Desert Meet-Up

Sometimes the universe lines everything up just right. Calendars coincide, schedules align, and the weather gods exhale balmy temperatures and paint picture-perfect skies. That’s what happened last week when four bloggers got together in Palm Desert, California to enjoy each other’s company, break bread, and talk about blogging.

Donna, Janis, Kathy, Terri

Donna (Retirement Reflections) and her husband were in Palm Desert for a month-long home exchange. Kathy (SMART Living 365) didn’t have to drive too far as she lives in a community just a few miles away. Terri (Second Wind Leisure) had traveled from Sacramento to San Diego to visit friends and family over the long Veterans Day weekend. I live in San Diego and, along with Terri, was more than happy to make the 2 1/2 hour trip to the desert to participate in a meet-up with blogger friends.

When the idea for the meet-up started to form several months ago, I was enthusiastically all-in. I have had the pleasure of meeting all three women individually over the last several years so having the opportunity to interact with them at the same time was something I couldn’t pass up. I was confident that our gathering would be full of stimulating conversation, a rich source of insightful information… and a whole lot of fun.

With Donna acting as the host, we came together to learn from each other and share our love of blogging. From each of our unique experiences, opinions, concerns, and outlooks, we shared openly and honestly about a wide range of blogging-related topics, such as:

  • How do we attract active followers and encourage more comments?
  • The role social media does – or doesn’t – play in the promotion of our blogs.
  • How do we stay motivated and find new and interesting topics to write about?
  • What are our individual niches, and is it important to always stay within them?
  • How do we manage our schedules – are we spending too much screen time?

Our time together was uplifting, encouraging, inspiring… and it ended too soon. Before we parted ways, we talked about arranging a similar meet-up next year when Donna and her husband return for another home exchange. We also discussed the possibility of opening it up to other interested bloggers.

All four of us have published posts today about the meet-up from our unique perspectives. I encourage you to check each of them out and leave a comment (we all agreed that the interaction with our readers was one of the best parts of blogging).

Retirement Reflections

SMART Living 365

Second Wind Leisure

A fifth blog, Roaming About, is worth checking out too.  Although Liesbet couldn’t join this gathering, she had the opportunity to meet with Donna and Kathy a few weeks prior and she has written about her experience. (Lucky for me, Liesbet is currently house and pet sitting in San Diego, so I will get to have multiple meet-ups with her over the next few months.)

Look for more posts about the ideas and inspirations that came out of the meet-up. It was truly a special experience and one that I hope we can repeat – and build on – into the future.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

78 thoughts on “Desert Meet-Up”

  1. Love this Janis! Blogging opens up a world of surprises. It’s great how you were all able to come together in one spot and enjoy a face to face. And you all look fabulous. Thanks for showing the world what retirement is and can be.

  2. You live in San Diego? How did I miss that! That is my favorite place! (said by an easterner who gets sick of cold weather) Your topics were interesting. Active followers is key. I have so many that I suspect have never read my blog. Getting people to comment is another. I’m getting better at that. Social media has not done great things for my blog, just mostly my friends but then again, I’m not working it. These are really good topics to write about (hint, hint).

    1. You know… we are talking about doing this again next year so if you want to visit your “favorite place,” that would probably be a great time to come (hint, hint). I do plan to write about several of these topics because they seem to resonate with many.

    1. The friendships that I have discovered through blogging have been such an unexpected – and delightful – surprise. I had no idea when I started out that I would meet (both virtually and face-to-face) so many terrific people.

  3. What a great idea and a wonderful opportunity to connect with other bloggers. I’ve always appreciated the community that evolves between and among bloggers. Many I consider friends even though I’ve never actually met or seen them. How great that you were able to take your community beyond merely virtual and make it a social and educational occasion.

  4. Janis, I love this. I have met with two bloggers and it was a joy. One lived close and the other was visiting nearby. Well done, Keith

    1. I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet several bloggers over the four years that I’ve been writing. In each case, I felt as if I had known them for a long, long time. I hope to meet more bloggers as time goes on… maybe even you one of these days.

  5. What a wonderful idea! It would be great to actually connect with those who blogs have inspired us! So glad you all got together. I am sure it was stimulating and so much fun to talk about something dear to your hearts!

  6. Hi Janis! You are so right that our getting together was such a special occasion. I tried to explain to Thom why it felt so rewarding and had a difficult time putting it into words (you’ve done a fine job though!) Thank you so much for making the trip to town. Fortunately, we don’t live too far from each other so I hope we can meet again (with your husband too) soon. And perhaps even better, I think once we all meet in person the connection to each other and our work is much deeper. Thank you for our friendship. ~Kathy

    1. I think my husband was a bit puzzled at first too, but I think he gets it now. I loved that we spent a whole afternoon talking about blogging, then a delightful evening chatting about everything else (and solving the world’s problems). Good friends, good conversation. I am looking forward to seeing you and Thom again in the not-so-distant future.

  7. Yay, I feel so special that we could all do this! You summed up our experience so eloquently and I believe we all learned some good things and built everlasting relationships! I hope you have the chance to meet other bloggers in San Diego, Janis!

  8. Sounds like a lovely time. And in such a pretty setting, too. I hope that you get to make it an annual event. That would be cool.

    I have yet to meet other bloggers in a friendly way outside of the virtual world. [Not entirely true. I met another blogger, but she didn’t know who I was– and let’s say just say she behaved in a way that showed me a different side of her character. 🙄]

    1. Ok… that sounds like a blog post in the making!

      I hope we can make it an annual event too – I know we all are on board with that. It would also be great to add a few bloggers to the mix to get some fresh perspectives.

      1. I’ve never written about it because I don’t want to out anyone. Everyone has bad days, you know?

        I’ll look forward to reading about what y’all plan. If possible, I’d love to attend. You women of the west rock.

  9. I guess that’s yet another advantage of living in San Diego: it attracts fellow bloggers. 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you (and Paul?) again soon, Janis. Maybe we can create a mini-gathering again as well when Terri and/or Kathy swing by town.

  10. What fun! I’ve already met two of the lovely ladies, Kathy and Terri. Alas, it’s too far to travel from Canada. I do visit family in San Diego so you never know!

  11. Alright, you four – I can’t even begin to tell you how jealous I am! I’m so comparatively new to the blogosphere that I’ve never met any other bloggers IRL. That said, when I saw the picture of the four of you, I feel as though we’ve already “met” and you all look AWESOME! I’m so happy that you got to spend time together, and now I can’t wait to read more about each of your experiences! And you had better get to writing about your discussion topics! – Jus’ sayin! ~ Lynn

  12. I LOVE it when the universe aligns like this. Thank you for making the drive to the Desert. I am already excited about next year’s meet up!

  13. Anytime bloggers get together, it’s pretty well guaranteed to be full of great conversation.
    I think that these virtual friendships through blogging have contributed a lot of meaning to our lives, and we should all jump at a chance to meet someone in person when given the change. It’s wonderful that the 4 of you could make it happen!

  14. I’m totally jealous, Janis. And itchingly curious about the various opinions on your great blogging questions. Looking forward to your future posts and those of your fellow blogger gals. I’m off to read some of their perspectives now.

    1. You would have been a wonderful addition to the group (maybe next year??). I am looking forward to exploring those questions – and more – in future posts. It was great to know that others had the same concerns.

  15. The connections we make through blogging and Instagram are the best part (for me). So nice the five of you have developed this connection 👍

          1. I love Instagram but mostly because I like getting to know people through the comments. The number of likes or follows is less important. Quality is always better than quantity.

            Oh, and Instagram is so simple, it won’t take you long to figure it out.

  16. I really wish I could have been a fly on the wall during your blogging summit Janis. I am familiar with each of your blogs (and Liesbet’s as well), so I suspect that you were able to collect some interesting insights into the fast-changing world of blogging.

    I’d be really interested to discover how you all addressed the last question about managing schedules. I’ve got a lot to learn here.

    1. We would have loved to have you join us… maybe next year? (As far as I know, there aren’t any vampires in Palm Desert, but there are tons of avocados available.) I will write a post… or two… about that last question/concern, but I’m afraid that there weren’t any magic solutions found.

      1. That would be awesome! I keep talking about finding a bloggers convention to attend, but I have yet to actually speak with another active blogger in person.

        In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for your thoughts about time management for bloggers. However, I hope you’ll forgive my tardiness in advance;)

  17. What a wonderful idea and how great that it went as well, and even better than planned. I would love to meet fellow bloggers and hopefully will have an opportunity soon as a few plan trips to Sri Lanka. Lovely post.

  18. As I said to Donna & Terri….so, so envious! I’m putting bids in on your collective answers to the questions on motivation, topic inspiration, and blog niche. All questions on my mind currently.

    I went to local WordCamp hoping to link with some local bloggers. All I met were small business owners and website developers. Lovely people, but not like you and the others in your Desert Meet-up. I’m glad you all had the opportunity to meet IRL…so wonderful!

    1. I went to a WordCamp a couple of years ago and had the same experience you had. I skipped last year’s because the agenda looked very similar. I sent the local organizing group an email recently with the suggestion they add a bloggers track, especially based on the positive response in other cites when they’ve done that. We’ll see…

      I hope to write about a few of those topics soon since so many of us have the same concerns.

  19. It sounds like you, and the other ladies at this gathering, and I have this life transition in common! I started my blog for similar reasons, and a year later I am so happy I did! I have met some great people along the way and learned how to deal with all that midlife throws at us. I am nowhere near done on this journey but have really appreciated learning how others are dealing. Love your blog 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment! Blogging has brought so many unexpected benefits into my life… and the friendships gained are at the top of my list. You are right about our journey being far from over… and it just keeps getting better. I’m off to check out your blog. I hope to “see” you here in the future!

  20. Sounds like a great way to meet new friends and get some fresh ideas. As I told one of your fellow meet-up friends, I’ve meet a cpl of my fellow bloggers but never in this much of an organized way. I should look into it.

    1. Meeting fellow bloggers like this is a great way to share thoughts, ideas, and concerns… as well as laughs and general merriment. I have attended a few small “official” blogger conferences, but meeting with these three women who I have so much respect for and who share a similar niche was so uplifting. I hope you can do the same in your area.

    1. It’s interesting how much we get to know someone we haven’t met face-to-face but have followed their blog for a long time. When I’ve had the opportunity to meet the blogger, it’s like talking to an old friend.

      1. I met one of my idols one year ago in Virginia as we were on our way to a wedding in NY. We enjoyed talking with her and her husband for several hours. Marvelous!

  21. Hi Janis, I just hopped over from Donna’s blog. Such fun meet-up you’ve had! Look forward to future posts on your blogging questions.

  22. What fun you must have had! I think it is so interesting when our online and offline lives begin to merge. Of course, for younger generations, that seems to be a given.


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