It’s Time to Register for Spousetivities at VMworld

You’ve been waiting for it, and now it’s here! Registration is open for Spousetivities at VMworld US 2017 in Las Vegas, and this year marks ten years of Spousetivities!

Since this is a big milestone for Spousetivites, I’ve taken extra care to organize some really great events this year. I also have a great set of sponsors partnering with Spousetivities to help keep the costs affordable for participants: VMware NSX, Veeam, TVP Strategy, ActualTech Media, Datrium, and rhipe. I can’t thank the sponsors enough for helping me bring these events to participants at affordable rates.

So what’s in store this year in Vegas? Here’s a quick overview:

Monday, August 28

We’ll kick off the week with our Welcome Breakfast. (Brought to you by VMware NSX) As usual, this will be a great time to get to know some other Spousetivities participants (it’s amazing to me how many friendships are forged at this event!) and have a chance to win some great prizes. I’m not going to tell you what we’re giving away, but I can point to what I’ve given away in the past: iPads, iPods, Apple Watches, VR headsets, fitness trackers…any of those might show up as a prize this year!

Following the breakfast we’ll have a fun scavenger hunt along the Las Vegas Strip. Don’t worry about the heat—a lot of it is inside and we’ll make use of the train! One thing I’m particularly excited about is the stop at the Minus 5 Ice Bar, including a specialty drink!

Tuesday, August 29

Tuesday I have two amazing events planned. First—and space is quite limited for this event—I’ve arranged for a great helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. This includes a landing on the floor of the Canyon! I can’t talk enough about this event, it should be quite amazing.

If that’s not your thing, no worries—how about a relaxing day in a cabana by the Mandalay Bay pool? (Brought to you by ActualTech Media!)

Wednesday, August 30

On Wednesday you have a couple different options:

  • You can zip line on Fremont Street or enjoy a visit to Madame Tussaud’s. Both events are followed by a food tour.
  • Alternately, enjoy a leisurely river cruise starting at the base of the Hoover Dam (including a tour of the legendary American icon). (Brought to you by Veeam)

All these events get back in plenty of time for the VMworld party!

Thursday, August 31

We’ll wrap up with the week with another cabana day at the Mandalay Bay pool (brought to you by Datrium) or a trip to Bonnie Springs for some horseback riding and a great lunch.

In addition to what I’ve outlined above, discounted spa services from the spa at the Four Seasons Hotel are available all week. Oh, and did I mention…this year there’ll be opportunities for prizes on every tour!

What a great lineup! Be sure to head over to the registration page to get more details on each event and to sign up. Keep in mind that space is limited on all these events (some more so than others!), so don’t wait too long to register or you might miss out.

Here’s hoping I see you in Vegas!


Celebrate 10 Years of Spousetivities at VMworld!

Spousetivities was born at VMworld 2008 in Las Vegas when one conference attendee spouse (OK, it was me!) said to herself, “Surely I’m not the only one that comes to these things and spends the week in the hotel room or roams the city alone!” Indeed I wasn’t the only one!

Spousetivities at VMworld US 2017 marks 10 years of my initial vision—now known as Spousetivities—providing organized activities for non-attendees. Since 2011, I’ve also offered Spousetivities at VMworld EMEA, providing safe and organized activities for folks traveling to or within Europe.

The activities offered by Spousetivities provide a safe yet enjoyable way for non-attendees to enjoy the conference location. Conference attendees can enjoy the conference, knowing their spouse or family member is not alone, is safe, and is having an enjoyable time. Further, all of the organized activities are planned during the day, so your partner is free to join you for some of VMworld’s lively evening activities!

Registration for this year’s activities isn’t quite ready yet, but it will be soon! I’ll be opening registration just after the July 4th holiday, so check back here then for more information on the activities (and the great sponsors that make them possible) as well as a link to registration.

Also, if you haven’t considered bringing a family member or partner with you in the past, perhaps this year would be a great year to try it! Check out the Spousetivities Facebook page or follow @Spousetivities on Twitter to get a feel for what these events look like and what past participants have to say about them.

