What can I pack in my “fandom suitcase”?

I am participating in the GUFF race and I have already described my approach towards it. Now, when the ballot is online, I am constantly thinking about what I will do if I win? What should I be doing? And, last but not least, how should I let everyone know that it is worth to vote for me?

First thoughts

From the moment I applied for GUFF I knew two things:
1) What my reason for applying is, and
2) What more or less I am going to do if I win the race.

The answer to the first question is obvious – I always wanted to visit Australia. Moreover, I love meeting other fans I haven’t met before and see how the fannish way differs in every country I have a chance to visit (and why it is quite similar, despite the differences).

The second question is also relatively easy. Of course, Continuum has to be one of my stops and apart from that I will travel through some cities, meeting other fans, attending club meetings, and so on.

Continuum logo. The text says Continuum logo as appearing on the website

Those two easy questions are concentrated on me – my needs, plans, and fascinations. As I mentioned before, I had also an idea of being a European ambassador – being able to talk about fandom(s) in Europe. And I keep asking myself: “What will be the value of sending me to Australia?” As I have written in my ballot platform: “One small step for the fandom, one giant leap for the Fandom Rover!”. But what exactly this small step would be, you might ask?

Packing my “fandom suitcase” while going to Oz

Provided I win the GUFF race I am sure what I will pack into my “fandom suitcase”. I will take what I really treasure – my love of fandom and all the happiness and positive energy that fandom keeps giving me. There is plenty of it so I plan to hand it around among fellow fans (and I am hoping you will give me the same in return). I will also make sure to not to take any shyness that tends to travel with me sometimes.

Man sitting and laughing. He wears crayfish hat and he keeps polar bear on his knees. Myself having great time at Helsinki in 2017 fantable during Loncon 3. Picture made by Crystal Huff.

So far I have visited more than 100 conventions in Poland. Their size ranged from less than 50 members to over 40 000 members. Among them were manga and anime cons, SF&F cons, some of them were multigenre and some were focused solely on gaming or on a particular franchise. I would like to pack all of those experiences with me. This way I can share pictures, memories and talk about the general Polish approach to conrunning and congoing.

For obvious reasons I have visited less than 100 Eurocons but I hope that my experiences related to European fandom are worth checking out. How does each Eurocon differ from the previous ones? What is the atmosphere and what can the local fans expect from these conventions? Was there something in common between the Eurocon in sunny Barcelona and the one in rainy Dublin? Lastly, why do I keep visiting Eurocons whenever I can?

Women stands in front of the screen. She is visible between the rows of chairs on which people are sitting. Nina Horvath speaking about TAFF during Eurocon 2017 in Dortmund

Finally, I will share my newest treasure with you: the fannish ways in different countries. I enjoyed Swecon immensely and I was totally surprised by the Luxembourgish way of congoing! Then Octocon in Dublin convinced me I should give more attention to movies (and I did!). Now, I am waiting for Follycon that would be my first Eastercon. What will I be able to bring back from there and to share with the other fans?

And what can I take back?

My fannish activity has several goals. One of them is to bring Polish and international fandom closer. I would like to travel together with more fans from Poland to Eurocons, Worldcons and to all other kinds of cons outside of Poland. Inviting foreign fans to Poland so that I can share my experience of fandom with them is also one of the method to achieve my goals. I keep speaking about international conventions both with my friends and as a programme participant. I would love to be able to add the information about Australian and New Zealand fandoms to what I can share with others.

Two women and three men sitting behinf the table. International fandom I have participated in during Swecon 2016

One of my other goals (that help me to realize the first goal) is to visit conventions in every European country. I know it is a complicated or even impossible task (as some countries don’t have cons at all), but I am moving forward towards this goal. And this is a fascinating journey. The more I travel the more I have to share with other fans. When I had gone to my first convention abroad (Eurocon 2012 in Zagreb, Croatia) I wanted to speak about Polish fandom and I was lucky enough to get this opportunity. Now I keep mentioning Poland, my homeland, but I am also thinking about sharing my experiences regarding other cons and fannish cultures I have already met. I plan to do so in future. In May I’m going to attend Lituanicon (Vilnus, Lithuania). I hope to visit the second Icecon (Reykjavík, Iceland) in history. If I won’t manage to do it this year I do believe I’ll manage to do in the future.

If I were lucky enough to win the GUFF race I would be able to share my experiences about it at the conventions I am going to visit in future. My aim would be not only to raise funds for the years to come but also to spread the word. To let the European fans know how the fandom in Australia and New Zealand is doing, to let them know about the cons in this part of the world and what they can do to visit them in person. Maybe this will help to have the next GUFF candidate from the country that never before participated in Fan Funds?

Few rows of people are sitting in chairs. In front of them there is a group of people standing. Opening ceremony of Nordcon XXXI – one of the oldest Polish conventions

I cannot say if this is all I will return to fandom if I win this extraordinary race. I’m counting on being inspired by my visit to Australia and by sharing the experiences with other fans. What I know for sure is that I will keep doing what I do today, no matter if I become the GUFF delegate or not. I’ll keep traveling, meeting fans, making new friends and sharing what is dear to me – the joy of being a part of the world fandom.

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