Hello Ambassador 2014 was a surreal experience for me. I remember sitting in the audience at the conference last year and thinking that I would like to tell my story on that stage one day. This year I attended the conference as a Wildcard Session speaker and not as a media person.

It was a process to get selected as a Wildcard Session speaker. A motivation had to be sent in and then a presentation had to be given prior to the conference to narrow 10 potential speakers to 4. I remember thinking at this point that I wasn’t going to make it because of the calibre of speakers. I also had to put together a video of my presentation because I was unable to make the pre-presentation and I knew that my video-editing skills were not going to win me any favours. Somehow I made it through and I found myself drawing up a speech in between studying for one of my exams.

For the first time in about 6 years I actually wrote out a speech. I haven’t had much success with impromptu affairs and decided to go back to what I knew I was better at. I did have minor freezes when I couldn’t remember some parts of it but I think I recalled 90% of it when I was saying it. If you were there then I mentioned that Drop Your Drink was the spin-off from another blog called Erase Nothing. I decided to put my Hello Ambassador speech up on Erase Nothing for you to check out, click here to read it. It’s about me, my photography, how you can do your own thing and Drop Your Drink’s origins, culture, successes and future.

Around 13h10 on the Saturday of the conference I found myself in front of the Hello Ambassador audience ready to present. Then Murphy appeared and used Laptop Freeze, it was super effective. This might not have been a concern for a regular person with a Powerpoint presentation but I had decided to use Prezi and few computers have a Prezi viewer installed on them. I worried that I was going to have to speak without my presentation. My saving grace was remembering that I had seen Prezi viewer installation files when I had been backing my presentation to the Hello Ambassador hard drive. I was able to present once we had sorted that out.

I can’t tell you much about the conference because I was only really present in the moments right before and after my presentation. I also only got to watch DJ Kenzhero, Valente Bosch and Liam Lynch speak. Out of the group DJ Kenzhero was my favourite speaker. He truly has one of those started from the bottom now I’m here stories but he tells his story in such a way that you understand that it was not a fairytale. He put in incredible amounts of hard work to get to where he is now.

I had so many people coming up to me after the conference and saying all sorts of awesome things. I’m just really glad that I had a platform to inspire you. I’ve been humbled by the experience. There is this awesome quote that says, “Do not despise these small beginnings.” Drop Your Drink was just that and look at it now.

I attended the Hello Ambassador After-Party for a bit after the conference and you can check out the photo series from that here. I hope you enjoy Lourens photo series from the conference below.

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