Spousetivities is a great example of the energetic community that surrounds VMworld and makes these events so great for attendees (and non-attendees!). Here’s hoping I get to see you in Las Vegas or Barcelona!



Spousetivities and OpenStack in Boston

In just over a month, the OpenStack Foundation and supporters of OpenStack will gather in Boston, MA, for the spring 2017 OpenStack Summit. And, as we have been for the last several summits, Spousetivities will be there to provide activities for people traveling to Boston with Summit attendees!

If you’re planning on attending the Summit in Boston and are thinking of bringing a spouse, partner, significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend, or family member with you, then this post is for YOU! Read on to find out about the great activities that are planned.

If your spouse, partner, significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend, or family member is going to the Summit and you’re being dragged along, this post is also for YOU! Read on to see more information about the activities planned for you while the Summit is on.

  • Monday, May 8: We’ll start the week off with a great trip out to Martha’s Vineyard. This will include a guided tour of the island, including the multi-colored clay cliffs at Aquinnah and a visit to the harbor town of Vineyard Haven. Lunch is included.

  • Tuesday, May 9: Tuesday’s activity is all about Boston. Be sure to wear some comfortable shoes! We’ll do a trolley tour highlighting many of the “Must See” locations, then see the city from the water via a harbor cruise, and wrap things up with a Duck tour. Lunch is included (along with a stop for a cannoli!).

  • Wednesday, May 10: How about a tour of Newport? The tour includes a visit to Mrs. Vanderbilt’s 70-room summer home, the Marble House. We’ll also spend some time in the beautifully restored waterfront before heading to a second famous mansion, the Breakers. This 70-room mansion on 11 acres of waterfront land is not to be missed! Lunch is included.

  • Thursday, May 11: This tour is for folks who are hungry—for adventure! We’ll visit the Harvard and Cambridge campuses while finding some tasty treats along the way. You’ll also get to see where Washington took charge of the Revolution and see the oldest poetry bookstore in the US. How cool is that? And don’t worry, there’s plenty of food on this trip!

Special pricing for all these tours is made possible by VMware NSX.

Registration for these events is open now, so hop on over and sign up before the events sell out. (Yes, there is a limit on how many attendees I can accommodate, so buy early!) Full details for each event, including departure and return times, are found on the registration page. All events will depart from the Sheraton Boston Hotel, which is a conference hotel and is very close to the conference venue.

Here’s hoping I see you in Boston!


Docker and Spousetivities at Your Service!

Tired of leaving the family behind when it’s time for a conference? After all, you know you need to go; it’s good for your career. You learn, you get hands-on training, and you make connections in the industry. Why wouldn’t you go to another conference? Oh, that’s right—the family is having to stay behind again. It’s so hard to leave the other parent to manage everything while you’re gone, even if it’s for a good reason. Right?

Not this time! You don’t have to leave anyone behind. DockerCon is offering childcare for infants through age 12 each day of the conference. That frees you up to stay focused on everything the conference has to offer. Wait, what about my spouse? Or my boyfriend? Or even my parents or siblings that want to go to a great city like Austin? No worries there, Spousetivities has you covered! Thanks to the support of VMware NSX, for less than $250pp your loved one gets 3 days of incredible activities, including transportation, food, wine tastings, and fabulous tours. Don’t forget, they also get daily chances to win awesome prizes.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and register your family for these great opportunities. It’s sure to be a conference like no other! It’s a triple slam with DockerCon for you, DockerCon Childcare for the younger ones, and Spousetivities for the non-attendee grown-ups.

See you in Austin!


2nd Annual Spousetivities at DockerCon

Let’s head to the fun and diverse city of Austin, TX! This year, Spousetivities tags along to DockerCon and offers up some great events for your partner while you network and learn. If you’ve never heard of Spousetivities, check out this info so you know what we’re all about. If you already know about Spousetivities, then head on over to the registration site and get registered so you don’t miss out on the fun.

