How to Come Down After PAX Unplugged?!

So… that happened! PAX Unplugged 2022 has come and gone, it was a lot of fun and I’m back home now, weary, tired, worn out, all the synonyms, but also riding the wave of having a fantastic time.

However, I won’t deny that I’ve been feeling more than a little bit of Con Crash. Primarily, I identify with the “Inclusion” part of the article:

I’ve lost count of how many convention staff members and attendees have reported to us that inclusion is a huge part of the excitement of the show, as well as a part of the emotional crash later. For many people, society at large feels excluding because of a person’s hobbies being out-of-the-ordinary or even because of an emotional, cognitive, or physical challenge that a person lives with. Cons become that place where we get to be around “our people” and feel included in a way that we don’t always feel. For some, the shock of the con being over and having to go back to the day-to-day routine can take its toll and is part of their con crash. It certainly is for me.

Dr. Raffael Boccamazzo

PAX Unplugged is absolutely one of the places where I see “my people”. Where I get to hang out with people that I usually only interact with virtually. Where I can see and play with the Rivals of Waterdeep cast in person. Where, even though it’s still a bit strange for me, I’m “recognized” in the TTRPG space. Even though I feel like I’ve barely been back in it, just a few years (regardless of being an old-school gamer).

There was a moment early on, when people were still getting into town and I was getting a drink at the hotel bar, that the person next to me asked, a little sheepishly, “Are you a content creator? …are you urbanbohemian?” because they recognized my voice. I can’t come up with a more random validation for the things that I do than that. Apparently they often have my stream up as background noise because of the cozy vibes. I love that.

(I am absolutely downplaying the number of times I was made to feel like “someone” important in this space. Or how emotionally compromised I get when people tell me what the stuff I do means to them. There’s a whole lot of insecurities and impostor syndrome for me to chip away to be able to acknowledge it, but it is appreciated, believe me.)

To get the disclosure out of the way, I was fully masked at the convention, in common areas and around people except when eating and drinking. I did acquire what feels like a standard cold and sore throat, and I tweaked my back before travel as well as tweaking my leg while there, so those muscles are still getting back to normal. But if that’s all the con crud I have to show for PAX Unplugged, I consider it a win. COVID tests remain negative, so I’m hoping that all the science juice I’ve had vis-à-vis vaccinations has done its job.

Every panel went off without a hitch, it was just fantastic to get face time with other amazing performer and creators in the space, especially after only seeing each other on screens and video calls. I got to play Into the Mother Lands for the first time, and we did another Rivals of Waterdeep live episode. I got to meet cast members from my Cyberpunk: Independence podcast. I actually made time to play games, of the regular and RPG type. And I keep saying it, but just meeting people was great.

I didn’t get to do as much professional networking as I’d have liked to, but that’s because my schedule was pretty full, and there was a lot of walking to be done. I did have 3 interviews, one scheduled and two unexpected, so that’s pretty cool. But the majority of my, “Hi, I’m …” was done at the “Bar Con” at the hotel adjoining the convention center. Which, as a friend mentioned, is just the 30-60 seconds of facetime that seems to be required in a lot of these spaces. It’s one pivot to online I wish we’d really embrace, because it’s otherwise an expensive entry barrier to rub some elbows.

Speaking of, I have no plans to travel again anytime soon because the budget is a little tapped. Train tickets, 4 nights hotel stay, food, drink, and sundries. Plus any actual shopping I wanted to do? That’s a lot, and even being in a show that had the main stage, we don’t get any financial consideration for attending conventions. I don’t know what level of VIP or Special Guest you have to be for that, but I don’t think it’ll be me anytime soon.

If we did get to chat and exchange information, you’ll be hearing from me soon. Even if it’s just a “Nice to run into you, maybe we can work together in 2023!” email. If we didn’t get to chat, please reach out. I was overbooked and busy, which I have admitted is probably more natural a state for me than I’d like. I always make the promise that, “Next year, I don’t think I’ll do as much stuff so I can just enjoy the convention.”

That promise is a lie.

I hope everyone had a fantastic PAX Unplugged. I look forward to doing it again next year, but for now I’m looking forward to my shows winding down, taking a break for the rest of year and seeing what 2023 brings! 💖

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *