It was nice, actually, to travel alone. One boarding pass. One piece of luggage. One person eating overpriced airport fare.
As I waited by the baggage claim at my destination, I wondered…Carrie had agreed to meet me here and travel with me into the city. She and I have been communicating for over two years, but I had yet to have actually SEEN her. What would she be like? Would we hit it off? I had agreed to be her roommate and we had never been in the same room!
Before my bag even came through, I looked up and recognized the face of my friend.
A hug was natural. Even overdue. It was like we had been friends for years.
Totally in sync. Ready to take on BlogHer.
That was the first time last week that I hugged a stranger and made a friend.
Over and over the same pattern would repeat — bloggers who had commented on my work, bloggers who had conversed with me on Twitter, bloggers who had celebrated my words, and bloggers who had never even heard of me, but who were willing to connect — each time I hugged a complete stranger, I made a new friend.
There were bloggers I sought out to meet. People whose words I’ve read and treasured for years. Bloggers connected to other friends. And bloggers whose genres I didn’t even know existed.
I talked to total strangers and ran into nearby neighbors. Literally — sat down at lunch one day and, after a short conversation, realized that two of the ladies at the table live within 20 minutes of me.
And in the course of five days, I made so many new friends.
In the end, the realization that although we start as strangers, we finish as friends: supporting each others words, and celebrating our diversity.
p.s Here’s a picture of me with the ONE person I knew before I boarded the plane: Brook from Redhead Reverie — we met at another blogging conference last year. And I’m wearing the little black dress I searched high and low to find.
Oh, and p.p.s. If you’re a nonhugger and I hugged you. Please forgive. I got wrapped up in the moment.