GO Wild Planner Conference 2023 Recap: An Introvert's Point of View
Hi all, Jenn from bloom here! I am a Graphic Designer here at bloom and this year was my first year attending the Wild for Planners conference AKA GO Wild. Going Wild for the first time from an Introverts point of view, I wanted to do this blog because I know for me writing it down in a journal or notebook while I’m there will help get it out of my head and on paper and it helps me process the whirlwind of the whole GO Wild experience. If you're an introvert considering attending future GO Wild conferences, I hope you find this helpful!
The Prep Work
After GO Wild 2022 we had heard that 2023 might be on the East Coast. Since I work for bloom and we are located on the east coast it was a no brainer to send as many of us from the team that we could so of course when they said DC we were all excited to have more of us go. That’s when the anxiety started to kick in. I was excited at the chance to see what GO Wild was all about but nervous at the same time. As an introvert it’s hard for me navigate things like talking to people I don’t know, large crowds, etc. so talk about putting me way out of my comfort zone! I am an over thinker by nature so all the thoughts start swirling in my head. All the what ifs…What if my anxiety hits me hard while I’m there? What if I get overwhelmed and need downtime? What if I can’t do all the things? Luckily, I work with a great group of ladies who are so understanding and that helps calm my mind. There were 5 of us going this year so I don’t have to feel so overwhelmed.
Fast forward to one month before GO Wild. We are planning EVERYTHING. We are a planner company after all. What we’re going to do when we get there, what’s the game plan, who do we want to meet, etc. And then the stress hits again. What am I going to wear every day? Do I have cute jammies for planjama? What about my hair? Cue shopping whirlwind on Amazon and Shein.
Once tickets were bought I joined the GO Wild Facebook groups. Seeing everyone’s posts about being their first time going like me, excited about going, sharing their fun outfits, shoes and hair made me get excited for the upcoming event. These are my people! Here’s my chance to let my inner unicorn out. Sparkly headband for planjama, pink metallic converse, fun nails and pink hair. Check, check and double check! But let me tell you, I thought I brought the bling but some of these girls went all out and I was very impressed! I need to step up my game if I go again next year.
1 Week Out
We are officially 1 week out from GO Wild. I am excited & anxious all at once. Actually the anxiety has been manageable for now. I was more anxious when I learned I was going. Now that I’ve had time to plan & process it so far I’ve been OK. For me it’s the anticipation of the event, travel and not knowing what to expect when I get there. And since I’m going with the bloom team it’s the expectations that are on us as a team to do all the things, meet people and make connections. It can be overwhelming and a lot. We have a game plan as a team of all the tings we want to accomplish while at GO Wild and I hope I get to check some of those things off of my list. I also want to just be able to take it all in as an observer and be in the moment, let if flow naturally and take things as they come and not be stuck in my head…did I meet this person, did I connect with that person, did I do too much…not enough…Just breathe and enjoy the moments as they come!
It’s GO time! I took the day off yesterday and so glad I did. It gave me the chance to just relax and get ready for GO Wild. I felt a little on edge but over all good. Not as anxious as I had anticipated when it comes to traveling. So thankful I was able to get some decent sleep the night before. Today is the day! Travel Day! Sticking with my usual routine helps me be prepared. I even had a chance to do a mini yoga session which helps me to relax. So far I’m feeling good. I’m as prepared as I can be. The rest I’m just going to take as it comes. One minute at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time. I know we’ll be so busy prepping when we get there I won’t have time to think about anything else but that. The countdown begins…3 hours til DC!
We’re here! We made it (I made it) to GO Wild. And happy to say no meds needed for my anxiety on day one! Sometimes I can get a bit anxious about traveling but managed it like a pro. After we arrived we checked in, had lunch, went off to registration and then started setting up our sponsored tables. It was a long and tiring day after traveling and setting up tables but all of the sponsored tables looked amazing. Everyone went above and beyond! After a quick trip into town for dinner (which was amazing btw) it was back to the hotel to go to the Welcome Party. I was starting to feel a little on edge and nervous about the party and I was tired but ready to rally and meet new people! Walking into the party was like walking into a night club (which I haven’t done since my 20s) The lights, the music…it was a lot of visual stimulation. Not something I’m used to anymore #feelingold Ran into some familiar faces from when we were setting up earlier and met some new people as well. We mingled for a bit but it had been a long day so it’s back to the room to chill and relax before going to bed.
It’s day 2 of GO Wild. First full day of guest speakers and I’m excited to hear them speak. The introvert in me wants to just sit there, listen to the speakers and take it all in but I know I need to try as much as I can to put myself out there and meet new people as well. Walking in the energy was hyped. Most people were already at their chosen tables. Lots of lights, music and people excited to start the day! Sitting by myself at one of our sponsored tables representing bloom was a bit daunting. We didn’t have a full table and everyone was focused on the speakers which is fine but for an introvert like me I need someone at the table to start the conversation and pull me out of my shell or it’s going to be quiet. I felt bad that I didn’t introduce myself as part of the bloom team, I felt like I dropped the ball on that one. All the speakers were great! I felt like I could relate and connect with a lot of them. My favorites on day one were Angela Trinidad from Passion Planner and Amy Tangerine.
