Approximately six months from now, I'm hopping back on a plane to Nashville. This time, it's a lot less terrifying. Yes, I'm going to my second Hutchmoot!
Registration opened on March 1, this time with a week warning, and truthfully, I debated whether or not I'd go. Even before I got on the flight home last year, I wondered if it was meant to be again, if that sort of experience was better left as a once in a lifetime event, and if I needed to leave that precious spot open to someone else who missed out before. I already overflowed with the friendship, warmth, wisdom, and peace of the weekend. Do I dare go back for seconds?
But you know, it's funny how perspectives change. Over the past six months, the wonder of Facebook kept our little group alive in a virtual sense. Now with faces and voices attached to names, the conversations continued. I continue to find more and more surprising common ground. (For instance, I learned after the fact that the guy running the merch table grew up in Orlando with one of my co-workers. What?) In some odd way, I feel a little homesick.
So as the day came closer, and the discussions about "Hutchguilt" came up in our Facebook group (guilt over going back when space is so limited... clearly I'm not the only one who felt that way) something clicked inside. I had to at least try to register. Even with a hefty car repair bill during the week, I had to trust and try.
On registration night, we kept a "virtual camp out" thread going on the Facebook group as we waited for registration to open. The conversation exploded for a good 20 minutes, as we announced our getting in and cheered for friends that were joining. The whole thing sold out and beyond in seven minutes.
Seven minutes. Absurd.
As the confirmation email popped up on my own screen, I knew that things would be different this year. Last time, I had to shove down the feelings of awkward uncertainty as I climbed the steps of the church, had to ease my way into conversations with strangers and grow into the group day by day.
This year? I expect it will be more like a reunion. I can't wait to see my friends again, face to face, and sit around the table and talk about what the year since held. I'm hoping for more long walks for coffee, late-night conversation and board games, and laughter around the table. I hope that those experiencing it the first time will feel the same wonder and belonging I felt last year, and that those returning find it just where they left off.
Funny... last year it was a big scary leap to click register. This year, I had friends to virtually high five, and I know exactly what I'm getting into. It's a special place and time with special people, and I can't wait.
But I have to. Six months? Seems so far, and so close too.
Full Disclosure: Totally stole that awesome graphic from this Rabbit Room post. That kind of weirdness is the reason I want to go back.