TL;DR. If you have to travel to go to conferences, try it! At least one time. Save money, if you can, and try it! I think you won't be disappointed. And it's OK to go alone (maybe better: it's easier to talk to strangers.)
Last weekend I went to my first big conferece: NodeConfArg at Buenos Aires. I'm from a city from the north Patagonia where are no meetups and no one is organizing anything, which makes it difficult to find people with the same technical profile.
I went alone. My actual work allowed me to take those days off, but it didn't help me economically in any way. This made imposible to some of my teammates to go, since they have more responsabilities than me, like their house or family. This experience costed me half of my monthly salary.
Please, please, if you have a job like this, update your CV and send it to other places, even if you don't think your expertise/experience is sufficient. I'm doing this right now because I don't want to spend my time in a place that doesn't care about the improvement of their human resources.
Ok, enough ranting. At the NodeConfArg, I could talk to people from other countries like Bolivia, Perú or USA. I could also meet and exchange some words with some speakers (by the way, everyone was super cool). I could also meet an online friend of mine and their teammates from the other extreme of my country. I felt multiple emotions at the same time.
The first day had workshops. I register to two: the first one was about the dat project, a p2p protocol for the web. It was really really amazing. Both teachers had good charisma and passion about what they were teaching. By the way, here's the repo: https://github.com/geut/dat-workshop
The second and third day had talks only (and an amazing panel). Every talk was fabulous. In total where 20 incredible talks which blown my mind. Mostly everything was new to me. Since I'm not working at scale, and since most of the talks were about optimization, I could learn a lot. By the way, it's OK to not know about the topics (and maybe even better).
There were talks about iot, communication through sounds (using https://chirp.io/), the use of monorepos, ia and art, inclussion, standards, optimization (a looot), native extensions, tracing and metrics, serverless, p2p and about the state of node+js as a community. A lot of topics.
I'm conscient that I'll implement near nothing about everything I learned right now. But! I can say that now I have curiosity about those topics (so I will start reading about them).
Thank you for reading this!
See you next time!