I have been programming in Perl since late 2002. Since then, I have interacted with many people online and learned a lot from their willingness to share their hard-earned wisdom.
But, I never went to a Perl conference. In fact, I never went to a programming related conference at all. There is no one reason for my lack for participation: It just never happened.
Then, earlier this year, brian d foy, whom I admire both as a writer and a programmer, suggested that it was time for me to attend one. I finally mustered the courage, submitted a talk proposal and started dreaming.
I arrived in Columbus in the evening on Sunday, June 20 for YAPC::NA 2010. I felt welcome from the first moment thanks to Steven Lembark, his gracious wife and Larry Wall allowed me to crash their table ;-) The next morning, I realized what a great effort Heath Bair and the rest of the local organizers in Columbus had put into making the conference a wonderful opportunity to expand our horizons and interact.
The next couple of days was a whirlwind as I got to meet people whose work has not only helped me get my work done but literally saved my back side many times over.
If you want to meet people who are not only smart and get things done, but also a blast to listen to, chat or just have lunch with, you owe it to yourself to attend the next YAPC.
I know I will.
Thank you everyone.