Look, I get it. I was gone an entire 7 days. I’ve done Europe a total of three weeks in my life and I’ve only been in places where the water is drinkable and people mainly know English, even if they refuse to let on to that fact.
So when I say “World” here, I mean my very tiny portion of exploration. “World” is relative.
Traditionally I’ve enjoyed often moving locations, lands, homes. The year I spent back in Houston as an adult, taught me the value of community. My lesson that year showed me however much I hated living in the flat, humid land, I still met enough people to miss. I felt nearly grateful for this fact: A place is made up primarily of the people who occupy it.
It is in this vein I travel and recount my stories accordingly.
It’s been said a thousand times, but finding your tribe, your people, is critical. I believe there is a tribe for each of your personas. The people at EECI are my tribe. They are my geeky, hilarious, nerdly, drunk tribe. And I can not tell you how much I adore them all.
Brothers who buy you beer.
These people are giving, smart, and kind. They are funny, sarcastic, and punchy. These are my kind of people. We can talk families, code, business. We can laugh loudly and sing even more so. And the next day we can sit down and problem solve as a team.
If only we saw each other daily, what a productive team we would be. Or a very very drunk one, I’m not sure.
When asked “What do you want to be when you grow up, little lady?” I never would have said, “I’d like to market a small company and an amazing software product that enables people to publish on the web!”
I think I said I wanted to be a ballerina.
My what a long way I’ve come.
The magic, it is there. After hours, well in to the night, we find a space to share bits of ourselves the sunlight doesn’t see. We share stories of children and dreams and business and goals.
Maybe we even cry for a minute, just a minute, because we’re safe.
It’s not unlike other conferences people with similar interests attend. It’s just that this is our space, the unique space of code and logic and sarcastic joy. It’s un-commercialized, it’s raw, it’s pure. It’s real, still.
I love its realness.
Fans and Figures share notes of success. There is no clique one better than another. We help each other push forward in our careers.
I wish the mom community could do the same, asking nothing in return except the joy of knowing you were part of something bigger than yourself.
So, then, what did I learn while traveling? What did I come to think of about Holland?
It’s more than the realization that the world truly is smaller than we think. It is more than knowing the food is better, the culture is open, the bikes are abundant. No, it is much more than celebrating the 3 October with a motley crew of nerds.
It is a sense of home. That… that is what I learned this year in Leiden, a town I’ve spent a total of five days in. Because these nerds are my home, however cheesy that makes me.
**Totally related: I’m doing a liver cleanse as mandated by my Doc starting tomorrow. Care to witness the thrashing of teeth and gnawing of cuss words? Veggies and a protein shake only for ten days. The price I pay for good beer. Totally. Worth. It.