After weeks of reflection about the most recent TBEX (Travel Blogging EXchage) conference in Toronto, I’ve
come to realize what I really learned from attending the conference.
Yes, it is a great place to meet PR, tourism boards, travel businesses, and especially other travel bloggers to create connections and develop partnership ideas, etc.. Each year I leave inspired (if not overwhelmed) about our growing industry and the steps I need to take to better my blog, my brand and myself.
But this year, after my third TBEX, I realized more:
I love travel bloggers
I love travel bloggers. I do. And the decision to live in a flipkey house with a dozen other bloggers, many who I never met in person, might be considered bold by some, but actually it only reminded how much I love my peers. These are my kind of people.
Lola, the organizer and a true purveyor fun from Lola’s Travels took the idea of creating a Real World Blogger house and made it a reality; she made it real. The house and life at RWTBEX (Real world TBEX) made the weekend epic. Thank you.
There is No Magic Potion for Revenue or Success
I tried many “potions” or cocktails in Toronto too. I even started to reacquaint myself with Gin. But nothing. No magic revenue potion.
Each year I’ll admit I hope to discover the special magic potion on how to make it all work out. I do. But I know now, or rather I accept it takes commitment to the pursuit. Yes, it takes commitment – the C word.
And I noticed commitment on all levels at TBEX. Whether it was the commitment of Traveling Ted to make sure the RWTBEX house is stocked with beer (navigating odd alcohol laws ) or a commitment to brand like the example set by lazy travelers. Commitment was everywhere.
And many speakers told us (again this year) even with commitment, this job will not make your rich. Ah, but I know better, travel is the only “purchase” that makes you richer, right? And if that is true, and I agree it is, than I just need to keep on keeping on…
Travel bloggers are Very Educated
I’ve always said (quote me on this please), “the RTW (a’Round The World) is more valuable and much cheaper than MBA.” And I stand by it. I learned more in my 11 month travel sabbatical than any classroom or collective study. Now outside of corporate for a few years, I have even learned so much more. I imagine my friend and teacher Erin from the World Wanderer agrees too.
When the all the bloggers are in a room together it is amazing how much of the world; the places, the attractions, the local scene, the customs, the cuisines and the cocktails we all know across all seven continents. Collectively we know how to navigate and experience the world. That’s impressive. But even more impressive is the fact we are all in a pursuit of fun (happiness). That’s an even more educated person in my eyes.
The World is an Amazing Place
I knew this, well I believed this, but collectively I was reminded that we all believe this. Yes, many of us see dire places and poverty on our travel and most aim to lend a helping hand, but we also see the best in the world. I believe we see the world through a positive lens and we are a positive force.
We also talk and share. I listened to so many stories about places to visit from all over the world. Many places to add to my bucket list for sure, but I definitely often find myself talking about Mexico. Mexico gets some bad press, but when talking to many bloggers including Alexandra of Crazy, Sexy, Fun Traveler, she told me it was her favorite country. It might just be mine too.
Travel Bloggers are Very Creative
I am constantly impressed how creative the community is in travel blogging. Just from the weekend at the FlipKey House there was the Vines (love this app) Yishyen of Small Crazy put together over TBEX about FlatDeej. There was also walking into the RWTBEX house on Sunday Night and being greeted by Christopher of Captain and Clark the creator of a new game flying pong with help of the GQ Tripping.
But even beyond this, I am constantly impressed with the whit and wisdom my fellow bloggers share. Sure, most of us wear many hats and essentially all own little enterprises and I never felt more excited to partner with even more bloggers on future projects.
Content is King
First off, there are no rules. Content is what you create. Sure “old world” wants to tell us not to use the word “iconic” or “nestled” (this is my first time using them and it feels so good) or that we are not professional or …. when I listen to those “preaches” I just say blah, blah, blah. Let them have that world. I don’t want in.
For me, what makes travel blogger content king is our experience(s). We are authentic. And kudos to Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures for talking about this (why wasn’t he a keynote?).
We’ve been there, experienced it. We’ve seen it at sunset, watched a sports match with local fans, shared a pint and some conversation with new friends, broke bread with families who took us into their home, and more. Much more. Yes we lived it, did it, enjoyed it and we loved it.
Our content is our personal experiences. and that is king. People want to know what is it really like “there” and that is the power behind travel blogging.
Thank you TBEX for both these lesson and reminders.
stay adventurous, Craig
A special thanks to FlipKey for allowing …for allowing me to learn about their product and for providing access to one of their houses while I was at TBEX. And also thanks to Traveling Ted who also committed to taking photographs of the events at RWTBEX, the two images with me inside them were taken by him.