At around 3 pm on Wednesday October 14th my phone beeped. Before that innocuous buzz the weekend of October 23rd had me waking up at 5 am from loud meows of my hungry cats, feeding those cats, trying to fight their paws off while feeding myself, watching tv surrounded by the aforementioned cats, oh, and how can I forget, talking and moving really quietly so to not disturb my cats from their 4-hour naps.
After my phone lazily beeped and hopped from the vibrations on the table, it turned out that the only thing that will stay the same that weekend would be me waking up at 5 am (cats trained me well) and I'll be spending those days in Montreal in a company of 150 food bloggers at the 3rd annual Food Bloggers of Canada Conference.
That phone notification was another post by Melissa Hartfiel, co-founder and managing director of Food Bloggers of Canada (FBC), about another awesome thing that would be happening at the conference and another reminder that I wasn't going. And just like that, without any second thought I decided that I didn't want to be a mere spectator, I didn't want to just follow the #FBC2015 hashtags, I wanted to write those hashtags myself.
Two and a half whirlwind days filled with friends, information and excitement. One weekend full of intense energy, surrounded by like-minded people. 60 hours immersed in delicious food, drink and laughter.
My head was spinning after I came back from the conference. It felt like I packed three weeks worth of experiences into one weekend. But after the excitement faded a little bit and thoughts stopped bumping against each other in my head with dizzying speed, two themes emerged: taking the leap and telling stories.
It was mentioned over and over again by Ricardo, amazing man behind amazing brand; Meghan Telpner, food blogger and cookbook author; Jay Nutt, chef/owner of Nuttshell Next Door Cafe; Ayngelina Brogan, owner of Bacon is Magic; and many more that I can't mention here as it will take another few paragraphs, that sometimes you need to take a leap and jump into something new and scary. Sometimes it means quitting your job and dedicating yourself full time to what you love, but sometimes it means taking smaller leaps and just asking for opportunity. No-one would know that you want something until you ask for it. And when you ask, more often than not, you will get. Hearing all these people speak, listening to their leaps was truly inspirational and their stories moved a lot of attendees at the conference to do something new, to start something different, to be true to themselves.
The conference was also about telling stories. Telling stories of local farmers and their lives and challenges. Telling stories of yourself, your food, and your memories. And painting stories with photographs where every prop is a paragraph and every shadow is a word. Those stories are what connects you with the audience and draws people in, giving them access into your life through recipes and photos. It's the stories that inspire others and provide comfort. And this is what we, food bloggers, do - we tell stories.
I am sure there will be a lot of recaps written with beautiful photographs of food and detailed step-by-step overviews of sessions. I could go on and talk about SEO, shadows, copyrights, business behind the hobby, but I won't, because this is not what this conference was about for me. It was about seeing that I am not alone. It was about physically feeling the energy of 150 people who love talking about food. It was about hearing their passion and sharing mine..
It was about leaps and stories, because, as Ricardo said, with words you can change the world.