Still not sure this is right for you? Read on to find out a little more about the activities in beautiful Austin.

Here’s a quick overview of the activities:

  • Tuesday – We will venture out of Austin and into Waco to stroll the aisles and take in all the Magnolia Market has to offer. If you haven’t heard of Magnolia Market, it’s the brainchild of Chip and Joanna from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”. Whether you’re looking for a one of a kind trinket, or just looking to explore Texas, this is a day not to miss. A trip to Texas is never complete without a food truck lunch so that is another part of this great day.
  • Wednesday – This is a longer day, but so worth it! Not only will we tour LBJ State Park, we will also dine at Hye Market. To make the day even more perfect, we will wrap up the day in the quaint town of Fredericksburg. Again, you don’t want to miss this day trip!
  • Thursday – This is a day that literally has everything! We’ll see all the highlights in Austin then head out to Hill Country. This day we will feast on the famous Salt Lick BBQ before exploring two great wineries, complete with tastings! If you can only join one day, this is it!

This week is brought to us thanks to the support of VMware NSX.

Now you’re convinced right? OK, so here’s one more thing to sweeten the deal. Prizes! Each day you tour with Spousetivities, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a great prize. We’ve given away everything from iPods to VR headsets to iPads. Now, head on over to the registration page and sign up for one or all of these great events. See you in Austin!


First Time Ever Spousetivities at AWS re:Invent!

Are you going to AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas? Well, there is certainly good news for you! This time, instead of leaving just after Thanksgiving and heading to another conference without the family, you can bring them along! That’s right, Spousetivities is coming to re:Invent 2016. What does that mean? Well, check out my about page for a little more information on what this is all about, then check out the activities lined up for anyone joining a conference attendee.

Registration is now open so check out what’s happening! Here’s an overview of the activities being offered:

  • Cooking with Chef Dell (Previous winner of Food Network’s “Chopped”)

  • Hoover Dam/Grand Canyon – because who doesn’t want to see this!?

  • Black Canyon Raft/Hoover Dam Charter

  • Vegas Food Tour hosted by Chef Dell

Wait, did I mention prizes? Oops, I might have forgotten that! Each day you are on a tour, you get a ticket in a drawing for a great prize. Some of the prizes given away at past events—and likely to find their way into this event—include Samsung tablets, Bose headphones, VR Headsets, GoPros, and iPad Minis. These of course, are in addition to the gift bag you receive if you are one of the first 30 to register. The gift bags include great goodies too—battery backups, water bottles, t-shirts, and more!

Sounds like something you’re interested in? You won’t want to delay as these activities often sell out very quickly so register today.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest updates leading up to the event as well as during the event. While you’re following me, go ahead and do the same for the sponsor making all of this possible: VMware NSX (@vmwarensx on Twitter and Facebook). Without their support, these activities would not be so affordable and actually wouldn’t even be possible. See you in Vegas!


OpenStack Summit 2016 Barcelona Wrap Up

Wow! That is really the best way to describe Spousetivities at OpenStack Summit in Barcelona 2016. After getting a start in Tokyo in 2015, Spousetivities also tagged along to the OpenStack Summit in Austin and now in Barcelona as well. Did you join the fun in Spain? If so, you already know the amazing adventures we had. If not, let’s take a look at the week so you can start preparing to join us next time! Of course, none of this would be possible without the media support of the OpenStack Foundation and the financial sponsorship of VMware NSX.

