I'm not really a big gamer - as I've gotten older, I've gotten different priorities, and sitting down to play a game takes a backseat most of the time. An exception for this has been Minecraft, a game where my favorite thing to do is to explore a randomly generated new land. I didn't play it as much as a lot of people, but I really liked it and the community that came from it - a community of people creating stuff both in and out of the game.
I don't remember all the forces at work that got me to sign up to go to Minecon in Vegas in 2011. I was going by myself, and signing up to help volunteer seemed like a good way to meet people, so I did that. I made a dress, handed out Jones soda, and met some fun people. I ended up in an Irish bar with a bunch of new friends, stayed out until 3am, and had a stranger (non conference person) try to kiss me in an elevator (this was more silly than scary).
The years after that were also really great. Minecon 2012 in Paris had some weird moments like trying to charge my phone from my laptop in some park in the dark and trying to figure out a very confusing train ticketing situation. I remember getting right to volunteering when landing, and being weirdly tired/excited and dancing to help greet people to get tickets. I got to stand behind Skrillex at a nightclub in Paris, and I had an amazing time.
2013 in Orlando, I was starting to realize I was going to Minecon to meet people I already knew. 2015 in London, I rented a house with a bunch of them, didn't volunteer, and spent most of the convention wandering around the city. This year, I sorta knew I wasn't going to go. Most of my core group of friends weren't going, and I realized it wasn't really for me anymore.
I remember when the first of my Minecon friends asked if he could come visit before heading to a convention in the Southern US. I was excited - I have a second bedroom and an air mattress! He was disappointed in Orlando's beer selection and I can get him the best beer here on my home turf! Then, a second friend asked to come visit before a convention of his own. Then, a third friend asked to come visit to see a concert here. All spread out so it wasn't overwhelming, but I have to admit, being excited to see them again was mixed with a bit of being scared. What if they expect me to have a fancier place or neighborhood? What if I've only fooled these mostly-internet-friends into thinking I'm interesting? What if I can't figure out what to do here? I was way, way more excited to see them, but this was getting me out of my comfort zone. When I hang out with friends, I prefer going out somewhere. I've never really prioritized having a home with a good space to I bring people to hang out. I'm not a solid intro- or extravert but I definitely like having quiet time. I won't screw this up, right?
Turns out it worked out really, really well. I learned more stuff about my city. I got to share some of my favorite events, my favorite people and my favorite beers with them. I still had my quiet time. We talked about work (we're all programmers, go figure), our families, philosophies on life.. My guests were all super low maitenance and, once it was all over, I realized my worries changed to me missing the fun of helping someone be on vacation.
On the last night my last guest was here, I brought him to a tiki bar here in Minneapolis. The bathroom of this place is painted with chalkboard paint, and there are pieces of chalk in the stall with you to write some of your Realest Wisdom. In my stall someone had written "you are enough." I like to think myself a bit better of a person to really internalize stuff written on bathroom walls, but when my last guest went home and I was reflecting on my summer, I thought about how yeah. My non fancy apartment, my neighborhood with garbage trucks driving through every day at 6am, my driving, my fly over city, my :waves hands vaguely: everything is enough. Enough to get people out here to see it and me. Enough for us all to have a great time.
So yeah, I've sorta outgrown Minecon, but the community has always been what made it great. The little section of the community I know is still making my life awesome. Sometime in the future, the "Kristina Comeuppance Tour" of Europe will come, and I can't wait to see what my friends choose to share with me.