When I lived in New Zealand, I watched in envy as all sorts of interesting conferences and seminars happened in Toronto (or other cities in North America that were FAR easier to get to from home than in Christchurch), and promised myself that when I moved back home, I would start going to these events. Even though I’ve been back for over two years now, somehow I’ve not gone to any.
In the last few weeks, I’ve been busy signing up for heaps of different travel/travel writing, and web development events, — Im super excited. Not only am I looking forward to learning new skills, I’m really keen to meet like-minded people and to network to expand a few areas of my professional life.
MPG/Toronto was the first event I signed up for, and was held last night (October 16th) at the Hard Rock Café in downtown Toronto. Marketed towards anyone interested in or in the planning stages of taking a career break, I went to see if I could be inspired a little more than I already am. Admittedly, I’m not really their target audience as a) I’ve already taken a career break (if you can call working in my chosen field in New Zealand for 10 months a “break”) and b) I’m already planning at least two other long -term travel adventures. Still, I wanted to go and hear what people had to say.
I was really pleased that several Toronto travel bloggers (Bacon is Magic, Globetrotting Mama, Vegablonding) were on the panel along with Janice Waugh and Evelyn Hanon, two of the biggest names in solo (and solo female) travel, and loved hearing of their stories — many of which were similar to my own.
One of the best parts of the night for me was while chatting with other attendees, when they learned that I’d already gone on big trips, answering their questions on how I did it, and how I manage to travel as often and for as long as I do. Maybe next year I should get involved from the other side of the microphone!
With more and more of my clients wanting WordPress-as-a-CMS websites, it’s time for me to take a deeper look at what the platform is capable of. Having used WP for over six years for marmalade.ca, I’m well familiar with using it as a personal website, and am keen to see what else I can do with it. This event will be happening in a few weeks over November 3 & 4.
Responsive design has become my latest passion, web dev-wise. A favourite saying of mine is that “the internet is not your desktop”, because with all of the different sized computers, laptops, tablets, phones, phablets, TVs, cars (!) and fridges (!!) having internet access, you need to have a solid and consistant way to ensure your website looks good on ALL devices, not just the one that was popular five minutes ago.
Websites that are built responsively will not only look great on all current devices, when done properly they will degrade gracefully (ie: will still work nicely on your Mom’s 10″ netbook running Windows XP). At the same time, responsive sites will continue to function smartly on future technologies with no new development work needed (unless it’s to refresh the content or design; the framework can remain as is).
I really do believe that eventually all sites will be built this way, and getting a strong grip on the techniques and methodologies from now can only be a career booster for me.
And lastly, I’ve registered to attend the 2013 Travel Blog Exchange writers’ conference that will be held here in Toronto next June 1 & 2. While I’ve been writing about my travels for the past four years, I’ve not yet made the jump into semi-professional blogging and networking. This conference is “the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, and new media content creators”, and I’m really excited that it’s being held in my hometown.
So! The next few months will prove to be really interesting and should help me get ahead both professionally and personally. I feel that after being home and wondering “what happens next?” for the last few years, I’ve finally figured out what the next steps should be.