Gonna Give BarkWorld My All

As I start to prepare myself for BarkWorld Expo I realize how long it has been since I’ve left the country. Four years? Five? Except for that one trip to Prince Edward Island I haven’t even left the province in that same amount of time. A world traveller, I am not. At least, not any more. The dog kind of put an end to any thoughts of international trips.

That’s right, it’s all Shiva’s fault.

She doesn’t look very sorry, does she?

Thus, I am out of practice. It just occurred to me that my passport needs to be updated before I’d be allowed on a plane to the United States. Also, I realized I am going to need to figure out the currency situation. I am used to paying for everything with my debit card. Can I do that in the U.S.? I have no idea, but I need to find out.

It may be a country very similar to my own but it is still a different country. And a part to where I have never ventured. While I have been to all of the States along the border, I’ve never been further south than Idaho. I imagine Georgia is as different from Montana as New Brunswick is from Saskatchewan. It’s exciting, but it’s also intimidating.

Instead of getting all freaked out, I am trying to concentrate on the conference itself. Every time I check, the schedule has something new that I am dying to check out. Obviously Amy and Kim’s cooking demonstrations are a huge highlight, though I am also curious about the information to be presented on supplements and vitamins during Saturday’s breakfast meeting. I refuse to start mentally coming up with reasons why I shouldn’t go and why I have no place at an event of this scale.

Which is how I usually roll.

Nope, this time I have signed up for every opportunity and session I can. This includes the utterly terrifying brand networking session. It’s true, I have no clue what I am doing. This is beside the point. I am going to get the most out of BarkWorld even if my hands shake and my voice stutters the entire time. Year of Zoomery, right? I fully xpect to be nervous. I know there are many points at which I am going to be standing awkwardly in a room, wondering what the heck I am doing there. However, I am not going to give in to those feelings. This is a chance of a lifetime, to be atrociously cliché.

There is no way I am going to kick myself later for passing it up. I mean, just check out everything I’d be missing!

Do you have any advice for dealing with overwhelming social situations? Are you attending BarkWorld? Knowing there are a few friends in the crowd might make me a whole lot more comfortable. Even if I am too shy to say hello in person.

I guess before I do anything else, I’d better fill out that passport application, eh?

39 thoughts on “Gonna Give BarkWorld My All

  1. It’s too bad you can’t bring Shiva with you – she’d be a great icebreaker!

    I’m guessing that you won’t be the only one that feels a little reserved, a little shy. But hey, what a great place to be if you feel like that! Come on now – you will have lots to talk about with everyone. Common ground. You are the person that brought Shiva so far from where she was when you adopted her; the one that taught her VERY cool tricks; the one that has honed her agility skills and just in general made life very fun for her. I don’t have any doubt that you will make the most of this experience. Have fun and remember to breathe!

    One more thing… we promise to still love ya even if you pass out in front of everyone from discomfort. 😉

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    • It’s true, and it is too bad. I often feel more confident in social situations with her around. Perhaps because there isn’t a shy bone in her body!

      I hope you are right. I am sure once I start talking to people, I will be able to relax a bit more, but I think I need to at first just learn to be okay with the butterflies. If I accept the fact I am going to be scared, hopefully I can push through and have a great time.

      Breathing, very important. 🙂

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  2. You’re going to have a blast at Barkworld! I thought about going briefly as my family lives there and it’s an excuse to see them at the same time. But, alas, I must attend conferences for the business first, blog second.

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    • Business first? Where are your priorities? 😉 That was actually why I couldn’t attend Blogpaws this year – well, one of the reasons. Work just gets in the way sometimes and there is nothing one can do.

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  3. Is there an open bar at Bark World? Nothing like shaving the rough edges off social anxiety with a little liquid courage… (just a little – I don’t want to be reading “What Happens in Bark World….” when you get back).

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    • LOL. I doubt it. But as a resourceful blogger, I am sure I can locate a little liquid courage of my own. 😉 No doubt my husband doesn’t want to hear that either!

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  4. I recently went to a local conference for WordPress and I tried to talk myself out of it for days! I am positive that you will find your people and have a great time! I can’t wait to hear all about it 🙂

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    • It’s reassuring I am not the only one who quakes a little at the idea of a giant conference full of strangers. If you can do it, maybe I can too!

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      • You can! My hubby is at a conference in San Francisco right now and there are 70,000 people there – YIKES!! He hasn’t been able to find the people from his company so he has just been making the best of it by himself. He’s not a crowd person either but sometimes we just have to get outside of our comfort zone!! Good luck Kristine!

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  5. I felt a lot of the same things when I went to BlogPaws and it turned out alright! I was determined to make the most out of the opportunity, and I did my best. I had a lot of fun and gave myself a little down time, too. I would love to attend Bark World, too, but sadly, the money tree in the back yard hasn’t produced anything this year. I hope you have enough fun for both of us!

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    • Down time, that’s an important thing to remember for sure.

