nothing wrong with lighter topics. There are millions of blogs out in the blogosphere. But believe me, there is room for more. People want to be heard. So whether you are speaking out about injustice in this world or finding a way to make people laugh at time when we could all use some comic relief, it’s time to tell your story.
Thank you to the organizers of BlogHer for another fabulous event – can’t wait for next year!
If you are looking for some great blogs to read, here are a few suggestions: