Throughout my years living abroad, I have been constantly looking to connect with like-minded people and find others out there who are taking the steps to living their best lives. In the past few months, I’ve been submerged in the digital nomad and location independent scene, realizing that although I’m not moving to a different country every month… the life I live actually does allow for me to be location independent, as my home base is Spain.
So, when I was introduced to the 7in7 conference in Barcelona, I was intrigued to see what it was all about. With a mission to host 7 conferences, in 7 years on 7 different continents, I thought it was a great initiative but when I heard more about it, I was absolutely on board. You see, part of the focus of the conference is to shine a light on the voices and stories in the “digital nomad” world that don’t have a platform. It meant diversity and community. So, after speaking to Kit (one of the organizers) about how she wanted me to participate it was a definite yes.
So, I headed to Barcelona to both sit on a panel and give the closing speech of the conference. It was an experience that was unforgettable as I was able to be surrounded by brilliant, innovative individuals who are pushing the limits both through their work and their lifestyle.
During the weekend, I was able to not just share my story and experiences but I was also able to learn and make meaningful connections. We were challenged to question the norm, get out of our comfort zones and redefine how we view success.
While I was there as a panelist and a speaker, I was also thrilled to be a participant and observer, finding the importance in these three reoccurring themes over the weekend.
The Importance of Diverse Stories
One of the things that I loved most about 7in7 was the fact that it was such a diverse group of people attending and speaking. The 7in7 team really makes an effort that the people whose voices and stories are being shared are those who might not have a platform in “typical” larger scale conferences, although their work is just as valued. With over 75% of speakers, volunteers and attendees are women, that’s saying enough. Not to mention, it was an amazing feeling being able to see so many women of color taking the stage, sharing their expertise in different fields. Being able to spark conversation with people with so many different personal and professional backgrounds, who share the same values as you is an amazing experience.
A Sense of True Community
7in7 was a conference that really embraced a sense of community. Over 30% of the participants were at the conference the previous year and even the new attendees were welcomed with open arms as if they were family. Throughout the week the small workshops and meetups allowed for a sense of gathering before the stage days, which meant that you got to know people on a bit more of a personal level before entering into the panels and speaker sessions.
Many people talk about how being a digital nomad or location independent can be a lonely feeling but when you’re welcomed into settings like that, you don’t just leave feeling as if you “got to network and get new connections” but instead, you leave feeling as if you have new friendships that feel like family. It was refreshing being able to connect with so many people that I didn’t know existed but left feeling as if it planted the seeds for a supportive and meaningful relationship in the future.
The Ability To Learn From One Another
One of the things that I appreciated the most about 7in7 was the fact that there was no sense of hierarchy between the attendees, the speakers and panelists and even the organizers. It’s amazing to be in a place where the organizers know the names of almost all of the attendees and that the people who were brought to share their wisdom, spent the weekend learning just as much as well. With a variety of backgrounds and experiences, it’s easy to gain endless wisdom from almost everyone who is in the room. During the breakout sessions of the conference, it was beautiful to see everyone sitting around to learn and share knowledge on a variety of topics from creating online courses to dealing with relationships and even crafting more time for creativity on the road.
Like most conferences, 7in7 was an amazing way to open my mind to new ideas and plant the seeds for success in the future. Not only that, but I was able to see how much I have grown in the past year as a speaker and that’s a beautiful thing.