Ya’ll the swag was insane! After every speaker there was another swag drop. Where am I gonna put all this stuff? How am I gonna get it all home? Well where there’s a will, there’s a way! And the creative workshops, especially with Amy Tangerine, are everything for a creative person like me. I am in my element for sure with this one.
After the first few speakers there was a power break to eat and ya’ll I met Amy Tangerine! She’s so nice, such a colorful and creative soul and so glad I got to meet her and get a photo with her. Check one thing off my GO Wild bucket list. Got to connect with Robyn, one of the volunteers on my list to make sure I said hi to. Also a fellow converse lover! Check another thing off that list! Look at me go, meeting all the people and reaching out of my comfort zone and trying to embrace the experience.
One of the speakers was Alex Elle. She’s talking about what makes you feel seen and all of a sudden a woman comes up to me from the table behind me and hands me a note. It simply says I love your shoes. I was wearing my pink metallic converse. She made me feel seen for the first time at that event. It was so sweet. I in turn went to her table and handed her a bloom kindness card with a vinyl sticker and some GO Wild bloom stickers for her table mates.
Now that all the speakers are done it's time to go back to the room and decompress. It was a long whirlwind of a day. Some of the bloom team went out to happy hour and dinner but I stayed behind with Meredith (fellow bloom team member and introvert) so we could just relax and grab dinner later ourselves. It’s nice that we work with such a great group of ladies who totally understand we need our down time. Now that we have rested and our bellies are full from dinner we are ready to go for the evening festivities. Crop sessions, but before we did that Meredith and I hit up the destash tables and were gathering up all the goodies we could find. The crafting session that was open to everyone was fun. Emily, Meredith and I went to that one and got to meet some new people who sat at our table. We creatives are a sucker for anything crafty! Afterwards we met up with the rest of the girls and had a fun time just hanging out with some planner friends. Lots of photos, laughs and memories.
Well it’s our last day of GO Wild. We started out doing a craft which of course was so much fun. I mean who doesn’t love to doodle on black paper with metallic paint pens!
The founders panel was great and Miss VJ from Notiq was amazing. Got to talk to her for a bit during the conference and she is truly one of the best humans I ever met. It was great getting to meet and connect with her.
Today I got to sit at a table with some of our bloom team which made for a much better experience. Our table mates were so nice. Got to chat some with the ladies I was sitting next to. Had some great laughs! And the table mate gifts were all so very thoughtful and fun.
Now that it’s the last day I’ve gotten to meet some people so it was nice to have our power break snacks with some familiar faces. Janine from Ireland was super sweet and the most colorful person you’ll ever meet. (I thought I was rocking it with my slightly pink hair but her hair was rainbow! Well done my friend, well done!) She has the cutest shop and stickers, be sure to check her out!
The speakers were great and Frank Warren had everyone crying. He is from PostSecret. If you’ve never heard of it look it up. I didn’t know about it either until I got to GO Wild. People at GO Wild were so amazing and vulnerable getting up and sharing their secrets with everyone. And seeing the love and support from their fellow Llamas while they bravely got up to speak was everything. The ladies at this conference are an amazing group of people! I was glad to be a small part of it and witness the love and support in the room.
After the speakers were done we gathered up all our goodies and headed back to our rooms to rest up before dinner. Shout out to Emily for scouting out the great restaurants in the area. The food was all so good. It was always great to have some quiet time with the rest of the bloom girls and talk over a nice meal. It was such a long day and I could feel myself starting to fade. For an introvert who’s not used to a conference like GO Wild it was a whirlwind over the last few days. But we went back to the room for a quick rest and I rallied and got ready for the biggest party ever…Planjama!
Yup, it’s a party in your jammies! When I used to go out to clubs it was all about the right outfit and shoes that hurt your feet after an hour. This was so nice to be dressed in some comfy clothes and slippers! And at my age this is the only way I wanna party from now on…haha! Ya’ll planjama was something else. People on stilts, a Llama mascot busting a move on the dance floor, food, drinks, music and a dance floor that lit up! It was stimulation overload for sure but once you were there and meeting people you got into the groove of the night.
I spent the time handing out kindness cards with stickers and some people even got a little something extra! It was so sweet when people would come over and hug me to say thank you! Doing little acts of kindness is good for the soul and was so appreciated.
It was a fun time for sure but for this over stimulated introvert it was time to call it a night. Now to go through all my goodies and figure out how I’m going to get it all home…eek!
GO Wild was by far a once in a lifetime experience. I’m glad I got to go and experience it for myself. I’m proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and going and doing all the things that I was able to do while still getting in some much need breaks. Would I have ever gone on my own, who knows…but so very thankful for my bloom girls for being so understanding of my need to chill and regroup so I can hang out later that night, it made it that much easier. Will I go to GO Wild next year? Who knows…but for this introvert it's time for me to rest and recharge!
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