In this blog post, I shared about my dreams for 2009.
One of my four dreams for 2009 is to attend the BlogHer ’09 conference in Chicago in July.
I want to attend BlogHer because working on my blogs, (this one and Vientiane Living) gives me such a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Even from my childhood, I never knew what to say when I was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
I went to school. I got a B.S. in Mass Communications. I got a M.A. in Teaching. Still, I didn’t know what I wanted to be.
Teaching never felt like a good fit. I always felt like an impostor, worried that someone would find out that I wasn’t a “real” teacher. That I didn’t know what I was doing.
I taught for four years before I stopped to stay home with my first child.
I always wondered how I could ever possibly find a job that would allow me to do all of the things I loved: reading, writing, photography, and traveling.
Now I know; I want to be a professional blogger.
Blogging is the first thing I have ever done that I feel is me. I like it. I feel that I am good at it.
There is a lot I don’t know about blogging! Don’t know exactly how to *grow* my blog, and how to use it most effectively. I don’t know how to make the leap from “blog enthusiast” to “professional blogger”.
I’m definitely a blogger. I don’t think I have quite earned my stripes as a “professional”, because, um, professionals actually earn income.
You might be wondering, “Well, why don’t you stop wishing and just GO to BlogHer?”
The huge issue is this: I live in Laos.
My husband and I have been working in Asia together since 2002 as volunteers. We assist in educational instruction and curriculum development in developing nations.
The pay is ridiculously low, but the work is extremely rewarding.
I hope to be able to earn enough money by moonlighting as a substitute teacher at the International School this semester to be able to purchase a plane ticket for myself and Deeds (who qualifies as a lap baby) to fly to the US this summer so I can attend BlogHer.
I am also selling as many of our household items as we can stand to part with. I just started listing them today, but I have many more toys, books, and DVD’s that I plan to sell. After I get a good number listed, I’m going to send a mass e-mail to the playgroup moms here in town for them to go check out our wares!
I have been thinking about how I can possibly make this happen even before they announced the location.
If I make it to Chicago (Deeds can stay with his grandparents in Alabama), I have friends in the city who have offered me free lodging in their home. I don’t know how far away it is from the conference site, but anything is better than not going at all!
I also have no problem skipping meals for the entire conference. Luckily in the USA, tap water is potable so I can guzzle that for free to keep myself full.
I’m not saying this for the pity effect, this is my actual plan.
Am I crazy? Maybe! Blog-crazy!
Why don’t you blog about your work?
Because, while it sounds lofty, it isn’t exactly action packed. I blog about things that I feel others might be able to more readily/easily relate with.
Why don’t you blog about all of the awesome ways you help people?
There are two reasons for this. 1) I’m a bit shy about it and I don’t see the need to talk about it in a public form. Some things are fun to share, like how next week I will be talking about my friends newly adopted baby, who I excitedly rounded up donations-in-kind for his little newborn arrival on 12/15. But I’m afraid if I share how I also donated my own breast milk to the adoptive baby, I might come across as a weirdo.
I am not a saint. I am a softy.
2) I have found that after a while, people stop listening. Our work requires us to go on various fund raising tours. We have to tell of our progress and good deeds so that others will feel that our work is important, produces results, and is worth of their continued financial support. It is actually humiliating to pour out the story of your life’s work before a group of strangers, and in the end they decide to toss their money toward a different cause.
Why don’t you apply for the BlogHer ’09 International Scholarship?
I don’t think I qualify as an activist blogger. In fact, I am passive-aggressive.
Yes, I do hope to effect change in the developing world. But this isn’t reflected in my blogging. I purposely exercise restraint because I am operating from within a communist nation.
I tried to apply for a BlogHerShip, to offer to volunteer at the conference in exchange for a free ticket. I have a nagging feeling that I did the application incorrectly, or that the web page I got my information from was from the 2008 conference.
BlogHer ’09 is a dream for me. I do have a back up plan; if I don’t make it to ’09, I will definitely go to ’10. I hope to sell so many of our possessions that we can downsize from our $400/month rental house to a $200/month rental! Simple life, here we come!