It was a long time coming but after a year's wait, The Design Conference (TDC) experience finally happened.
TDC is a conference that has been held for 10 years up in Brisbane for creatives of all types to come together and hear from great industry leaders from Australia and around the world.
Due to the current pandemic and Australia's borders being closed to international travellers, it meant that the conference had to be postponed in 2020 to June 2021 and that the original speakers from overseas weren't able to make it. So the lineup became an all-Aussie affair.
Now I'd never been to TDC but in the last year, I've connected with the founder of the event, Matt Haynes (above) who encouraged me to come up, even though I'd already bought my ticket. Matt's a special bloke and he really throws a great party for all of us like-minded creatives. So it was great to finally meet him in person. But also a couple dozen other creatives who I knew from connecting on Instagram and meeting new people who follow me on the platform and introduced themselves...just so nice.
Attending the 3-day event also meant that domestic travel was also a first for me in at least 2 years. But let me tell you, the flying experience was a different level of regimented due to travel requirements of mask-wearing, distancing and added checks around the place.
However, I made it up and back in one piece. Though to be fair, more exhausted than when I left...and I have a business and two kids. But it was because I didn't quite make life easy for myself as I thought it'd be a great idea to document my journey and days up in Brisbane to have it as a memory for future years and obviously use it as a piece of content to publish on Instagram, Linkedin and YouTube.
I got the idea from YouTubers that I heavily watch and am inspired by, like Casey Neistat and Peter Mckinnon. They call this type of video documentation of your day, VLOGGING. Like blogging but with video. Let me tell you from experience having done this on two occasions in the past, it's not easy.
Now I decided not just to document one day, but all 5 days that I was away and travelling.
See, filming yourself all day not only feels totally narcissistic. It's also draining. Because it's not just filming yourself but also putting together a story for the day for people to follow. Making it interesting, thinking on the fly for different shots to take that would be interesting. Creating time-lapses, doing drone shots too and then coming back to the hotel each night and editing the video. It was a lot and I was putting these videos out with a goal of them going out that same night after editing a day of footage down to 10-15 minutes, for 3 hours.
Suffice to say I got to the end of Day 3 (Day 2 of the conference) and called it quits. The first day was fun, the second day I was having massive homesickness being away from my family for the longest time ever and then by Day 3 I just wanted to cry...and I actually did.
It wasn't just because I was exhausted from vlogging and missing my family. But because I was in a bit of a state with where my business was going and that vagueness kind of came to a head all at the same time.
So on Day 4 I put the camera down and enjoyed the day. I was more present, I felt like I could have more conversations with people - even getting a photo with just about everyone I met over those 3 days - without thinking about the next shot I had to film. This presence also meant I was able to full appreciate the experience two great speakers who actually gave me something positive to walk away with after listening to their talks. Which I thanked them for afterwards.
By Day 5 it was time to head home and after a combined 6.5 hours of travel with a mask on from my hotel in Brisbane to the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, I couldn't have been happier to see my kids and wife standing on the platform at our local train station when my train rolled into town.
What I'll say about this experience was that it was needed at the time it happened. It was challenging but I believe things happen for a reason and at the times they should happen. It's simply trusting that fact, trusting in yourself that things will work out and that everything becomes clearer after challenging moments in life. Because if you come out the other side of them, what comes next is usually pretty great.
So that's where I'm at. In a better position mentally. More positive, clear and ambitious. But at the same time prepared for uncertainty, especially given Sydney is about to go into lockdown. Meaning that I'm also grateful that had TDC been a week later, this experience that needed to happen, wouldn't have happened.
...and I'm looking forward to the next one!