      It’s too bad you can’t go but I completely understand. If the founder hadn’t contacted me about providing airfare, I’d not be going either. I hope my experiences at BarkWorld help make up for missing out on meeting you at Blogpaws!

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  6. Yes you can pay with debit – however there is usually an extra 1.50 charge for using it cross border. Take some cash for small purchases and save yourself service charges. Go to everything you want – and if you say something that you regret – remember you probably will never see any of these people again in your life – so don’t worry about it –

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    • That’s what I was thinking. Cash and credit are probably just easier ways to go in general. I am sure I can find an ATM if necessary. Hopefully the Canadian dollar stays roughly where it’s at now by late October!

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  7. WOW! Looks like you are going to have a ball. Hope you get loads of freebies.

    If things get a bit overwhelming I’d find yourself a cup of coffee and take a seat for a bit. I am sure you will be wanting to see everything and will soon forget any nerves.

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    • Thanks! I think that is great advice. There is nothing wrong with sneaking off for a little alone time, right? In fact, it’s probably pretty important for keeping me sane.

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      • Definitely take yourself off to a quiet area, or even just go outside. I can get panic attacks so I carry Bach Rescue Remedy in a spray bottle. I find it helps me.

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      • Do it! Honestly? The most memorable part of my BlogPaws trip is sneaking off to the Art Festival for some good food, art & music! It would be a shame to go so far and not allow yourself a bit of downtime!

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  8. The one called “Donna” went to some big writers conference in the city by herself in July. While it’s not like traveling to another country by yourself, to her, it was just as scary as she is not a “city” person, it terrifies her. She was also afraid she’s have no one to talk to and wouldn’t fit in and she literally smelled of fear the entire night before her two day city visits.

    However, when she came home she talked about how easy it was to get around, and how everyone was so nice, and the classes were helpful, and it didn’t matter that she was shy because other writers spoke to her and she found peoples to sit with at meals and all that. And she said she was so glad she took the chance and went.

    Anyway, I know I’m only a dog, but I hope that helps.

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    • That’s so great, Toby! It helps a lot. I am so glad Donna’s experiences were so positive. I am sure I will have just as many great things to say when I get home too. 🙂

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  9. Well, the doggies haven’t stopped me from going overseas but they have certainly limited the length of my trips because I can’t bare to be away from them. The longest that I have been separated from my furkids is 7 weeks. Any longer than that and I think I would become unbalanced 😉 we left them at the kennel which of course was expensive, but I didn’t want to inflict their crazy on any of my friends.

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    • Because of Shiva’s separation anxiety we’ve never felt comfortable leaving her at a kennel. Thus, the only trips we’ve gone on are ones she can come along. Plane rides are out for a big dog like her. It will be strange to be away from her for almost four days. I don’t think I’ve spent a night without the puppy around since we brought her home! Luckily my PH will be taking good care of her.

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  10. I know you’re going to have a great time! I’m a horrible traveler, I’ve never been much of anywhere (one reason I’m not going to Barkworld!) But I’m sure you’ll figure out all the details. One thing– My kids were shy, then my daughter got involved in this youth leadership conference that changed everything. Maybe this will be the event that changes shyness for you. Just put yourself out there, smile, say hello to everyone – even though you feel shy, act as if you’re not. And then maybe the confidence will follow. Good luck! Have a blast!

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    • Back when I was single and dogless, traveling was one of my favourite hobbies. But now that my life has changed so have my activities and I just don’t even think about it any more. It’s been years since I’ve been on a plane. I am looking forward to getting out to a new place again, if only for a short time. It’s just too bad my family can’t come with me!

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  11. I think you will be so busy, that you won’t have time to think about being shy. And during those times when a tiny bit of shyness comes in, think to yourself “I trained Shiva the dog, this is my year of Zoomery.” 🙂

    When all else fails, remember the drunken canine master.

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    • Heh, too right. This is just another step in the process of overcoming my fears.

      If I have to get drunk to do it, so be it! 😉

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  12. Travel….that is so exciting. You should call your bank and let them know you are traveling (so they don’t stop activity on your card) but you can use it here in the US. I just got back from europe and I used mine there a lot. You can get cash out of any cash machine or you can pay directly for something. Either way, your bank does the currency conversion for you.

    We are going too. Yay! Maybe we will see you there.

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  13. Whenever i face a new situation in life, I project what the worst is that can happen. So far none of those scenarios have even come close, but I think this prepares me for any bad that can happen. We have confidence that you are going to be fine in any situation.

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  14. You will be great! The one thing that I wish I had done at BlogPaws was have a plan. I didn’t expect it to be so…big or that there would be so many people and as a result? I spent way to much time wandering and I didn’t get to meet half the bloggers or sponsors I wanted to.

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  15. You’ll do great at BarkWorld! I’m super excited to be going for the first time. I’ll be at the brand networking session too. I’m not too good in social situations either so speed dating with brands might be a bit challenging, but it will be a great opportunity. I was at BlogPaws earlier this year…my first Pet Blogger Conference and all of the bloggers were super friendly so I’m sure you’ll meet tons of great people.

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