This post will be super long but mostly full of photos! I have a ton of things I need to post and work on but I got back from my first UtopYA experience yesterday morning. I then proceeded to do nothing all day but sleep and relax after the exciting and tiring week. Now today I'm doing much the same but also being semi-responsible and unpacking, laundry, updating etc.
So for those of you who follow me on Facebook you're about to see a ton of photos I have already posted there. I'm trying to also get them upload on my Twitter and Instagram accounts as well, Wi-Fi there was a bit spotty and I didn't want to use all my data. Plus, honestly, I was busy having a good time.
I had such an amazing time. I was able to totally fangirl but also just be myself. Normally I'm a shy homebody who doesn't like large groups of people and feels uncomfortable without one person who knows me as my anchor. So this was a new experience for me. I went alone. I had a roomie I found on the FB group I had been talking to for a few months and was sure wasn't a serial killer and I had been active on the FB group talking to people who would be there but that was in the safety of my apartment over the internet. In real life is completely different and I had a strategy I had started to employ at the end of 2014 when I started going to signings here and there a few hours from my place, just go for it and make conversation. Simple as it seems it can be hard. But my theory was just as simple, they are here for the same reason as me so we already have something in common. This had worked up to that point and I was a combination nervous and excited.
I should also say that it was an 7-8 hour drive and the AC in the car was not keeping up with the heat. So I had been driving in some lounge shorts and a tank top and didn't look my best. Normally I only see a couple best friends like this or family, never in public. But here I was arriving at the hotel like this to meet people for the first time. I was quite as I got in line for the check it, I ended up seeing a couple people in line with me who made me think they were there for the event as well so I started chatting. Softly at first but they seemed just as disheveled as me and super nice.
Thankfully my room was ready early and I could check right in. I took a cart and went to get my things from my car, basically it looked like I moved in. I got to my room, my roomie hadn't arrived yet, I unloaded the cart and quickly took out what I planned to wear for the day and took a quick shower to refresh and cool down, then felt more like myself. When I went back downstairs I checked in got my badge and I saw tons of others wearing the same badge/name tag so I was feeling more confident I could simply join in with any of them.
Between the panels and workshops, a couple of which I wanted to attend but completely missed because time had no meaning and I was enthralled in talking with everyone, to the keynote speeches, the exhibitor halls, awards show, and dance party there was constantly something to do. And if there wasn't a specific event at the conference that you wanted to see there was always a group going out on the town to see new places and things. I ate at a couple of amazing restaurants and even got to go tour Parthenon. I wish I had more time to do more things but next year I'm planning on maybe having an extra day in there without event things to do just to see the city.
I need to say this again and again: UtopYA was amazing! It was beyond amazing! I had such an amazing time. I was able to meet and talk with so many wonderful people both authors I already knew of and new ones I have discovered. I was even more stoked to see people there who I wasn't expecting but I knew their books and was able to have that fun surprise of seeing them. I got so many new books there it's insane! I have tons of reading material and I can't wait to start of it. I also have a ton of bookmarks and pins and such, way more bookmarks than I could ever use just myself and as I want to spread the word on some of these amazing authors I'm going to host a small giveaway. I've divided the swag into two and I'm going to pick two random winners. US only, sorry but shipping and customs are somewhat of a downer. I'll post the giveaway at the bottom below all the photos.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Sorry for the image quality of some of them. Excited hands shake. Also I was only using my cell phone as I had not decided which camera I wanted to move up to before leaving. I'm still stuck between two then finding the best price of course. It was a blast and I can't wait for next year. What do you say? Have you thought about going? If you have any questions about the event feel free to ask me, if I don't know the answer I can direct you to someone who will! Until next time…