san francisco bridge

A Little Ditty About Meeting My First Blogger in San Francisco

About two years ago I made a wish that I hadn’t had a chance to fulfill. The wish was this: If I’m ever in the same place as another blogger I know, I’m going to meet them face to face.

What was it…ten years ago that meeting someone from the internet was batshit crazy? The possibility of meeting some psycho perv was a real threat. Now, it’s totally legit to meet up.

san francisco travel

I like to think of my good blogger friends as pen pals. Remember those? A pen pal was someone you talked to like nobody else in your life. The distance and anonymity of it all made it a safe space to share true pieces of yourself.

Well, finally it happened. I met my first blogger.

I was at Dreamforce, one of the biggest user conferences in the country. It was my first time, a strange thing to say being that I’ve been immersed in the B2B marketing world for almost three years. Finally, I had a company that sent me to witness the insanity firsthand.

salesforce dreamforce

It’s funny because I remember talking about Dreamforce with one of my close blogger friends who lives in San Francisco around this time last year. The chaos was amplified for her—just as it is for everyone living in a city already bursting with people—when nearly 200,000 businesspeople invade the streets.

I sent an email to my girl, Jilanne Hoffman, with a subject line she couldn’t refuse…I’m in San Francisco! Coordinating was challenging between our hectic schedules, but we made it work.

dreamforce 2016

And by day three of the conference, I was over all things business. It was the focus from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep at night. At least at home there is some down time, but at a conference like Dreamforce, you’re always on.

I was also over crowds. I’m an honorary extrovert, meaning I worked hard to become one in order to survive the real world. It was clear every afternoon when I dropped everything to escape to my hotel for yoga and some breathing room.

yoga in hotel

In other words, I was more than ready to feel like me again. To hang out with a friend and talk about writing and life in a quiet residential neighborhood where people shopped for groceries on a Wednesday night, instead of cramming into a U2 concert.

Yes, I skipped U2 at Dreamforce to go have chamomile tea with a friend. I told you so…introvert incognito.

oakland bay bridge

What’s crazy is on my way to see Jilanne, I had some serious deja vu in the Uber.

Some of you may recall a post I wrote in the spring last year called 1am in a Cab on a School Night. Strangely, it was one of the most popular posts I’ve ever written on this blog.

This time I was in an Uber instead of a taxi, on a clear San Francisco night instead of a rainy Portland one. I was also in a very different emotional state—last year I was saying goodbye to a wild piece of me, and this year I think was missing that wild piece of me.

portland reindeer sign

But the conversation and soundtrack were just as good. I’ll call the Uber driver what he was…a cool cat named Dwight. He was a native San Franciscan, with the knowledge of the city prevalent in his eyes. And, he had great taste in music.

A song started playing as we began our journey away from the madness of Union Square toward the residential sanctuary of Potrero Hill. He seemed surprised when I wanted to talk beyond the formalities.

I asked: “What song is this?”

Dwight raised his eyebrows: “You like this kind of music, Miss?”

“Love. I love jazz.”

“Well, alright.” He laughed. “It’s John Coltrane. Called Equinox. I always listen to it after a long day. It’s the perfect song because of its cool expansive qualities.”

I smiled. Cool and expansive. That’s all I wanted to feel that night after a long day.

I’ll admit I was a little nervous as I waltzed into a Whole Foods cafe away from the mayhem downtown, and it took me a minute to adjust. I texted Jilanne to let her know I was here, and there she was sitting at a corner table with a glass of wine.

After a welcome hug, I slid into a chair next to Jilanne and it felt like we were chatting in our own real life WordPress comment box. It wasn’t weird, it was comforting actually. Years of virtual conversations meant we already knew each other well enough to skip the small talk—and we only had an hour in our schedules, so we had to make it count.

But I still love the first question Jilanne asked me, her eyes wide: “So what the heck are you doing at Dreamforce?”

dreamforce fun

I laughed. It was a fair question. When we know each other as bloggers, we usually don’t know life’s logistics, like occupations. But honestly in that moment, I didn’t know why I was at the conference.

It definitely seemed out of place to me then as I was meeting a fellow writer at a cafe on a calm evening. Once I was sitting at that table I had shed the “business suit” and the persona that went with it. I was just a writer again in my flare jeans and blouse that mimics floral curtains from the 1960s.

blogging friends

Anyway I won’t rehash our conversation here now, but I will say that Jilanne is just as I imagined her to be—quirky and lovely. If you want to see what I mean, read her post on The Life Enthusiast Chronicles from last year.

That evening talking with a friend was what I needed to return to myself. I left the cafe and climbed into another Uber to head back to my hotel, feeling cool and expansive.

