Designer Vaca: A Year Later

It’s that time again and I can’t believe it’s already been a year for me. Some talented and awesome women are packing up, getting ready, and heading down to Palm Springs, CA for a little retreat called Designer Vaca.

At Designer Vaca last year, I was able to strengthen existing online relationships, meet some bloggie crushes, as well as discover new creative gals and their talents. It was a great opportunity to listen, learn, and nurture my own dreams & goals.

observant nomad | designervaca a year later

I’m so happy that I was lucky enough to go last year, and sad that I won’t make it this time. But I thought it would be (hopefully) useful to write about my advice for those who are going this year. So here it is:

Don’t worry about ‘fitting in’
When I first arrived at the retreat (alone), I didn’t really know anyone that well. I either followed their blogs or had glanced at their sites once. But honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d meet someone who got me. Well, I was wrong. I met all different kinds of personalities and made some true friends there. From geeky creatives, to quirky fun types, budding entrepreneurial mammas, and even sophisticated city gals. There’s a little bit of everyone there – which made the experience that much more enriching. So don’t worry about ‘fitting in’, you’ll find your tribe!

Everyone has a story
But what was truly amazing about the variety of women there, was the breadth of experience that came with it. It didn’t matter how similar or different someone’s story was from mine, I was thoroughly inspired or learned something from each and every one. You’d be surprised, the most shy and reserved girl there can sometimes be your creative soulmate, or inspire you to shake things up in your life. So reach out and…

Try to mingle
Don’t be afraid to reach out! I’m a bit of an introvert in large groups and do better with smaller ones, so retreats can sometimes leave me feeling uneasy or awkward. But I was always rewarded when I forced myself outside my comfort zone or relieved when someone else would reach out to me to get to know me better. I’m so glad I spent my time with different ladies. It allowed me to get to know a lot of people and be inspired in ways I wouldn’t have expected.

Come with a purpose
Ask yourself ‘What do I want to receive from this experience?‘ For me I wanted to learn more about full-time freelancing. How these women did it? What it took? Was it worth it? And ultimately if it would be something I could be interested in. And going into that experience with a mindset really helped me soak up the most pertinent information I needed. It also helped fuel my questions and thoughts on the panels and in discussions with other creative gals, so no awkward silences.

Remember, everyone’s just a regular gal
Confession time: When I went to Designer Vaca I was a little star struck the first night. I mean some of these women were bloggers I’d followed online before I even started thinking about a blog. So I was unsure at how to approach some people at first. But after I got settled in, I just reminded myself “Hey, they’re all just regular gals like me.” That allowed me to find the courage to have brunch with Kathleen, hang out with Sarah at the pool, and ask Megan questions about how she built her ideal life (and she provided this great response above) – and guess what, we all hit it off, like real people.

I hope this helps you settle in and feel ready for this awesome weekend! Oh, I almost forgot the best piece of advice I had…
Get a tasty slushy cocktail. Delish.

If you’re interested in my experience, you can read about my post from last year.

What do you think?

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I’ve heard and read about Designer Vaca before and it’s so refreshing reading your post about your experience there. I know a few ladies who are going this year and have voiced out their concerns on fitting in and mingling. Your make so many great points on this post and I hope they all get to read it before they go. I can only imagine the lessons they will all learn. :)


I’m so happy you found it useful! I hope your friends had a chance to read it before / during their trip. I can’t wait to see everyone’s posts about what they took away from it this year.