I am hoping this doesn’t come off as a horrible, rambling mess in writing as it seems to be in my head.
I don’t blame anyone for bypassing this entry. I am putting this writing because I can’t seem to get around it mentally, so just bear with me while I attempt to regain some balance.
It’s been nearly a week PV (I’m calling it Post-Vegas). It has been an incredibly surreal experience. I don’t naturally get excited about large group gatherings – it’s often quite the opposite. However, days prior to leaving for the long weekend I was really eager to go, to do this… to meet all of these people behind this Scavenger game I’d been involved with for a couple of years. To put faces and voices to the names on a screen. Even before leaving, I was puzzled at the genuine want to put myself in this kind of environment.
I don’t find it necessary to go into a play-by-play of the event, as I often do when I travel… because this time it was far, far less about the places we went and things we did than it was about the people. All of the wonderful people. The fun-loving, funny, inspirational, caring, and sensitive people.
I never rave about people. I just never, ever do.
I struggle with what to say when others ask me about the trip. I mean, for real… who goes to Vegas and does nearly nothing that is typically Vegas…?! And who comes back speechless about the experience? Speechlessness has nothing to do with the whole “what happens in Vegas” mantra… it’s so much bigger than that.
How do I describe this to anyone that was not in attendance and is not familiar with the group?
I went with the expectation of putting faces to names, learning some things, taking some nice photos.
I returned with the sense that I’d just gone to some over-the-top inspirational, love-in retreat… with all of these wonderful people from all over the world… who just happen to be photographers too.
After shedding the some of the star-struck-ness of seeing some of these great artists that I see and read daily, I found that all the people admire were approachable. Available. Very friendly. Encouraging. And still just as wonderful and inspiring as their virtual selves. Unbeknownst to a lot of people, they are truly great teachers. From them, I picked up a lot of tidbits of ideas and techniques in general conversation.
The quiet moments were rather incredible as well – for me, maybe more so.
Taking those personal, silent moments to process everything that happened… both internally and otherwise.
To look across a busy table or a room full of talking, joking, happy people… and find those eyes looking back in understanding. That face that simply ‘gets it,’ without the need for an exchange of words. These are the moments that truly grab my heart.
At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I am forever changed by this experience. After only 4 days of time spent, I have never connected better with any other group of people before. Ever. And it just fills my soul with goodness and wholeness and inspiration and wonder for new experiences. These people have motivated me for change – and not just change in my photographic journeys… but in life. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. I have found my people, my tribe.
Which is why, now, I think I feel such a huge loss. I’m home. I have been for almost a week. And I’m still melancholy, still in withdrawal, and still generally blue. I feel like I’m in mourning. I’m having a real difficult time shaking it. Visiting the online feeds with everyone’s photos and stories are great… but two-fold. They make me so very happy that it all happened and I could be there to experience it, and yet ever so sad that I don’t have the ability to see everyone as easily as I could just a few days ago.
It’s this that I’m struggling with now.