the second to last speaker on the second day was a no-show. So, the conference had freelance designer Dann Petty fill in. Dann spoke about many of the same issues I face as a freelancer: stress of dealing with multiple clients, insecurities about where your next job will come from, and balancing family life amongst the work. Then, he mentioned a design conference and retreat that he started putting together with the goal to connect fellow creatives in an out of the office, action packed environment.
Coming from a background in action sports, the idea of mixing creative thinking with outdoor activities was music to my ears. Dann talked about the past trips: surfing on the North Shore, snowboarding in Jackson Hole, and mountain biking in Moab. All of which sounded like dreams to me. I knew I had to go.
As soon as I saw Dann’s YouTube video where he mentioned the upcoming conference, I immediately requested an invite.
From the get go, I was a little nervous but super excited. The conference was in Zion, Utah. I had no clue how I was going to get there, who else was going, or even where I would be sleeping. I decided to let my nerves go and see where the journey would take me. Sure enough, there was a Slack channel set up for all the guests and a Google dock for carpool lists from Las Vegas and St. George.
After landing in Las Vegas, I met with another girl attending. We split an Uber to meet our carpool driver and were soon joined by our fourth car mate before taking off. The car discussions were already off to a great start, you would never know we were four total strangers.
The conference itself did not disappoint! Each day we selected the activities we wanted to do. That is where the true magic happened. I spent the first day hiking through the narrows, a canyon carved out by a river. Twenty of us did the hike, but we ended up naturally breaking up in smaller groups. As we hiked, the conversation flowed like the water. You were able to connect with one and another in a more natural environment. Nothing felt forced or awkward.
I attempted rock climbing for the first time while people I just met at breakfast cheered me on as if we were best friends. At dinner each night, you could see everyone searching for the table where they knew no one. People genuinely wanted to get to know everyone there. After dinner, we had a speaker present in a casual manner that would then turn into an open Q&A where nothing was off limits. The experience was so awesome.
Looking back and reflecting on my time, I am still in awe over the friendships made in just four days. The support in both the physical activities and talks of career challenges was incredible. This was something truly EPIC. We started as a group of strangers and ended as an amazing support system for one another.
I hope I get the chance to attend another EPICURRANCE!
Here is the link to the Epic Site