On a Saturday morning in December 2012, I was at home reading Twitter when I came across this tweet from @Kissane about how fondly she remembered Webstock. I had never heard of the annual conference before but when I looked at the website, I knew immediately that it looked very special (and was fast approaching in February). My mind started racing and I decided right then-and-there that I was going. With butterflies in my stomach, I asked my boss Dave at POP if he would support the conference registration and guess what: HE DID! My mom booked airfare with air miles and the next thing I knew, I was going to Webstock!
Sometimes you just have to align yourself with where you want to be by showing up and acting like you’re supposed to be there (because you ARE supposed to be there). On the morning of day one of Webstock, I accidentally sat at a speaker’s table and started talking with Chris Coyier and Jeremy Ashkenas, happily telling them about some of the accessibility stuff I’ve learned from working on the Target account. I was pretty embarrassed once I discovered what I’d done but I ended up having great conversations with two of my web development idols. I got to talk with quite a few of the speakers and met tons of wonderful people as the conference went on. When folks repeatedly asked me if I was speaking because I came all the way from Seattle, I realized that I do want to start speaking at conferences (and I’m working on my first proposal on JS & Accessibility). I have Webstock to thank for that great opportunity and boost in confidence.
I don’t think the conference could have been any more successful. I met speakers & peers from around the world, heard amazing talks, got crazy excited about my craft and felt myself grow as an individual. The swag was pretty kickass, too.
To top it all off, after two days of Webstock I picked up a rental car, went mountain biking at Makara Peak in Wellington and then hopped on a ferry to the South Island where I explored for nearly two weeks all by myself. I hiked, ate, drank, mountain biked, photographed, danced and explored. I picked up hitchhikers (safely) and talked with people I met in hostels. I met up with Jeremy Ashkenas at a mountain bike race where he rode proper trails for the first time and then we hiked in the most amazing spot at Arthur’s Pass. Though I wished my boyfriend Erik could have joined me, I never really felt lonesome because there was always something magnificent to do. My legs were practically falling off by the end of it–what an adventure! Hopefully I’ll make it back to NZ for Webstock again in the future…it is a dream of mine to go back and speak there some day. But I definitely maximized my time spent there, returning home fulfilled, refreshed and excited.
Two weeks, 1755 km driving, 160 km pedaling on 6 mtn bike rides & 1 race, 3 hikes, 1 #Webstock! Thanks New Zealand for a wonderful time!
— Marcy Sutton (@marcysutton) February 27, 2013