On my last fortnight

Posted by Katie McLaughlin on June 3, 2016

I’ve had an incredible trip the last fortnight. Before I write up a technical overview of the conferences I went to, I thought I’d do a light recollection post.

In the last two weeks I’ve:

  • Been a contestant on jeophpardy
  • Attended a conference which is literally centered around eating hotdogs
  • Heard about how to you can tell if a pair of Levis are original or colour washed
  • Seen Niagara Falls
  • Found the PDX carpet
  • Collected many fancy swag t-shirts
  • Drunk far too much Portland beer
  • Eaten deep-fried ravioli, poutine, and far too many “salads” which were mostly mayo and cabbage
  • Done karaoke, twice, in two states
  • Powered through technical glitches, lack of sleep, physical and mental injuries
  • Been to fancy Portland tech offices
  • Went to the most amazing bars, restaurants and food trucks
  • Met dozens of incredible people
  • Acquired so many stickers
  • Got to see many old friends from far away lands
  • Been serenaded by one of my best friends
  • Given 2.5 hours worth of talks
  • Staffed an open source project booth for I’ve-lost-my-voice hours
  • Chaired a session of a conference, which included using a cool secret-service earpiece
  • Helped dozens of people get their first contributions to open source
  • Eaten a microwaved burger on a train that topped a ‘fresh’ made one
  • Earned far too many Untappd badges
  • Learnt so many things
  • Had so many hugs
  • Had the most incredible, tiring, intense, and turbulent fortnight imaginable

Conferencing is hard. As a speaker you give so much. Being able to speak at both php[tek] and PyCon US was a fantastic opportunity for me, but it was extremely hard at times.

Some days I was bright eyed and bushy-tailed, other days I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Right now, sitting at PDX waiting for the first leg of my trip home to start, I can’t help but think how much worse by trip could be if it wasn’t for the incredible people who have helped me when I just couldn’t even. The Python community especially has been extremely helpful. Being able to just say “I don’t have the spoons” is enough for people to at least understand you’re unable to do something. But to then be handed a plastic spoon.. that’s just incredible.

It’s a double-sided coin. This sort of stuff takes balance. Not being able to attend an event leaves you with a giant case of Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). You can mitigate this by following social media, but it’s just not the same. Attending can also either fill you up with warm fuzzies, or drain you completely. I’m definitely part of the later.

Thank you to everyone who was wonderful during these last few weeks.

Right now, I’m slowly starting to recover just by being alone for a little while. I’ll be quieter around the place for a little bit (trans-pacific travel does that a bit), but hopefully this isn’t the end for me.

Hopefully.

Read my last conference life post “A year of public speaking”