After a week on the road, and I use the term “on the road” very loosely, I’m reminded of a few things that make being home truly special. Though I had a fantastic trip to Austin, the joy of it was more about experiences, opportunities and fun than it was about attending the actual SXSWI conference.
But wait… a big part of what made my trip to SXSW great was home. There’s no place like it, right? Everyone loves to go home. To sleep in their own bed. Cook in their own kitchen. See their family. To be able to plug their phone charger into the power strip in the bedside table. You know, stuff like that.
And while those things are home, pieces of home, slices of life, they aren’t the only thing. There are so many other things that scream HOME and I got a pleasant reminder of that while I was on my trip.
When I sat down to write this I really was going to write about how much I had been looking forward to my creature comforts. My big comfy bed and soft cool sheets. My heavy velvet comforter. The water from my tap. A full sized bottle of shampoo. My dresser with all my clothes and as I mentioned earlier my favorite place to charge my phone…
Somewhere in the processing, in the sculpting of this post though, that changed. Something sounded off in my head and made me look back at the past seven days and all I’d done. It reminded me that home has many meanings and I was pleased and honored to find a little bit of home was with me the entire time. The ties that bind the Portland tech community are strong and it was so good to see so many of the people I respect and appreciate here at home smiling, laughing and loving life down in Austin.
It was a rare chance to see the carefree hearts of some people I’m privileged to know. A a chance to see smiles and hear laughter from everyone around. It also provided me an opportunity to remember how much I love to laugh and smile. To sit in a room surrounded by others and learn something new. To discover things about myself as a podcaster from what others are doing. To sit on an open air patio and stare at the sky. To not let a little rain ruin a beautiful night. Or a sprained ankle ruin an entire trip.
I’m not going to do a recap of panels I attended. I only attended a few each day and the ones that impressed me most wouldn’t surprise anyone. I skipped many, rolled my eyes through a couple and walked out of one after 10 minutes. The value of my week away was grounded in something completely different. It started the first night I was there, the impact of it was shocking and stays with me even now.
So while I was roughly 2,141 miles from the city I live in. From my kid and my cats and my bedroom where I can close the door and hold the world at bay… I was still home in a way. And maybe that’s what made the trip worth it. Maybe, even with the highs and lows I experienced, that’s why I’ll look back on my trip to SXSW and feel great.