Maria Davies is back to talk about a silver lining she found during the COVID-19 pandemic… virtual conferences. Enjoy!
A Few Positives of Life During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Is 2020 over yet? Unfortunately, no, we still have 3+ months to go. So, we slog on, each in our own way to get through another day, week, month. Inevitably boredom sets in, we feel restless, our brains are turning to mush. There’s only so many times you can get your car washed, take your dog for a walk, buy groceries, and now with the weather soon turning cold, some of us won’t be able to dine out while maintaining a physical distance.
But hey, we are women with moxie and we will find a way to survive and thrive…
Finding the Positives
I want to share with you what I recently found that just blew my mind. It has to do with a virtual conference.
If you are like me and have attended and enjoyed conferences both professional and not, you know how hard it is not to be able to go and travel to one. We miss the stimulation, the social contact, the educational component, the new country we have never visited.
About three weeks ago, while surfing Facebook (boredom?) I came across an ad for a virtual conference called “Island Innovation”. Well, since I live on an island (read about my expat journey here) this sounded interesting and it looked legitimate. So, I googled their website to make sure. The next day I received an email from them inviting me to participate. No idea how they got my contact info but glad they did. I signed up for the weeklong conference.
Different Types of Presentations
The organizers went to great trouble to set up the conference taking into consideration the many time zones for the potential participants, the language to use, as well as relevant content.
Registration was easy, 35 topics to choose from, language either English or Spanish, sessions all throughout the day made participation quite easy. The list of presenters and panelists truly impressive.
I ended up choosing three presentations, one on sustainability, presented in a video format by a young man who now lives in Los Angeles but hails from the island of Dominica (do-mi-NI-ca). One on the Citizenship by investment and one good governance. The young man wanted to see if he could survive in the uninhabited interior of the island with just minimal tools. He did very well, found plenty of food to eat until his adequate self-built shelter was blown away one morning in what he thought was just a bad storm. Turns out, he was in the middle of hurricane Maria, which devasted the island. He was able to make it back to civilization and saved the video. Amazing.
Learning, Learning, and More Learning!
The next session was on the subject of Citizenship by Investment, a program most West Indian islands offer, often surrounded by controversy, sometimes outright scams, often involving huge luxury resort development which starts by destroying pristine habitat, only to be abandoned. This topic is near and dear to my heart as there are currently 3 such proposed projects in Grenada and in spite of government assurances, the public has not had the opportunity to review the project nor comment on it, nor assure that there won’t be habitat destruction.
As the format allowed for interaction with the speakers, I asked some questions and received good responses.
For a change of pace, I “attended” the virtual expo which featured a diagram of what a real-life expo looks like. I had the option to click on the logo of any exhibitor to review their services.
A Range of Expert and Artist Conferences
The closing session was truly unique instead of the usual closing speeches droning on, many artists were invited to present. They ranged from singers, poets, painters to dancers. Each was allowed a short time but the variety of the art forms as well as the places where the artists hailed from was amazing.
I duly completed the evaluation form and found out that all the sessions had been recorded and now I could watch some I had to miss for various reasons.
When I read the statistics of the conference, I was simply blown away. Ten thousand participants from 500 different islands; 35 sessions; 70 speakers.
Enjoy Life From the Comfort of Your Own Home
Much to my surprise and delight, a few days after the closing, I received a note from a staff member of the organizers asking for my input on several issues relevant to the theme of the conference. What a terrific experience the whole thing was. I am still flying high, looking forward to next year, as because of the success of this one, the event will now be an annual one.
What are you doing to make your life more rich and joyful during this time? Let us know in the comments below!
Maria and her husband Richard Nuscher have lived in retirement on the island of Grenada in the West Indies for the past 6 years. Before retiring, Maria was a successful Realtor. Now Maria spends her time volunteering for the Willie Redhead Foundation, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the architecture and culture of her beloved island. In addition, she maintains her website, publishes a newsletter, guest writes for several websites and enjoys gardening, growing many of the things they eat. She is also an unofficial leader of what she calls her “Explorers’ Group,” made up of like-minded friends who enjoy exploring the island and organizing fun outings. She is also an avid member of the Honey Good Network!
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