Palm Desert: A Blogging Holiday

When you hear the expression ‘blogging holiday’ you might imagine a break from online reading and writing. For me, my most recent experience with this term was the exact opposite. After a summer on the Camino Trail, followed by a September devoted to 70th birthday celebrations (my husband’s not mine), Richard and I headed to Palm Desert for a six-week long home exchange.

blogging holidayThe first three weeks were sheer relaxation. Daily yoga, lounging beside this beautiful pool, catching up with my favourite blog reads and participating in much-missed writing link-ups.




blogging holidayblogging holidayThe next week brought a first-time meet-up with fellow bloggers, Kathy from Smart Living 365 and Liesbet from Roaming About. It is incredible to me how two people, whom I had never met in-person before, were instantly recognized as long-time friends by my eyes, ears, and heart. We spent two days together talking, laughing, eating and getting to the core of issues that were important to each of us. Oh, and as the photos show, there were many antics and messing about!

blogging holiday


Then it was off to Riverside WordCamp 2017 to experience my first Bloggers’ (WordPress) Conference. I know what you’re thinking.  “A WordPress Conference? What the heck??”  Actually, it was pretty cool. $40 got me two full days of sessions, plus continental breakfasts, lunches, snacks, drinks and ‘swag’! Many of the WordPress conferences are very technical and targeted to those using WordPress for the core part of their business (developers, designers, etc.). However, more and more WordCamps are including tracks for bloggers. My most significant takeaways included beginning to understand just how big WordPress is, and receiving some rationale and strategies for growing blogs/social media. I also met some interesting people, so for me, it was worthwhile.  Check here to find an upcoming WordCamp in your area.

blogging holidayFinally, it was the weekend that a few of us had begun planning many months ago. Unfortunately, Liesbet was unable to join us, but she was there in spirit. As the photos reveal, Kathy (Smart Living 365), Janis (Retirementally Challenged) Terri (Second Wind Leisure) and I continued the eating and the mucking around. We also grappled with those pesky blogging topics of social media, photography copyright, sticking to our niche, encouraging  comments, managing our time and so much more.

Kathy, Janis, Terri, and Liesbet have also written posts on this topic that  will publish  at the same time as this one. I highly encourage you to check out their blogs to read their different perspectives on our gathering.

We have already begun discussing meeting up again in October/November 2018 either in Indio/Palm Desert or San Diego.  Watch this space for more on that. I eagerly await my next blogging holiday!

54 Replies to “Palm Desert: A Blogging Holiday”

    1. Thanks, Kate – I’ve heard that WordCamps can vary significantly — especially in terms of what they offer to bloggers who are not interested in the technical side of blogging. The good news is that there are often several different WordCamps to choose from and they usually offer detailed agendas in advance. Based on the conference that I attended, I would highly recommend them!

      1. Thanks, Lynn – Wordcamps are definitely worthy of being investigated further. Janis attended one a couple of years ago that was completely technical and not geared to bloggers at all. Terri recently attended (and presented at) one in her area that had over 200 attendees and a full track for bloggers. My understanding is that more and more is being added for bloggers — but it is worth double checking first!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I greatly appreciate it. Fingers crossed that you are able to attend the WordCamp in Greenville and that it is everything that you need it to be!

    1. Thanks, Janis – It truly was an amazing holiday. We arrived back in Canada last night. I am already looking forward to getting together again next year!

  1. Hi Donna! Thank you again for putting us all together for two great get-togethers! I feel incredibly fortunate that you visit my town for a month each year (looking forward to next year already) and that by nature you have the ability to draw people together. While I had met Janis and Terri before, Liesbet is also a wonderful and talented writer/blogger. And getting to spend time with you are is certainly one of the rewards to what we do. ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living recently posted…Overcoming Loneliness One Friend At A TimeMy Profile

    1. Hi, Kathy – Thank you for your kind words. I loved every minute of our get-together and learned so much!! Thank you for all that you shared — I greatly appreciated it!

  2. That Blogger conference was worth the money, if not for just the food and drinks. 🙂 Thanks again for the notes on that.

    Meeting you and Richard, and Kathy and Thom in the desert was a treat. I truly enjoyed connecting with you and Kathy and hope we will meet again. Luckily, I had already met Janis and Terri (and will see them again). Otherwise, missing the big event would have made me even sadder… Cheers to another gathering next year! I hope we will be able to make it.
    Liesbet recently posted…The Best Thing about Blogging – New FriendshipsMy Profile

    1. Thanks so much, Liesbet. Richard and I greatly enjoyed spending time with you and Mark as well. Fingers crossed that you will be able to meet us again next year!

