Life on the Vapor Trail... VapeXpo 2014

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10.06.2014

I go to a lot of vape meets... A LOT of vape meets! But this weekend I went to an especially good one.

I have heard about the Michigan Vapers VapeXpo event in the past, and I've always wanted to get to it... but the timing never seemed to work out, so I made a point of getting it on my calendar as soon as I knew the date for this year. I really had no idea what to expect, but I'm always up for an adventure.

Let me start by saying I miss the good ole days of vaping when every vaper I encountered was a new friend to be made... there were so few of us back then and each time I had the opportunity to get to a national or large regional event I would jump at it the chance... but times have changed and there are now a LOT of events from which to choose and it's hard to pack them all in.

That being said... the events from years ago hold a special place in my heart because they were filled with the joy of meeting new people and making new friends, and amazingly devoid of the nonsense of unwanted drama. As the vaping community has grown, so too, have the difficulties. So often these days, there are arguments, verbal attacks and sometimes worse as people with opposing opinions butt heads over things that barely matter.  There's a new group of vapers that have come on the ready-made scene that have no way of knowing "the way things used to be".

VapeXpo 2014 was a vape meet that really did feel like "the way things used to be".

And I loved it...

It was not too big, nor was it too small... The size of the event and the venue was dead-on perfect. The hotel staff pretty much let us do what we wanted to. The Smoke Alarms were a distraction, of course, but there were no threats of kicking us out... they put the fire-alarm into "test mode" and went on their merry way. It was refreshing. The hotel is older and in disrepair, but it was good enough... we were not there to enjoy the accommodations... we were there to bond with other vapers... and that is exactly what we did.

There were some great vendors, some great give-aways, some great items in the auction and above all else there were some great people... The staff that ran the show had their act together and the attendees had a lot of fun checking out the various vendors... what could be better?

There were no cloud contests and they were not conspicuously missing... hardly anybody noticed and if they did comment about the absence it was almost always a comment about how nice it was that the competitive nature of the event was missing. There was also no loud music playing over a PA system and there was no microphone that was so loud it made your teeth rattle... I for one, am grateful for that last little tidbit. A LOT of the events this year have added the loud music and way-too-frequent "jabber" on the PA... that actually really annoys me... I prefer being able to meet new people in an environment that doesn't make me shout just to be heard. I guess I'm getting older and that sort of thing takes it's toll. Kudos to the VapeXpo team for not going down that path.

The Vaping Militia was there in force... the event was raising much needed cash to help the consumer activist group do what it does best, and from what I understand it was quite a success in that regard, but we can never support that group as much as we should... Here's where I make the pitch that if you're not a member of this great group you should probably head on over to their website and sign up... Click right here and go do it now... Seriously... right now... I'll wait right here... the site will open in a new window so you can find your way back.

OK, cool... welcome back! If you joined that's awesome... if you didn't... you really should consider it. They are doing great work to protect your rights as vapers and if you don't support them, who will? Are you going to wait until it's too late? Just go do it already!

My favorite part of these events actually happens when the lights are dim, the vending is over and we break off into smaller groups to reflect on the events of the weekend. It's in these moments where we really get to know our vaping community and we make new friends, and all too often remember the people we miss that couldn't make it to this one. These are the golden moments of the event. The night is never long enough as we drag ourselves off to bed as the sun is rising with our mind still processing everything that has happened. In these moments, we're not talking about vaping as much... we are just enjoying our friends, new and old. On Saturday Night after the event had closed, in one of the quiet moments in a lounge area high-above the pool where a small group had gathered... there was a moment of silence... and the next words that were spoken were... "wow... we are SO blessed to be able to be here" and I have to agree 100%... it's moments like that which serve as a reminder that we really are lucky to be able to do this... and if you've never been to one... put this event on your calendar. It really may be the last of a dying breed...

I'm so glad I went, and I'll surely return.