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. Oh, dahlink! It was such a pleasure to meet you! Sorry I put you on the spot with the question about Dreamforce. 😀 You are so NOT the techy culture. But we all need to make a living, don’t we? You forgot to mention the sliver of vermillion moon slipping into the sea on the ride home. A sight I will never forget. I consider it good omen for our meeting, for our futures, for our lives. Write on, babe!

    1. Jilanne doll…it was so lovely to meet you. Haha, I thought the Dreamforce question was totally valid. I felt like a conference tourist. 😉

      I did forget the moon! A good omen, indeed. Muah!

  2. What a super adventure Britt! I’ve met bloggers, writers, and twitter/FB friends this way as well. I love how the Internet has opened the door for connecting people. It’s totally legit, and I trust someone who writes well, so the medium is perfect for me.

    I’d rather meet this way than at a bar. There is much more time spent online getting to know each other, certainly to the point of feeling safe and comfortable, whether you ever get to meet in person or not.

    eden

    1. Totally! I trust other writers too, and I always get along with them. It takes a certain kind of human to be able to write. Yeah, bars can be funny. Even though it seems like a happy place, there’s often a lot of other stuff beneath the surface. The vibe definitely isn’t the same as our lovely blogging environment. xo

  3. Your story is delightful. I’m happy that you had a happy meeting. I have a story about meeting another blogger, by accident, that turned out differently! Funny how things work out.

  4. How lovely that the two of you got a chance to meet up. I met a fellow blogger in NYC last year. You’re right, there’s an instant familiarity after the years of commenting on each other’s blogs. We started chatting as if in mid-conversation.

    1. It was awesome, Letizia! Yeah, definitely a mid-conversation sort of thing, which I’m sorry to say that is NOT the case with other people I see in real life. Blogging creates a pretty powerful bond though!

      You’re on my list, babe. Hopefully I can meet up with you in Bend if you’re still coming out.

  5. Wonderful! Yes, I have, several, and I’d like to meet more 🙂
    Even if it’s just to join them in a wait for a connecting flight, even if it’s barely long enough to enjoy a cuppa, it’s wonderful to meet people you already like!

  6. Great story. I’d like to meet a few of my online writing friends. Let me know if you’re ever back in SF! (Though I think we need to have a few more years of exchanges before we qualify as pen pals…)

  7. Ah, nice story Britt. I do like how you’re able to live for the moment and focus on fleeting pleasure like meeting Jilanne, locking on to random music etc. in the midst of a hectic life. Maybe your writing discipline helps this re-focus.

    I was delighted when Naomi Baltuck from ‘Writing Between the Lines’ dropped into Jersey with her sister Constance a couple of years ago. They were just so taken with everything that it was an absolute pleasure.

    1. Roy, I’m surrounded by so much business at this point in my life. It’s providing plenty of stability, which is important for my creative energy, but I am always making a valiant effort to hang onto life’s simple pleasures. Trying not to lose myself in the hustle and bustle—if I go down that path, it’s no good.

      Naomi, yes! She’s great. I remember that visit too…very cool!

  8. Meeting a fellow blogger in real life is such an amazing moment! I did too 3 years ago with 3 different bloggers: Pam from The Life Bus, when I was in Denver; Jeff from Jeff Sinon Photography, when I was in New Hampshire; and Jenna & Micah from Wander the Map, when I was in Miami. Hiking with the first 2, diner with the last 2. Fun! But never enough when you know you sure will get on so well.

    I sure hope you and I will have that moment too. Here or there or somewhere new. It’ll be so much fun!

    Cheers to beautiful meetings with great people!
    xoxoxox

    1. That’s so neat! Obviously you and I will meet up one day soon, doll. Another travel blogger buddy that’s been on my list is Jess from Notes of Nomads (probably on your list too!). Need to trek out to Tokyo next year! xo

  9. There are a few people I would go out of my way to meet that I have become friends with and never met face to face. And roaming around Frisco is a great place to meet.

    1. Same here, Dannie! I don’t think I’ll ever make a big announcement when I’m going somewhere to see which bloggers live in a place, but selecting a few close buddies to have coffee with is a good way to go.

      It was neat to have my first meet-up in San Francisco. Especially on such a magical night!

  10. Very nice that you got to meet Jilanne. And in such a great city too. I love San Francisco! I need to get back there again. It’s such a wonderfully walkable city with lots to see. Did you walk down the winding Lombard Street? So pretty.

    1. Jilanne’s a babe, so it was great! Yes, San Francisco is neat—and there is SO much to explore. Obviously with the conference happening, it was an entirely different experience from last year when Mr. H and I went for our anniversary with the infamous hair.

      Didn’t do Lombard Street this time, because I saw it last year. Too much action happening, but I managed to squeeze in a little fun. Cut to…me dragging my coworker to go see the sea lions and us barely making our flight home!

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