You are never too old to indulge in a wee bit of World Domination! That was my thinking anyway when I attended #WDS2014 aka The World Domination Summit – a multi-day gathering of 3000+ lively, creative and inspiring souls who traveled from all across the globe to connect in downtown Portland Oregon for the fourth annual iteration of this very cool event.
WDS was on my bucket list and this year I was lucky (early) enough to snag a ticket. These babies sell out quickly so, you snooze, you lose and that’s what happened to me last year. This time I jumped the day they went on sale.
When I told folks that I was going to the World Domination Summit, I got more than a few puzzled looks. “World domination?” “What the hell are you getting involved with?” “That sounds…interesting.” “Well, have a good time.”
And I had more than a good time. I had a fabulous time. My creative mojo was re-charged. My head is swimming with new ideas and my waning resolve to cut the corporate umbilical cord sooner rather than later has been fully restored. In short, getting out of Dodge has become priority number one (again). And I have a new toolbox to work with.
For two very full days, Grandma Nancy listened and learned and shared with a whole pack of mostly 20 and 30-somethings and they blew my socks off!
Here’s how it went down.
The Great Namaste. When an event that starts with the intent to set a new world record for the most people doing yoga in one place, you know it’s not going to be any ordinary rah rah weekend. On Friday morning 800+ people gathered in Portland’s Living Room (Pioneer Courthouse Square), spread out their colorful yoga mats on the bricks in the 90 degree heat and OM’d their way into the Guinness Book of World Records. So far so good.
This was the question that attendees were encouraged to contemplate as we listened to a well-curated line-up of inspiring, heartwarming, funny, and very thought-provoking keynote speakers with lots of time for mixing, mingling, exploring, and making connections. Throw in a 5k run, the Portland Experience in the Park Blocks, a scavenger hunt called the Unconventional Race and the very unusual “Highly Sensitive Person Lounge” located on the mezzanine of a nearby hotel where a dimly lit room was set up with several capsule-like hammocks for napping and you have one hell of an experience. I didn’t nap, but I did check it out. When I peeked in, every hammock was full and a very loud buzzing noise was emanating from one in the back corner.
But it always comes down to the people.
This group of adventurers and inspiration seekers were absolutely delightful – full of adventurous plans, brilliant ideas and interesting stories. I met 29 year old Kat who quit her job in 2008 to work on the first Obama campaign doing social media and has been traveling the world every since. Kat’s doing in her late 20’s what I hope to do in my late 60’s and she had lots of great advice for me. I sat next to Tracy from Vancouver Island who at 50+ quit her job and began a new career as a designer of edgy baby clothes and up-cycled art jewelry.
I raised a glass in the beer garden with Woody from England and Alice from Romania who were extending their WDS weekend into a two week tour of the western United States. They loved their Airbnb stay in Cannon Beach!
And I swapped life stories and dreams for the future with twin sisters Alex and Jennifer – currently from Boston and Atlanta who were plotting their next great adventures and bought me lunch (and several glasses of vino!).
We shared our “brave bots” with our waiters and they indulged us with a photo. We talked and laughed for so long that we totally missed the meditation in the park meet-up, so we made a quickie doughnut run to Blue Star Doughnuts and raced back to find a seat for the final session. My young friends then partied into the night while I headed home with my mind racing and my butt dragging.
A few take-aways !
The truth is, we are ALL cousins – from the funny and brilliant A.J. Jacobs, author of My Year of Living Biblically and currently gearing up to hold the world’s largest family reunion in NYC next June.
Stop talking and listen – Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant John Francis author of Planetwalker: 17 Years of Silence, 22 Years of Walking.
Don’t be afraid to meet someone – the WDS mantra!
It’s never too late – from all the courageous folks I had the pleasure to share my story with.
A huge congratulations and Thank You! to Chris Guillebeau and the entire WDS Team. You rocked my world!