7 Days Until Departure.

These are the words that I could hardly imagine when Chris Guillebeau first announced the World Domination Summit last September. #WDS has been sold out since January, which is quite a remarkable achievement for someone who has never produced a live event before.

So, what is this World Domination Summit all about anyway?

Lately, I’ve been asked that question many times, so I thought I would explain how I perceive it here in the hopes that the ideals behind the summit will benefit others – even if they do not attend.

7 Days Until Departure - World Domination SummitMy take on it is this: WDS is a collection of people from all over the world that are living life on their own terms and following non-traditional career paths. Many of them are ‘location independent’ or are striving to move in that direction. Many of them are hard core travelers and round-the-world tickets are a common topic in this crowd. These are people that challenge the status quo and look for meaning in life beyond a paycheck and a 401K. At least, that’s my perception of them.

It’s hard to describe the energy that is building around this experience. For months, people have been getting to know each other through the WDS website (which has individual profiles on all attendees – awesome!), through Facebook groups, the #WDS hashtag on Twitter, and various unofficial meetups as well as pre and post WDS activity planning.

Speaking of activity, for me the schedule looks like this:

Thursday morning – fly from Atlanta to Portland.

Thursday day – explore Portland and get to know the Downtown area

Thursday evening – dinner meetup with other attendees at the ACE hotel

Friday – skydiving!!!

Friday evening – WDS kickoff party

Saturday – WDS

Saturday evening – bike tour of Portland

Sunday – WDS

Sunday evening – WDS closing party

Monday – mountain climbing

Monday night – fly back to Atlanta

When I look at this list, I see an absolutely incredible list of activities, and any one of these on its own would be really fun. But all of them packed into 5 days – whoa!

For me, this is a bit out of the ordinary for a couple of reasons:

1. I don’t usually attend conferences. It’s just never been my thing.

2. I’m not a big planner when it comes to having new experiences. I usually prefer to go with the flow and figure things out on the fly.

But today, I wanted to explain why I’m going to WDS and what I am looking to get out of it.

Chris Guiillebeau has been on of my biggest inspirations over the last couple of years, and when he announced WDS, I knew immediately that I wanted to go. It just sounded like something that I should attend. One of the things that I love about how this event has been structured is that it’s more about the people that are coming than it is about Chris or any of the presenters. To be sure, he has arranged a rock star cast of authors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and all around amazing people to participate. But it’s really about the people who are coming and the connections they form with each other.

World Domination Summit - Atlanta AttendeesThe connecting piece became apparent to me when I first signed up and created my profile. I immediately started looking at the globe on the home page and clicked around on some of the pages to get to know who was coming from where. Many of us have already ‘met’ online, and I even hosted a meetup at my loft last Friday for the people that are coming from Atlanta (photo on the right). I’ve also signed up for a couple of the unofficial WDS activities – skydiving and mountain climbing. Yay! Again, this is a way for attendees to connect outside of the main conference, and I’m excited about bonding with fellow risk takers and adventure lovers during these experiences.

I’m going to WDS to be around other people that look at life through a different set of lenses.

I want to be in the presence of people that are pushing themselves to truly live life fully every day and not just go through the motions. I’m going to connect with the people that are traveling from 6 continents to be a part of this experience to learn about what brought them thousands of miles from home to be there for. Oh, and hearing Chris speak again will be cool too.

So, what does this all mean, and how does it apply to you?

I thought this was a good example of stepping outside of a normal routine and breaking typical patterns. It’s also an example of how one person can bring people together from all around the world to share in a remarkable experience together. Chris is an awesome guy, but he’s still just a guy. He’s not superman or some celebrity rock god. He’s a guy that lives life his own way, travels the world, and shares stories about it for others to benefit from. Is this not an inspiration for us all?

What do you think about all of this? Are there elements of this story that apply to your life, or your own personal journey? Any departures you have in the works? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.