August 2014 was a big month for me, professionally speaking: I was accepted to speak at WordCamp Grand Rapids, my first out-of-state WordCamp. Grand Rapids was where I saw my first talk from Chris Lema. It’s where I met my friends Cate, Topher, Brian, and Chris (who’s also responsible for me joining Untappd), who collectively convinced me to bite the bullet and apply to distributed teams, which landed me at 10up. Topher and Cate sat with Kim and I at the after-party, regaling us with stories of raising a family in a household with one parent working remotely full-time; the DeRosia’s — whether they know it or not — are a big part of why Kim and I were ready to bring Emily into the world.
After the conference, Kim and I drove the five hours back home to Columbus in her uncomfortable, silver Honda Civic. I looked forward to the next WordCamp Grand Rapids, to seeing all of my new friends again.
Fast forward a year, and WordCamp Grand Rapids didn’t happen in 2015. 2016 wasn’t in the cards, either, and I was left wondering if I’d ever get to use Grand Rapids as an excuse to return to Beer City, USA.