The Alt Experience

Walking with Cake: My first glimpse of Alt Summit, 2013

(My very first glimpse of Alt Design Summit, 2013.)

I’m sure you are getting your fill of Alt Summit recaps, and, of course, I have to share mine!  Attending Alt was most definitely an experience, to say the least, and I wasn’t fully prepared for how completely overwhelming it truly was.  I mean that in a very good way, and because I’m an incredibly shy introvert who’s spent the last four years at home raising children, I was in over my head.  Way over my head.

Before I went, I read the posts about preparing for Alt, but kind of like becoming a parent for the first time, it’s one of those things you really won’t understand until it happens to you.  I’ve tagged along to Ryan’s work conventions in the past, and this was nothing like those.  It’s completely over the top, really crowded, and, with over 500 bloggers all in one place (the vast majority of them women), it’s really, really loud.  There were tons of brightly colored tights, spectator hats, business cards, and even a gigantic goose.  My heart was pounding, my palms were sweaty, and I probably spent way too much time in the bathroom.

And, I’ll be the first to admit, I did not make the absolute most of my time there.  I feel embarrassed writing that after hyping it up for months, but I think first-time Alt attendees get a pass.  Plus, I was with Ryan on what was essentially our tenth anniversary-second honeymoon trip, so we divided our time between our digs at the Airport Inn (which looks exactly like it sounds) and the stunning Grand America, Alt’s meeting place every year.  We braved ice, snow, and a really strange weather event called an inversion that covered the city in a ghostly fog for days.  (Did you know Salt Lake City has mountains?  Because we only saw them from the plane!)

Walking with Cake: SLC Fog

(A gorgeous home in the eerie fog.)

My plan at Alt was to meet three people: Sandra from Raincoast Cottage (who kindly sold me her ticket after she became a speaker), Bethany of The Glamorous Housewife (we met online through Blogging Your Way 2.0), and Nicole Balch from Making It Lovely (a personal hero of mine).  I was successful at meeting Sandra and Bethany, and though I attended a session with Nicole, I never ran into her in person.  But I did meet Stacy Morrison, of BlogHer, and we shared some very panicked tweets as we both raced to the first day of the conference in the ice.  That was a really fun surprise, and she was delightful and very sweet.

I attended some informative sessions that gave me lots to think about, and I really do have a few ideas to work on this year.  (I know everyone is saying that right now!)  I braved the Clue Dinner Party for an hour or two (it was like a prom, and I didn’t go to mine, so that should tell you something), and I skipped out on the sponsor parties the following night.  I was signed up for a photography workshop Saturday morning, but the foggy-smog stuff made me feel sick, though we did drive around taking pictures, instead.

Walking with Cake: Alt Summit's Clue Party

(The Clue Party.)

I’m a bit of an Alt drop-out, I guess, but I still came away with lots of realizations, most of them just from talking to people and observing things in the hallways.

And I’m still so grateful I had the chance to go, to meet some of my blogging friends, and to make a few new ones.  It wasn’t a wasted experience, and I might go again next year.  We’ll see.

At least, next time, I’ll know what to expect.  A little.

I hope you’ll stay tuned this week as I share more of my trip to Salt Lake City.

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