A Visit to Santa Fe with Type-A Parent

type-a parent logoParenting conferences are definitely unusual and when they’re not oriented around dads (like Dad 2.0) they end up being predominantly women. Mostly, but not all, moms. Still, when my friend Kelby Carr (@KelbyCarr) announced that she was going to split off her successful Type-A Parent conference into east and west, and that the first Type-A West conference was going to be in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I knew I had to go. I love Santa Fe and, as a bonus, it’s an easy 5 1/2 hour drive from Denver so the logistics are really easy.

Today is my first day back after the conference and I wanted to share some thoughts about the event. First off, you can go read about Type-A West (aka “tapwest” or “#typeacon”). The conference itself was an occasionally frustrating mix of basic blogging tips that felt years out of date and up-to-the-minute talks that were super helpful (shoutout to Jamie and Danielle for offering great tips on how to negotiate for your full worth as a blogger and to Sarah for her insights on Facebook advertising).

Here’s Melanie Nelson explaining how to be smarter in your editing effort to produce better content:

melanie nelson speaking, type-a parenting conference west santa fe
I had many friends on stage too, including Ryan and Emily sharing their off-the-cuff tips on Snapchat and Jason Falls, who started his closing “keep your voice” talk by passing out shots of bacon-infused bourbon. Solid strategy, for sure!

santa fe adobe skyline

And I made new friends, Lots of new friends. In fact, Type-A West was absolutely jammed full of interesting people with good ideas who were very open to sharing, whether it was business and blogging ideas or just funny stories over one of our many extravagant (and superb) dinners.

Truth be told, it’s always the people that make a conference worth attending and it’s the time you have to talk and connect with speakers and fellow attendees that make a conference a potential game changer. Which is why the introvert’s tactic of hiding in their room when there aren’t sessions and skipping the evening group dinners (with their inevitable bill-splitting hassles) and post-dinner drinks or cocktails is a huge mistake.

santa fe sunset

We can compare bios and read slides without leaving our homes. It’s the sharing of jokes, the mutual amusement of a befuddled waiter or awkwardly dressed person on the street, the excitement of trying to spot a celebrity (Christian Bale and Jeff Daniels were both in Santa Fe, though I never saw either), or even the “how’s your lunch?” that mark the beginning of a friendship.

And business really is about the personal at the end of the day. So when you contemplate going to a conference, meetup or other event, make sure that you keep in mind that it’s all about the personal, all about the people. And the talks? Well, yeah, they’re good to attend and take notes, but I’ll still err on skipping a talk if I’m in a serious conversation with someone.

el dorado hotel, santa fe nm

Thanks mucho to Kelby for another great conference and to everyone who attended and put up with my usual punny sense of humor as we made our way through four days of Santa Fe summer heat and the 7100-foot altitude!

And Santa Fe. Yeah, so worth visiting, as I hope my photos illustrate.

Here are two more of my favorites:

Holy Spirit Espresso. Best hole-in-the-wall coffee in town!
That one’s Holy Spirit Espresso, easily the best hole-in-the-wall coffee in town with a barista/owner who is absolutely full of great stories, more than you can imagine if your idea of “trendy coffee spot” has a mermaid logo on the window…

Just another Santa Fe doorway
Santa Fe is full of fascinating history and is ridiculously picturesque. The above is one of many beautiful murals and doorways that you can find in alleys and on forgotten side roads as easily as you can in the main downtown area.

And a tiny snippet about the city from the visitor bureau:

“For 400+ years, Santa Fe has improved with age. The nation’s oldest capital city experienced waves of migrations along the three trails that led here—and more recently via the rails, Route 66 and the interstate. Artists, chefs, wellness experts, and other creative dreamers all bring their culture, talents and experience with them and when they meet Santa Fe’s unique blend of Anglo, Spanish and Native Cultures against a backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo mountains’ majesty and the spectacular sunsets over the Jemez range—nothing short of magic transpires.”

Pro tip: I’ve also written about Santa Fe before, from trips with the family! Start with my Road Trip to Santa Fe article!

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