As we approached the US border control post on Friday morning, I hoped it would be an easy crossing. Standard questions and answers and we would be on our way.
- Where are you going? We would like to attend a conference in Portland.
- What is it called? (long pause) The World Domination Summit (another long pause).
- How long have you been with Amway? Huge relief, roaring laughter from all of us.
- BEST border crossing ever.
It was our first time attending WDS, (as it came to be known). We had no expectations, but hopes, both for the conference and our free time in Portland. As we drove down, after our enjoyable border crossing, we chatted about the usual stuff. We had no idea.
When we arrived at the hotel, we let the car go for the weekend, time to walk and experience the city. Sitting on the patio, we enjoyed the great surroundings, just like any other day. My mind kept wandering back to like experiences. People having a drink getting ready for a load of information compressed into a couple of days. However, we would come to find out, this was no ordinary meeting.
When people don’t know each other they tend to need some nudging to open up and introduce themselves. Particularly to share their stories. There was a bustle of conversation on the patio among people wearing their name badges. We assumed they knew each other previously. We were not included in the group yet, (maybe they thought we were with the Mormons, the other large group staying in our hotel for the weekend).
Over to registration, we got a whole load of goodies and were asked to create a short video of what we imagined to be doing in 2020. I’m not great at knowing what I’ll be doing next week and I didn’t think that stating my big year of 50 was a significant enough declaration. This was the first sign to me, the WDS folks want you to start thinking.
At the opening party we realized with every stranger who approached us, this was a friendly crowd. Genuinely interested in your story and ready to share theirs. Many of these exchanges involved other first timers. I was not prepared for this level of engagement. It was thrilling.
Over the next 3 days, we learned so many things. The guiding question: “How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” That is a biggie. Then throw in the core values of community, adventure and service. I think this sets the stage for people to think differently, open their minds to new ideas, be creative. These kinds of events are lacking in our modern, busy and stressed world.
Meeting people at every turn, hearing their stories, amazing keynote speakers, fantastic venues, Portland glowed in the spotlight. When the offer went out to pre-register for next year, I accepted. I am going back, and I’m going to enjoy the whole wonderful experience even more. (I now have a year to figure out some of the answers to the questions people kept asking me.)
On another funny note, my husbands co-workers thought I was attending the world dominatrix summit.