And I made time to hang out with the sea lions before I hopped on the plane back home.

pier 39

Have you ever met a blogger in real life? If not, would you if you had the chance?

52 thoughts on “A Little Ditty About Meeting My First Blogger in San Francisco

  1. That’s so great that the two of you were able to meet! This is such a nice story because it shows what happens when you make that tiny extra effort to connect with someone. I love the thought of all of us as pen pals. Love the music and pictures too! San Francisco is another one of those magical places and it sounds like you found that magic while you were there.

    1. Sheila doll, it was SO great! Yeah, I’ve been trying to make more efforts to connect with people in general these past few months. Life’s too short and we get caught up in work—and as writers, in our creative world.

      I have a close friend here that is moving to Australia and I was like…let’s go have a girl’s weekend! We went to the coast together and hung out at a spa. Seems like we never get to see each other, even though we’re only a few minutes away. It was nice to have that dedicated time together.

      San Francisco is a really awesome city. LA and Chicago are still my top big cities in the US though! 😉

      1. It must have been great to do a weekend like that – too bad she’s moving to Australia! But then maybe you’ll get to go out and visit. That’s funny that LA and Chicago are your favorites – I think those are the two that scare me the most! I loved your LA post though – that almost convinced me to go. 🙂

  2. What a great post and it must have been super exciting meeting Jilanne. I’ve never met another blogger (probably because I live too far away from you all), but one day….

  3. So glad you met! I have had meet ups with 3 bloggers. When I first told my children I was going to invite a blogger to stay at my house, they thought I had lost the plot. But having a blogger and his wife (from Texas) stay for a couple of days was one of the highlights of my year. And, of course, if you can find a way to get here, the guest bedroom is all yours. 🙂

  4. Britt,

    I was in New England this past May (I currently live in Los Angeles), passing through an area where a fellow blogger with whom I’d become friendly lives. I sent him a note a few weeks beforehand and asked if he wanted to meet up, and we had a chance to meet face-to-face at a local Panera for a couple of hours. It was the first time I’d ever met a “blogosphere friend,” and it was a great experience to put a face — and a personality — to a name/avatar. It’s something we should all try to do more often.

    Sean

    1. Sounds very awesome, Sean! Sometimes we don’t even know where people live unless they talk about it on their blog. Usually if you’ve been friends or following someone for years, you learn the general region. So, I’m afraid I have been to a couple of places I could have met bloggers but didn’t because I didn’t know they were there. 😦

      Ah, well. Guess the meeting will happen if the timing is right! 😉

  5. I’m so jelly! Jilanne is da bomb! 🙂 I would be over the moon to meet another blogger, so yes, if given the chance, I’d be there. I agree with you about us all being like pen pals, and I think we should take the opportunity to meet each other, even if it does require skipping U2. That’s what friendship is all about. 🙂

    1. Jilanne is totally da bomb! 🙂

      I always giggle about the pen pal thing, but it’s totally true. So neat to have these wonderful connections all over the world. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy even on the craziest days. xo

  6. Gosh what a fantastic adventure love the cab ride listening to a master of music. You write so vividly and honest I am always drawn in by your words Britt. Glad there were no psycho pervs.

    1. Yeah, this uber driver was so neat. If I had been heading to a business function, I might have skipped it just to keep driving around the city listening to jazz with Dwight.

      Thank you, sweet Kath. Right back at ya, babe! (not the psycho perv part, the word compliments) 🙂

  7. It’s nice that you took the opportunity to meet your blogging buddy in person. I’m glad Jilanne turned out to be just as great as you imagined. Incidentally, I think your post’s third photograph is such a wonderful demonstration of the amazing portability of the MacBook Air. I’ve found it the easiest thing in the world to take mine about with me anywhere–just as long as I remember to hire the crane and the truck, of course.

    1. It was such an awesome experience to meet a long-time virtual friend! Haha, on the MacBook. I feel like this is a golden opportunity for writers with their marketing…just bring a giant laptop with you and a stack of books to sell.

      1. I’ve read a few other accounts of bloggers who have met each other after a couple of years. They’ve pretty much all been very positive experiences. Of course, if there are occasional negative ones, I doubt anybody feels much like writing about them.

  8. I met several travel bloggers that I connect with at a Travel Bloggers Conference in Dublin. It was somewhat strange for me (a textbook introvert) because it’s easier for me to connect through writing than unexpectedly, face-to-face. But it was nice to meet in person and discover that those bloggers I admire virtually are equally as admirable in person.

    Be forewarned: when i travel to Portland, I’m going to let you know. 🙂

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