    1. Hi, Ally – I’m not sure when WordCamps started but they are definitely going strong now. Janis, Kathy, Terri (and hopefully Liesbet) and I have already agreed to meet up again next October/November. We would love to have you join us!

    1. Thanks, Jill -Both our Bloggers’ Meet Up and the Word Camp were very fun. I also learned a great deal and made/solidified friendships. A winning combination!

    1. Thanks, Lynn – There definitely was non-stop discussing (and non-stop laughter) last weekend. Our frequent chorus was “That would make a great blog post”! Stay tuned to each of our sites for more on this.

  3. You clearly had a great time – the photos make that super obvious. The WordPress conference also sounds terrific; that would have been lots of fun.
    I’m looking forward to posts discussing your thoughts on the various blogging questions.
    Thanks, Donna.

    1. Thanks, Karen – I believe that Janis is going to tackle some of these questions in upcoming posts. So definitely continue to check there…but please continue to check her as well! 🙂

  4. Donna, you are the “hostess with the mostest” and it truly felt like a festive holiday as we shared our two days together! I learned good take-aways, too and totally appreciate your insights and comments! I hope you are traveling safely and wish you all the best as you near home (and cheers if you are already there!). I see our meet-up has inspired other bloggers as well as ourselves 🙂

  5. Hi, Terri – It was my pleasure to host. Thank you for driving all of the way done. I greatly appreciate you doing that. Richard and I arrived back in Canada late last night. It is C-O-L-D!!

  6. From the wonderful place that is Donna’s SPAM folder (seriously, though, Donna, you could do with a new carpet and air freshener in there): Looks like a great time had by all. And you win the prize for the best photos.

    There appears to be a regular WordPress meeting in nearby Jacksonville, but I just haven’t gone to it yet. You are inspiring me to do so. Well done!

    1. Congratulations, Marty – You haven’t hit the Spam Folder for the last two comments. You must be on your best behaviour! 🙂 I definitely recommend considering the Jacksonville WordCamp. And I am positive that you and Gorgeous need a Palm Desert vacation next Fall. We would love to have you join us!

  7. Looks like a great holiday! Thanks, Donna, for sharing the links. I’ll take a look after returning home. I’m saying “bye for now, beautiful Prague!” later today.

    1. Hi, Natalie – Thank you for reading and commenting from beautiful Prague. I hope that you and your sister had a fabulous European holiday!

  8. As I told Terri – I am super envious!

    I attended a local WordCamp last weekend. And unfortunately my experience was more like you said Janis’s was a few years ago… it was heavy technical and really targeting small business website owners and website developers. A “mere hobby blogger” was looked down upon! I did learn a few things to supplement my blog (like the need to update the theme and how to do a few other things – watch for some changes), and met some very interesting people, but it was not very inspirational for a blogger. That said, I might attend next year – the local one is so close to me (5 miles!), it’s worth it to just get some insight into some other things. Last weekend, I went to a session on coding – just for the experience! And I gave feedback this year about the lack of blogger targeting… so maybe next year there will be more for bloggers.
    Pat recently posted…Neuroscience – the study of brain circuitry to understand personalityMy Profile

  9. Hi, Pat – Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m sorry that your WordCamp experience was not the best. I’m glad that you gave feedback about this. Fingers crossed that your local WordCamp will include a Blogger’s Track next year. You are also very welcome to join us in Southern California next October/November. We would love to have you there!

    1. Thanks, Leanne – The others didn’t join me at the WordCamp — but since there are so few in my area I thought I’d grab the chance to attend while I could. You should join us in California next October. A mere 15+ hour flight! We’d love to meet you!

    1. Hi, Tom -Thanks so much for stopping by. We were indeed organized. Between the five of us, I think we amassed 100+ emails leading up to this event….but it was totally worth it!

  10. Great to read your experience of meeting other bloggers, Donna. I love how you say that even though these bloggers had never met before, it was just like meeting up with close friends. There’s never a dull moment when bloggers meet up and, of course, always plenty to talk about.
    So pleased to hear you enjoyed WordCamp. I hope you get to go again and also get the chance to meet up with many more bloggers.
    Hugh Roberts recently posted…How I Won Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #1My Profile

    1. Thanks, Hugh – I was very lucky with Riverside WordCamp. I met many other bloggers there and felt that there was much that I could gain from the sessions. I know other bloggers who have been disappointed with their local WordCamps, feeling that they were far too technical and not aimed at “non-technical bloggers.’ Hopefully, more and more WordCamps will add tracks/multiple sessions for basic bloggers. Fingers crossed!

  11. Wow, Donna, meeting up with each other must have been so much fun. I think it is cool to see how blogging brings people together, first in the online world, and then in the offline world too. Looks like you all had some good things to eat, too.


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