Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Organizer's Perspective

Now that it appears that everybody has finished their posts about the "Blogger Blowout", I thought I would end with a few random thoughts. (We had a final breakfast on Sunday morning....all you can eat. People seemed happy, content and genuinely sad to be going. That about sums it up.)

There are so many people in the blogosphere that I admire, respect and truly find funny that I thought, "Wouldn't it be great to meet these people face-to-face?" People like Billie, Juan, John and Brenda, to name just a few. There are other people too, spread around the globe and the Caribbean Coast, to numerous to mention. Just look at my blogroll! At that time, I was emailing multiple times a day and developing a deep friendship with Andee of Chacala, who has since passed away. I broached the subject of having some kind of get together and she said, "Go for it!" So, why not?

I thought about it a lot and approached CancunCanuck with the idea and she graciously agreed to fill in and help out wherever needed. As it turned out, I didn't need her physical help as much as I needed her spiritual support and shoulder to cry on once in awhile. We decided on a date well into the future and sent out the announcement. Not knowing if I would get 1 reply or 101. Risky business! We ended up with 18 attendees and I'm glad it was not more!

Make no mistake about it. It is a lot of work trying to organize something like this. Especially not knowing until the last minute what the exact head count is going to be. The logistics were horrendous. For those attending, it may not have seemed like it, but it was no easy task getting those venues lined up. I had to choose several different ones, from a smaller, more intimate group to a large crowd because I was not sure how many people would be attending. As the numbers became more solidified, I had to cancell some venues and renew requests at others. And negotiate for better deals, special treatment, blah, blah, blah.

The hardest was the hotel. Mostly because they were in the process of installing air conditioning in all rooms and they kept constantly changing the prices on me! At one point, I had been quoted 4 different prices! No way was I going to keep telling people their reservation price would be increasing over and over. I finally threatened to use a different hotel and we found ourselves back at the original prices. So I guess we got a deal after all.

Making sure everybody knew where they were supposed to be and at what time was not as hard as I imagined it would be. Everybody showed up on time and made an attempt to find out where things were before they had to be there. Except for the golf carts. That was like a Keystone Cop comedy! People would arrive and leave to get a coffee or something, until I was not sure who was supposed to be there and who wasn't! I consulted my list about a gazillion times! The only glitch as far as I am concerned, was paying the bill at Brisas. Where they mixed up all the bills and Heather had to straighten out. I owe her big time for that one!

I spent hours getting this all organized and shit. (I think Heather has coined a new catch phrase...just add "and shit" too everything!) Probably way more than I had too, but I wanted this to be a HUGE success so that it would happen again. And I think it was. I think everybody had a nice time, with a few exceptions around the edges that I wish I had known about at the time because I could have easily fixed the problem.

In the end, I feel that I accomplished my goal. I got bloggers together who wanted to be together or could be together and I got to meet some of my favorite blogosphere people in my neck of the woods. And from Belize too! I am sooooo going to San Pedro! I think the friendships I made in person last weekend are going to last for a long time.

So, would I organize another one? Hell, no! But if somebody else picks up the ball and runs with the Second Annual Blogger Blowout, will I be there? Hell, YES!


Steve Cotton said...

Wayne --

Even though I was unable to attend, I watched you put the meeting together. Your dedication and organzation are impressive. Based on all of the reports, it was a great meeting -- thanks to all your work. I kept checking in -- even twice at sea -- to see how things were going. We may be free spirits, but we certainly enjoy being part of a community. Thanks, again, Wayne.

Babs said...

So Wayne, you wrote and asked if I would do it and I responded. Did you get that response. If not, I said "yes" I would if there is enough interest in coming to San Miguel which is not an easy place to get to..if you go to Mexico City by air there is still a 3 1/2 hour bus ride to get here or if you fly into Leon there is a 1 1/2 hour shuttle ride through the beautiful mountains.
October 2009 would be a GREAT time to have it right after the rainy season, and I don't mind doing all the planning as I've done that for the specialty tours I bring to San Miguel. It would be fun!!! I have a hotel that I work with on a regular basis and it is centrally located, etc.etc.etc.
Let me know what you think and maybe you could email the previous participants and see if they are interested in this as a destination.

Anonymous said...

GREAT job Wane - very sorry we were not able to attend - in the end we actually could (should) have made it - but at the planning stage my FMT expired during the event time frame.

A Mark Twain quip: I don't want to belong to a club that would have me as a member.

This might be appropriate for me ;-)

Good job amigo!

Oh and my LINK doesn't work in your Blog entry - try:



Juan Calypso

Mexico Way said...

You da man!....

...And shit!

lisaloveloca said...

I' love to be there for the next one too! I guess we'll just have to wait and see who steps up to the plate to handle the organizing next year, but regardless there should DEFINITELY be a #2!!! It was too cool to meet everyone to not do it again! Hmmmmm maybe we'll all go to Belize!?

wayne said...

Looks like Babs has stepped up to the plate! You go Babs! The trip there could be a lot of fun if we bloggers from the coast all travelled together! My only question is, is October too long to wait?? That's 18 months away!

Brenda said...

It sounds like it was a blast and probably mostly because of your good planning. Good Job.
Sorry to have missed it.
Hate to tell you but my link and also Heathers link don't appear to be working for me.

heatherinparadise said...

I think 18 months is just fine, I don't think I want to see any of you hosers again all that soon....

Just kidding and shit.

I'm already getting to see you again this weekend, and Jonna and Mimi, too. Woohooo!

I thought maybe Belize might be next, as it seemed Laurie would probably step up to bat, I'm in for San Miguel de Allende, too! I have ALWAYS wanted to go there, and that gives me a perfect excuse and plenty of time to plan. Not during Halloween, though, I hope...that's the best time of the year here in Playa.

Babs said...

NOPE not Halloween - a quiet time here in San Miguel - after the "sweat birds" have left in August and before the "snow birds" arrive in November........First to mid-October?
BUT if ya'll want to go to Belize intead, I'm ALL for that........I DO want to meet everyone. Sounds like it was a blast......
If ya'll decide you would want me to do "it" - I wuld plan 5 days, if you want me to.........

Steve Cotton said...

Babs -- Sounds good to me. By then, I should be settled into my temporary new home.

Anonymous said...

I believe it was Groucho Marx who said "I have no respect for an organization that would have someone like me as a member.

el oso

Hollito said...

"No way was I going to keep telling people their reservation price would be increasing over and over. I finally threatened to use a different hotel and we found ourselves back at the original prices."

Just quoting Eddie in Tampico:

You Know When You've Been Gringo'd!


Theresa in Mèrida said...

I think Wayne did a bang up job. It is so hard to be the 1st of anything. I was really impressed with the rooms and the rates. It was clean and quiet, small but I have paid more for less! Thank you for sticking to your guns. Please make sure to email me when you come to Merida!
It was a great party, I am happy that I came.
If San Miguel is too far away, we can have one in Merida next year. I can just see us all on the doubledecker turibus or the open brightly coloured La Guagua sighseeing together.

Michele in Playa said...

Wayne, we had such a terrific time and if you were stressed, it didn't show at all. You were the consumate host and ambassador for Isla Mujeres. I'm up for going anywhere next year. I would love to check out Babs' little slice of Mexico as I have not yet had the chance to get there. In the end, this was a wonderful event and I met sooo many cool people many of whom I plans to stay in touch with. Thank you to Wayne and all the bloggers who made the 1st Blogger Blowout a huge success...and shit.