I can't believe it has already been a week since I set off for Designer Vaca (a designer retreat at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs). The memories of those 48 hours are still so fresh in my mind. I signed up for this female-only mostly designers retreat only 4 days before - snagging a last minute ticket when some ladies dropped out. I was able to quickly get a ticket using United miles and secured a room within a few hours of making the decision to go. It was a whirlwind, and while I was nervous - I knew that I was making the right choice to go.
And I was right! I had so much fun meeting other designers, talking shop, and relating on so many levels. I have to admit as a more introverted person - I was nervous to spend so much time talking with so many ladies. What if we ran out of things to talk about? Do I have enough small-talk prompts to discuss at the ready? But I really didn't need to worry - as soon as I got there, everyone was so sweet and friendly that my worries melted away.
The conference/retreat was really about hanging out and relaxing with your fellow lady designers - so there weren't too many organized activities. Probably my favorite event was on Thursday morning - where we got into small groups and discussed various topics mostly related to freelancing. It was SO nice to soak up information from veteran freelancers - I asked so many questions, and learned a ton. I actually wouldn't of minded having another structured session...
It was such a treat to meet so many women that I had been following on the internet - it is great to be online pals - but it was so much nicer to talk in person. I even had some lovely ladies come up to me and tell me that they loved my blog! I was so flattered and really helped to inspire me to keep going - even though sometimes it just feels like too much. I was also able to meet Jane Riley who I interviewed for Freelance Wisdom (just as lovely in person!) - and the amazingly talented and super sweet Jessica Hische.
It was so nice to relax after a stressful few months, and hang with my tribe, talking shop for hours on end! Here are a few pics from the retreat taken by me and some new pals:
On the last day towards the end I wasn't feeling so great - I think the heat and all the socializing got to me. While I was sad to leave, I was happy to go back to San Francisco and know that I had made many new friends and great connections. On the way back I took the same flight at Jessica Hische and dropped her off at her apartment. I was nervous to spend so much time with such a famous and talented designer - but she is so friendly and warm - it was very easy and a fun time.
If you are a freelance designer I would totally suggest going next year! The spots fill up fast so get on their mailing list now :)