Thelma & Louise, Prairie Mama’s #140conf Small Town style

A week from today I will be on a crazy road trip across the prairie with my friend Val of @wagfarms. Val assured me it will be our own version of Thelma and Louise, only with our prairie mamas style.

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On a whim a few months ago, as I sat in the Salt Lake City airport, traveling home from a business trip, I saw an update on Google+ (I know I sound like a tech nerd right now but hang with me…) from Becky McCray. I follow Becky in social media. I love that she lives in very rural Oklahoma, embraces it, speaks on it and even has a business on it, Small Biz Survival. Plus she is a small business owner and a rancher. Becky was reminding people that final applications for the #140conf Small Town were due the next day. I am familiar with the #140conf events, which were started by Jeff Pulver, as conference to share how people engage through Twitter. The #140conf Small Town conference intrigued me because it is a way to connect with others passionate about rural America and who utilize technology like I am.

I clicked on the link and never looked back.
While I filled out my application, I connected with Val, via Twitter, and asked if she would also apply. She did, that’s one thing true friends are good for…to fill out conference speaking applications alongside of you.

In mid-August we both received word via email, both of our applications were accepted. Celebrations via phone calls and text messaging ensued. My non-social media engaged husband was driving as I talked to Val and even he shared a bit of excitement over it. Then Val and I dealt with the  “oh my” of “how are we going to get there, leave our families and commitments?”

Thanks to the support of our husbands, families and my work agreeing to me taking a few days away to participate on behalf of my community and family, the plans have come together. Val and I are road tripping together from rural North Dakota to Hutchinson, Kansas where we’ll connect with other like-minded rural people passionately telling their stories through technology. After being accepted to the conference, I found out that friend Janice Person is also attending and speaking. Anyone can attend to listen in and if you are interested in reduced cost tickets, let me know.

I can’t wait to sit in the historic Fox Theater and learn. I can’t wait to stop to see farmer friends along the way in Nebraska. I can’t wait for hours and hours of road time with Val, a mother of four and one of my true prairie mama girlfriends, to talk with, laugh with and create own own version of a Thelma and Louise road trip.

But what am I going to say at the #140conf Small Town? I love speaking. I love sharing. But I’m nervous. It’s personal and I have to stand up to speak with out any aids, no slides or notes. Just me.

Janice Person and me. JP and Val will be my moral support.

I brain dumped and wrote out my application in minutes when I applied. I’ll draw on those thoughts and speak from my heart just like I did when I filled out the application and hopefully someone will connect with our story.

My application:

 I will share specific reasons why jumping off the corporate wheel and investing in small town America for your job, family and lifestyle can be the most positive lifetime experience. Four years ago, I made the suggestion to my husband that we not relocate to New Jersey for his very successful corporate career. Instead my idea was for us to stay in our home state of North Dakota, uproot our family and comfortable life in Fargo and move 180 miles to the most elderly county per capita in the country, for my husband to take over his parent’s family business in rural North Dakota. We dove in and never looked back. Our family has thrived and grown. Our small business has grown. I kept my career with @adfarmtweets, working remotely, managing business across North America from our rural home utilizing technology. I started using social media to tell the story of our community, promoting all our small town has to offer. My husband and I have immersed ourselves into volunteering in the community from the hospital board, school board, church, job development and more. By taking a risk, our family has a slice of Americana in small town North Dakota that we would have never known staying on the corporate wheel. We use technology to advance our business, conduct business, enhance the services we cannot get locally, stay connected, build relationships and tell our story. By sharing, summarizing our story into key reasons to invest in small town America, I want to inspire others to consider doing the same.
Get ready Hutchinson, Kansas! Two prairie mamas are taking a road trip and we have something to share.

Comments

  1. I’m so glad you jumped in, on a whim, and brought friends. And I’m looking forward to meeting you in Hutch next week!

  2. you’re going to do great! your enthusiasm alone will make for a great presentation!

  3. eeee…i’m really excited for you!

  4. If you are Thelma & Louise, I’m not sure I want to hitch a ride so close to a big canyon but I’m sure looking forward to the event! And I’ve talked to quite a few folks who are trying to be there with us!

  5. Whoohoo for you and just make sure YOU DON’T KILL nobody! haha

    I hope you have a fantastic time with your Val and learning all sorts of things
    Leontien

  6. Great post, Katie! As Leontien said, don’t kill anyone. But do share your most inspiring story!

  7. Very cool! You’re well on your way to realizing the dream we talked about at a Fargo restaurant last spring! I look forward to hearing how it went!

  8. Oh how fun! I know you’ll have a blast. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

  9. Excellent! I know it will go well and cannot wait for you to post about it!!!

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