I attended World Domination Summit 2016.
It's interesting, I read that sentence back in my head and somehow it's not as exciting as I always envisioned it to be. I'll backtrack a little to provide some context.dit.
I attended World Domination Summit 2016.
It's interesting, I read that sentence back in my head and somehow it's not as exciting as I always envisioned it to be. I'll backtrack a little to provide some context.
Chris Guillebeau, the mastermind behind WDS is someone I deeply respect. Heck! He's the reason this site exists, the reason I blog, the reason why my life is lived with intention and purpose. His words helped me out at a time my life had dismantled.
Through his campaign to travel to every country in the world, I became deeply inspired. Before this, I had only known such acts to be ludicrous, unattainable, or just plain stupid. At least that what everyone had told me. His acts, his advice, his perspective on life allowed me to live out my own passion for travel and pass that on to my daughter too.
Back in 2010 when he announced the first World Domination Summit, I knew this was an event I had to get to. At the time I was our of the Air Force and back in college left to admire the summit from afar. I would read the recaps and the blogs of those who attended. "Life changing", "transformative" were buzz words I would read coming out of the event. My desire to attend grew.
In 2013 life would position me in place to move to Portland, the first thing on my mind was WDS! I packed my car and traveled across the country, my arrival would coincide around the time of the conference, I knew I was going to get involved somehow.
That summer I decided to "un-conference" as it used to be called. I didn't have the access to the summit itself but I had access to the people, and that was enough for me. That summer changed me in many ways. I met my partner Kristen, who was attending the conference. I was introduced to some inspiring folks and felt the energy of WDS first hand. I was hooked!
In 2014 I decided to un-conference again. This time, Kristen was by my side. We reconnected with folks we had met the year prior. Connected with new folks that became new friends, and tapped back into the energy that surrounded the conference. That weekend we shared meals, ideas, aspirations, challenges, and dreams with all these amazing minds. It felt very familiar and yet re-invigorating all over again. By the time everyone left, we were ready for next year.
In 2015 we did it again. Same ol' good time, same great people. This go round we really doubled down on tightening the relationships we had established. It felt more like an annual check in with amazing people. We began to talk about the next year and the possibility of attending.
A lot can happen in a year
Chris announced a new segment of the conference for 2016 titled "WDS CONNECT", it essentially brought the "un-conferencers" into the fold. He also scaled the event back and would only be selling 1000 tickets opposed to the 3,000 sold the year prior. It would be more intimate and get back to its roots. Kristen and I had every intention of attending but when we saw the price hike, we knew we couldn't fit it in our budget, so we decided to purchase the connect tickets and make the best of the experience.
As the year progressed my anticipation grew. Luckily for me, fate would intervene when a good friend ( a yearly attendee) would drop out. This chance happening and his generosity would allow me to attend in 2016! At last, I would experience all the life changing, transformative action firsthand. The time neared and I came into the week of WDS with an open mind and major enthusiasm. I signed up feverishly to meetups and events happening throughout the week.
The big day
WDS was here and I registered the first day. I could see the energy growing, the people coming in from all over to convert Portland into the unconventional think-tank collaborative center of the world. At registration, I received my badge and some swag, it was happening!
Over the next couple days, I connected with some great folks. I participated in a scavenger hunt with a group of true un-conventional thinkers. I sang my heart out and shut down a Karaoke room with a group of WDS'ers. I shared my story with others and they shared their story, dreams, and ideas with me. I sat and took in the wisdom of the WDS speakers. I will admit it's quite the rush to share laughs, tears, and joy with 999 other folks who somehow see the world in the same way you do.
And yet, even with all that I still come back to the same conclusion.
I've learned what I needed from WDS without ever attending the actual conference.
See for me it's always about connection. I love hearing the stories of other people. I love interacting with others and learning more about what makes them tick. Doing the "un-conference" thing allowed me to get to the core of what WDS is all about, the people. Sitting next to them and sharing inspiring talks was nice, but sitting beside them and sharing a drink while we disseminate our ideas + dreams is something I value more so.
WDS was everything I thought it to be. It was inspirational. It was fulfilling, It was fun.
What it wasn't for me, was transformative or life-changing. And yet I'm not disappointed by that outcome. Through his actions Chris allowed me to transform my perspective. I knew that I wasn't the only one with grandiose plans to live my life on my own terms. In completing his goal and sharing his advice, he allowed me to see the trajectory of my life in a different way, a more authentic way, and that has literally been life changing! So now in writing this I realize that Chris and his movement have already gifted me these ideas far before I attended his World Domination Summit.
No, WDS was not what I was intending it to be. WDS was the final piece to the puzzle. It's now time to go out and take the lessons I've learned and put them to use. My plan is not to dominate the world, my plan is to keep living authentically and experiencing this world on my terms!
Father, traveler, self trained creative, and spectator of life. The quest is to live a life intentionally, to construct a life of my choosing. I left the comfort of home at the age of nineteen and have been enjoying the Viaje as it unfolds ever since