So let’s review:

  • Monday – While I was unfortunately sick, my son Cameron stepped up to the plate to organize people on both of the Monday events. Off to a day of tapas and wine, one group explored the Gothic area and more on a walking tour that was equally pleasing to the palate. Meanwhile, Cameron and the rest of the participants dared to bike Barcelona to explore the rich history of the region. Midway through the tour, the group enjoyed a yummy tapas lunch, then completed the bike tour before returning for the evening.
  • Tuesday – What a great day this was! Back on my feet again, we set out for Montserrat. There is always something new to take in when visiting this breathtaking location. After exploring and listening to the Boys’ Choir, we set out for an organic winery run by a local family. The tasting, conversation, and fun was only surpassed by the incredible lunch we had just prior to this stop. It was a day not soon forgotten.
  • Wednesday – One of my favorite places in Spain was the destination of the day! “Quaint”, “tranquil”, and “breathtaking” are words that come to mind when thinking of Rupit. Guests were able to choose how to spend their time this day—many explored this tiny town while others took a short 7km hike to views that will be remembered for years to come. One can’t leave Rupit without being fed a lunch that was fit for kings and queens, and we certainly felt like royalty when we departed to return to Barcelona.
  • Thursday – So many people were enjoying Spousetivities at OpenStack Summit this week that we launched two tours on Thursday. One group set off for Costa Brava and Girona while the other headed out on another 7km hike along the coastline, ending in Costa Brava. For this day, the best way to describe it is to look through the eyes of those who attended, so check out the photos on Facebook! You’ll be sad you missed it, or you’ll relive the memories if you were one of the lucky ones that attended.
  • Friday – I call this “couples day.” Though some didn’t have a spouse that was able to attend, many had the opportunity to bring a spouse along and let them have some much needed downtime after a crazy yet fulfilling week at the Summit. We explored Tarragona, the Roman Aqueduct, and more. Of course, who can forget the lunch that sent nearly everyone into a food coma!? Not to be forgotten was our visit to the monastery that was yet another reminder of exactly how beautiful this area is and exactly how much history can be remembered.

If you didn’t get to join us, you certainly missed out. Don’t worry, 2017 promises to bring more once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to explore the world! If you want to be the first to know about upcoming Spousetivities tours and events, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and of course, you can subscribe to my website. See you next time!


VMworld EMEA 2016 Wrap Up

Were you one of the fortunate ones to join us on the incredible tours in beautiful Barcelona during VMworld EMEA? If so, thanks for participating and exploring such a beautiful city with me!

Here’s a quick recap of the week:

  • Monday – We started the week with a bang as we headed out to explore the tastes of the Catalunya region with a walking food and wine tour. This fun experience was sponsored by VMware NSX.
  • Tuesday – It’s hard to visit Barcelona without seeing the majestic Montserrat, which is why we took the trip to this exquisite area. We even got to listen the Boys’ Choir. Thanks to Veeam for making this fantastic day possible.
  • Wednesday – What can be said about a day that takes you to two countries? We began our day in Spain, had lunch in the French Pyrenees, explored more of France, then finished our day back in Spain. What a great day it was, courtesy of the support of VMware NSX.
  • Thursday – The day that wrapped up our week at VMworld allowed us to stroll historic Roman Tarragona. We visited ancient ruins of the stadium, Roman wall, and other sites. We dined on handmade meals made by a local family who still uses wood-fired stoves to prepare some of the best food in the region. Again, an incredible day brought to us thanks to the support of VMware NSX.

    The T-shirts, bags, and other goodies were also made possible by the support of TVP Strategy and VMUG. Without our sponsors—VMware NSX, Veeam, VMUG, and TVP Strategy —these events wouldn’t be possible, so be sure to thank all of them. Also, if you love what Spousetivities is doing and want to see more awareness of the activities in coming years, make sure to share your thoughts with the VMworld Events Team. You can email them using this address for Europe: [email protected] and this address for the US/North America event: [email protected]

    If you didn’t get to join us, you certainly missed out, but don’t worry, 2017 promises to bring more once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to explore the world! If you want to be the first to know about upcoming Spousetivities tours and events, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and of course, you can find the latest information on my website as well. See you next time!


Do Barcelona in a Whole New Way with Spousetivities

Think you’ve already done Barcelona? Think AGAIN! This year at VMworld Europe, Spousetivities is offering some incredible activities that you may never have the opportunity to do again. Wait, why are you still reading? Go register now!

