I felt the need to make this post and share my adventures at the Young Living International Convention.
No, it’s not for self promotion because I’m a Young Living distributor. I mean it sort of is because I’m showing you how awesome this company is, but it’s not the reason I’m sharing it.
I’m writing this because I was incredibly lucky and got to go just a month after signing up, and I was blown away! By the opportunity, the people I met, the friends I made, the company and by the products. You guys, I had no idea how big this convention was until I was THERE.
Warning: This post contains lots of photos and is long!
The origins of this trip were very fortuitous. I was offered a ticket to the convention when my enroller had someone cancel on her. At that point, I had only sold one kit (to my mother, that counts right?) and was brand spanking new to Young Living. It didn’t take long for me decide and I took a leap and said yes. I mean, I had never been to Utah before and thought at the very least I would learn more about the company.
I arranged to carpool with a group of other ladies also heading to the convention. This was shaping up to be a true road trip. So I met up with the group, who also included my enroller’s mother (who also sells Young Living), and the three of us left at 4 am and DROVE to Utah in one day. Was it a lot of driving? Yes, yes it was. Did we stop often for potty breaks? Yes, yes we did. Was it oddly enjoyable being stuck in a car with mostly unfamiliar people? Yes, yes it was. Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat.
It was a beautiful drive
The scenery was beautiful on our drive and it was fun to watch the differences in landscape as we drove. All three of us hollered in excitement when we got to go 80 mph in Idaho. They were pleasantly surprised that I like country music and started singing along in the back of the car.
All of us seemed nervous at the start of the trip, having not really known each other and being made to drive for 12 hours together. I can only imagine how long that car ride would have felt if we didn’t get along so well. By the end of the drive however, I was calling my enroller’s mom, ‘Mom’ and it stayed that way for the rest of the trip. I believe they have adopted me in a way.
We signed into the convention once we reached Salt Lake City and we got our goody bags! I should mention I had no idea that this was part of my ticket ’til we picked them up. We got a messenger bag (with special oil sized pockets inside) a wicked cool blanket that doubles as a poncho if needed, a notebook and pen, a special blended oil, our badges and a schedule. You could say I felt extremely spoiled.
This adorable brick house (pictured above) was home to 6 of us for a week. Yes, I said 6. Once we arrived I was introduced to my enroller’s sister and friends from back East (They’re also Young Living distributors). We got to know each other in the evening talks, morning commutes and any downtime between classes. I have never felt so comfortable and accepted by a group of women before. I’m normally the odd ball standing in the corner, but they made me feel like part of the group. I learned a lot from these women and cherish the friendships we forged.
At the Mona Farm!
Our first full day in Utah was spend at the Young Living Lavender farm in Mona. Just one of 6 farms Young Living has in the US (they have others globally). It’s not just for producing lavender, but it is the majority crop that is grown here. This place is beautiful, and huge! This was my first taste at how big the convention was, not only by the size of the farm and production, but also the amount of people present. For 5 days during the conference, the farm is closed to the public and only those signed up for the conference can visit. I learned half way through the trip that there were over 30k people attending the conference. Holy Crap.
I took the above picture while waiting in line to see the distillery. The mountains surrounding the farm are picturesque and couldn’t be ignored. They were distilling juniper while we where there and the pile to the right is the spent juniper from previous batches. I took a small branch (with permission) and it is now sitting on my desk as I type this.
These don’t look that exciting from this angle, but these large distilling vats where radiating heat as they distilled the juniper. These distillers are one of the preferred methods for essence extraction because they efficiently separate the oils from the source material while keeping damage to the oil properties very minimal.
I love seeing behind the scenes
This is what’s under those big vats. The dark liquid in the center of the glass is the juniper essential oil.
This is the juniper essential oil after it’s been tested and approved for bottling. It gets dispensed into a bottle, capped and labeled after this point.
I didn’t get a picture of it, but after the distillation tour, I got to eat farm fresh lavender ice cream and had a Ningxia Red slushy at one of the booths. The visit was inspiring on so many levels.
Next we explored the greenhouses! Most were filled with rows and rows of lavender seedlings, which smelled amazing inside. We watched as butterflies danced in and out of the greenhouse and onto the little purple budded lavender starts.
Aww, those mountains again!
We got to plant our own start of lavender in one of their fields. I realize that this is bonus free labor for the farm, but at the same time I didn’t care. I felt connected to these products and was pleased to be part of the process by planting some lavender. Every time I get a bottle of lavender I’m going to remember this and wonder if some of the oil is from my plant. It would of course be highly unlikely due to the amount of lavender grown and distilled, but still, I’ll think about it.
My little lavender nestled into the dirt next to his buddies. Grow big little guy, make me some oil!
The next 4 days were a blur of classes, exploring and attending general session (more on that in a few photos) This was one of the sign posts put up to lead you around the expo hall. Each room was showcasing something different. You could learn about each product, sometimes sampling them (Thieves mints taste awesome) and get to see them up close and personal. They had a Ningxia bar set up which served different drinks using their Ningxia line products, as well as having various other booths set up with some of the testing equipment and experts to explain each process.
This was one of my favorite rooms, The Sampling room! They had EVERY oil they produce for you to sample in here. That lady in the blue shirt (pictured above) was giving out samples of their rose oil, which is one of most expensive oils they carry. It takes 22 pounds of rose petals to make just one 5 ml bottle of Essential oil! And yes, I now have rose oil on my ever growing wishlist.
I took the above photo during one of my classes (the Animals and Essential oils class to be specific). Not only was it a common occurrence, but it was also encouraged to take photos of the slides, (especially in this class) where they shared 52 slides in 40 minutes. It was always funny to see all the phones go up in the crowd once a new slide appeared.
I still reference those pictures to this day
This is a photo of the first general session. I have another two sections of people behind me and the crowd was much higher up in the seats than my photo shows. I have only been to events this big for concerts or graduations.
It was crazy! We had two general sessions during the course of the convention. The first one introduced Gary D. Young, Mary Young and the other heads of the company. It also introduced the new products, like the sunscreen, insect repellent, and new oil blend. They surprised us with a new line called Seedlings; specially created products for infants, as well as dramatically introducing a MAKEUP line! I kid you not, when the creator of Savvy minerals came on stage, she walked out, said ‘makeup’ and dropped the mic. Everyone was screaming like teenage girls at a boy band concert. It was insane! It was all people could talk about for the rest of the convention.
General sessions were a huge highlight of the trip
The second general session had their chief science officer explaining the Seed to Seal process; I promise it wasn’t as boring as it sounds. Their chief science officer is like a more bubbly Bill Nye: educational, humorous and entertaining. This general session also had the key note speaker Shawn Achor , who I’d seen before in his TED talk about happiness. If you haven’t watched it you should, it’s well worth the 12 minutes.
By the end of the week we were all pooped. For our last night in Utah, we decided to go out to dinner and celebrate one of our ladies 40th birthdays instead of going to the Carrie Underwood concert (that’s part of the convention ticket!). We found an awesome New Orleans style restaurant, and our waiter could have easily passed as Thor’s cousin. It was a great last night to spend together.
I was blown away by this experience, and came home pumped about this company and my future.
If you’d like to read more about Young Living and Essential oils click here.