Traveling Solo- Cowtown Jamborama 2014

So it’s almost been a month and a half since Cowtown Jamborama so this blog post is a bit overdue.  I’m not going to talk too much about the specifics (it’s an awesome medium sized event and in the same city as the Henry Doorly Zoo so you should all check it out sometime!).  What I am going to talk about is what it was like traveling to my first event by myself.

Now something you likely already know about me is I am an introvert.  Not only that, I am a shy introvert. Introversion and shyness are not the same thing.  Introversion deals with how you get your energy (from having some downtime to yourself) and shyness deals with how comfortable you are in social situations, especially when you don’t know people.

I knew a couple of people at the event, but none that I was particularly close to.  At first I felt like this GIF (FYI, if I haven’t already said it, you should all go to Lindy Hop Problems and revel in the shared experiences of swing dancers).

LindyHopProblems #92: Being an Introvert at an Event… and the Four People that you Know are Busy

Then something amazing happened!  As I was standing around not talking to anyone I got asked to dance.  Then the next song I got asked to dance again!  And so it went on the entire first night.  I think I got asked to dance for every song I was standing around for except maybe a couple towards the end of the night when everyone was tired.  The fact that I was on my own probably made me more approachable to people looking for dances since no one had to interrupt a conversation to ask me to dance.  The next time I go to an event as part of a group I’ll have to remember to separate myself from the others every now and then in order to get asked to dance.  All of us- leads and follows- should make an effort to ask for dances and not just wait around for someone to come to us.  However, sometimes you just feel lazy and want to be asked.  As long as you’re not waiting around for a dance all the time, I think it’s okay to do so every once in a while.

The other thing I noticed about traveling alone is that it is exhausting! This was due to several factors:

  1. I was dancing a ton.  I was being asked to dance a lot more than usual, but I also didn’t have friends around who I would chat with which meant I wasn’t taking nearly as many breaks.
  2. As I mentioned, I’m introvert so interacting with so many new people automatically sapped some of my energy
  3. I came to the event already sleep deprived.  I don’t recommend doing this.  Ever.  But sometimes it happens.

I gained a huge confidence boost by going to Cowtown alone.  I proved to myself that I can go to an event without knowing hardly anyone, hang out around the edge of the dance floor without feeling too awkward and have a good time!  I think the size of the event really helped.  Cowtown is big enough that there aren’t clear divisions of cliques but small enough that it’s not overwhelming being around so many people.  Now I won’t be limited on which events I go to based on whether my friends are going or not!

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