So you weren’t convinced? That’s OK. Let me see if telling you about some of the tours will get you excited about joining your VMworld attendee in Barcelona.

  • Day 1: Monday, October 17 (https://spousetivities.ticketleap.com/vmworld2016emea/dates/Oct-17-2016_at_0800AM)

    • We will set sail on the Mediterranean for a morning of adventure. This tour will allow you to experience Barcelona like no other tour!

    • Not a water person? No worries, how about a walking tour with wine tasting? Even if you choose to sail in the morning, you can join this activity in the afternoon. Either way, this is a great way to learn your way around the city and get to know the locals.

    • If walking isn’t your thing, you can join a biking tour of the city. This excursion will show you all the city highlights! Don’t worry about being an avid cyclist, this tour only requires that you be in reasonable physical health. There are plenty of stopping points and few hills.

  • Day 2: Tuesday, October 18 (https://spousetivities.ticketleap.com/vmworld2016emea/dates/Oct-18-2016_at_0800AM)

    This amazing day takes you to the incredible Montserrat where you will see the Black Madonna and hear the famous Boys’ Choir. There will also be an opportunity for a small hike and a ride up the mountain on the tram. After a morning to remember, we will venture into the city to enjoy lunch at a quaint local restaurant. Don’t worry, the day isn’t over yet, after lunch, our group will venture to a couple of local wineries to taste some of the local wines. If you attended last year, don’t fret, we are going to new wineries and a new restaurant!

  • Day 3: Wednesday, October 19 (https://spousetivities.ticketleap.com/vmworld2016emea/dates/Oct-19-2016_at_0800AM)

    If you can only join one day, this is it! We will be visiting the French Pyrenees on this incredible tour. Yes, it is a long drive, but you’ll soon forget it once you take in these majestic views! Make sure to dress for the weather (in layers), and be ready for a day you won’t soon forget.

  • Day 4: Thursday, October 20 (https://spousetivities.ticketleap.com/vmworld2016emea/dates/Oct-20-2016_at_0800AM)

    For our final day of activities, we will visit Roman Tarragona & Cistercian Monastery. This is a day rich in history and culture and will not only be a day of exciting photo opportunities, but will include a fantastic lunch and plenty of sights that you can only appreciate in person.

Did I mention that the first 30 guests to register will get a special prize? I forgot? Oh…well, in that case, the first 30 guests to register will receive a swag bag with great items courtesy of our sponsors. Who are the sponsors? Glad you asked! This year, we have VMware NSX, Veeam, TVP Strategy, and VMUG. In addition to the gift bags, the cost of all these tours is reduced by 40% because of their support. Make sure to thank them at their booth, on Twitter, and/or on Facebook. For a final surprise, there will be a major giveaway item for each day of activities. You can win more than once. Each day that you arrive for your tour, you’ll be given a ticket for that day’s prize. During the tour, I’ll draw the winning ticket. If it’s yours, so is the prize! Prizes include but aren’t limited to iPad mini, Kindle Fire, gift cards, and more.

Now, really, what are you waiting for? Register now as space on these incredible adventures is limited and only available on a first come first serve basis. Don’t delay, register today.


OpenStack, Barcelona, and Spousetivities

The OpenStack Summits in Tokyo and Austin were fabulous, so now we are venturing into Barcelona! I’ve already started planning activities for the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona this October, and registration for the activities will open soon.

Barcelona is a spectacular city, and I’ve partnered with a great local company that works hard to customize tours for Spousetivities participants. You are sure to have a great time in this beautiful city, and it won’t be your standard run-of-the-mill tourist stuff, either!

Stay tuned for details about tours, but here’s what I’m currently targeting:

  • A biking wine tour
  • Montserrat (of course!)
  • Some coastal hiking
  • Touring Tarragona
  • And even a Cistercian monastery!

You also won’t want to miss the beautiful town of Rupit! So check back often and watch social media (follow @Spousetivities on Twitter and friend Spousetivities on Facebook) to get notified when registration opens.

These great activities are brought to you by VMware NSX!