There are three main elements to every girl’s trip movie: laughs of course, unexpected adventure, and some amazing personal growth. While our girl’s trip to Salt Lake City for Young Livings International Grand Convention had decidedly less crop tops and lip gloss than Brittany Spears’ Crossroads and thankfully didn’t have a tragic ending like Thelma and Louise (honestly, I’m not sure which would have been worse), it did have all the elements ripe for an amazing and enlightening trip.
Setting out from Chicagoland this year I was the only convention newbie in our tribe with Jennifer and Kimberly already being pros. Which honestly was great, I imagine completely navigating your first Young Living Convention would be insanely overwhelming. With that being said, the Young Living community is incredibly warm and supportive, always ready to help each other out. I mean the place smells like the biggest diffuser ever, so the vibe was pretty chill. With the crowds topping out around 30,000 + people, there is bound to be lines and waiting, but even at its worst there was Young Living employees (who were rock starts and always so professional) offering oil sampling in lines and selling Ningxia treats.
Every morning we set out for the general sessions of the day in which we watched and listened to the ranking of fellow distributors, a few opening musical numbers, new product reveals (you can check those out here), company expansion news, motivational speakers, and the direction and success of the Gary Young Foundation in that order more or less. In addition, some of you might be aware that just a few months prior, the founder of Young Living, Gary Young, had passed away. Yeah, we balled. I’m talking Sarah McLachlan asking you to save the puppies balled. It was a year of growth for the three of us, which quite often where there is growth there is growing pains. It was a year of trials, tests, and weighing of characters. Perhaps it is because of this, so much of what was said about the Foundation and the very real pain that Gary’s family and dearest friends expressed so deeply touched us. You could see how much it took for his son’s and his wife to hold up as they talked, sang, and celebrated his achievements and the company. And you could see when the words or visuals just became too heavy for them to bear. It was hard, but it was also beautiful and touching. The pain of losing someone you love is a universal pain many of us have experienced and theirs was a pain so familiar to us after our Mom’s passing that it was impossible not to empathize and cry with them and for our own selves. Perhaps next year the swag bag could include tissues and eyeliner please?
After our morning crying sessions, I mean general sessions, we headed out to check out all the classes Young Living had to offer. For a nerd like me I love that so much of the spirit of convention is about education and growth. Classes offered information on anything from new products to how to improve your game in network marketing. Between classes you could take in the all the over the top décor, check out the gear store (yes, I bought another bag, and no I did not need one), get a shot or five at the Ningxia bar, try the new products, or catch up with what the Foundation is doing. The three of us so loved that last bit. Kimberly had the opportunity to spend some time at the Young Living Academy in Ecuador and it was a game changer for her, something that Jenny and I are so ready to experience in our own ways. And that’s another cool aspect to the Foundation, there are several different ways and causes to give back to. Like, Ecuador earth quake relief, rebuilding Nepal, orphanages in Croatia, Sole Hope, Healing Uganda, Hope for Justice, and more. I beg you, check the Foundation out. It has given new meaning to every goal we have here at Serendipitous Living and direction that has compassion and a larger purpose than we could have ever imagined. At convention alone, Hope for Justice (a global non-profit organization dedicated to end to end human trafficking and modern-day slavery) received $1 million dollars! Getting the opportunity to hear Ben Cooley, their Chief Executive Officer, speak was just incredible, inspiring, and humbling really. Certainly, something I will never forget.
With all of that rolling around in our heads, we also got to hear Eric Worre and Mel Robbins speak. And speak they did. They offered up a lot of wisdom and common sense that just honestly, needed to be heard. They are great resources for anyone, but especially those with the entrepreneurial spirit who need an extra kick in the pants to get moving or moving faster. Even that was pretty emotional, but I was already a crying train-wreck at this point, so it didn’t take much. Seriously Young Living, tissues next year, maybe infused with Release or something.
I am not an outdoorsy kinda girl when it is over 75 degrees, no thanks. So it takes something pretty spectacular to draw me into the insane Utah sun in the summer. The Young Living Mona Lavender Farm did just that. “The rugged landscape of central Utah contrasts with our serene, fragrant lavender fields to create a place of pure peace and relaxation. Featuring over 1,400 acres of fragrant herbs, a cool reservoir, pristine natural beauty and fresh mountain air”. OH MY GOSH, right? It is everything like that and more. For a girl from the Midwest plains (I legit live next to a prairie), I couldn’t help but stare at those mountains like an idiot everywhere I went on the farm. Lavender ice cream, juniper harvesting, mountains, a yummy picnic with strawberry shortcake… only things missing were a hammock, a book, and a nap. Bonus, we got to spend this time with our awesome and sweet crossline friend Mary Clendenin. Win!
Atticus Coffee & Teahouse- Park City, UT
Like I said, I am not outdoorsy in the heat, but I am also a pretty big introvert. You can imagine how exhausting spending days with several thousand people is for not only me but my girls too. Even my social butterfly sister needed some downtime. So, we made the time to have some relaxing moments to recharge. Sometimes that meant a quiet meal out of the way of convention goers. One gem of an eatery that stands out was a place called Pago. It was a little hipster kind of joint that we took a shot at after browsing Google and finding good reviews on their burger. I DREAM ABOUT THIS BURGER STILL. Yeah it was that good, a definite revisit next year. Be warned, your burger game will never be the same. We also took to some pretty interesting places like the Salt Lake City Library Café and Park City. Since last convention my sister (knowing what one of my favorite books/movies is) had made it her mission to get me to Atticus Coffee, Books, & Teahouse in Park City Utah. Sensing a theme here? Yup we love all things books and caffeine (Gregory Peck doesn’t hurt either). The atmosphere there was perfect, I mean their slogan is “make tea not war”. The town itself has a cool, trendy, but laid back vibe. We sat for a long while, drinking teas, coffees, talking, sometimes not. That’s when you know you’ve got a good tribe, you don’t have to fill all those quiet spaces with talk.
All in all, it was an experience like no other. We had our laughs. Little things that are only funny between girlfriends that know each other well. We had our adventures kicking around the mountains of Utah and we certainly had and continue to have our moments of personal growth. Before convention we had hit something of a stall. Losing a little of our momentum that kept us from advancing up to that next rung of achievement. Listening to crossline friends, speakers, stories of the Foundation, and each other gave us something of a boost to continue on. If you told me a year ago that I would need people outside my tiny circle, I would have laughed and commenced reading my book. That cheesy saying that “no man is an island” I have found to actually be kind of true. If you want to grow, you need others. Others to listen to, learn from, lean on when you need it, be inspired by, to carry on for. That’s what I learned at convention and that’s what I love about Young Living. Ha, who knew I would still be writing about what I did on my summer vacation in my thirties?