This weekend I’m traveling to Toronto, Canada for the first time to attend Navigate Media Group’s BlogHouse workshop and my first-ever travel blogging conference. The Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) is the largest gathering of travel writers, bloggers, and new media content creators in the world! Needless to say, I am simultaneously ecstatic and nervous as a newbie!
Preparing for the biggest event of the year (in the travel blogging world) is a very daunting, nerve-racking task! I can relate it to cramming for a final exam or writing a big paper in grad school at the (ahem) last minute. I’m a procrastinator. That’s always been a problem for me (cue stress, sleepless nights, panic). However, I will say that some of my “best work” was created under those very tenuous, pressure-cooker situations.
So here I am, a mere two days out from flying to Toronto, trying to make my schedule for the weekend (I want to attend all of the events at once!), make appointments to “speed date” with travel companies and tourist boards, research said companies and cities/states/countries (of tourist boards), create a media kit to provide to these companies and tourism boards (Media kit? What’s a media kit?), compile all of my seemingly unending questions I’d like to find answers to or advice on, creating content for my “normal” weekly posts (like the one you’re reading right now), all the while, talking to various web designers and developers and reviewing various mock-ups with a scrutinizing eye in an attempt to have a “professional looking blog” as soon as possible (unfortunately, this won’t roll out until after TBEX). Phew. Like that run-on sentence? That’s how my life feels this week. If only I could steal a few more hours…a few more days….to get everything just right. Then again, when are you ever 100% prepared for anything in life?
I’m also approaching these events from the perspective of a student, or maybe better- an apprentice. My overarching goal for the next two weeks is to learn as much as possible and to improve my blog and my skills. I think I am most excited about The BlogHouse, to which I’ve had the extreme fortune of being invited to attend. Actually, I applied and was one of the twelve bloggers selected to attend! I can not wait to pick the brains of some of my favorite travel bloggers, learn best practices, brainstorm, work on photography and video, practice pitching, and meet fellow travel bloggers also fairly new on the scene. I’m a little start-struck, as well, that Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere will be stopping by one night to hob knob with us, the next generation of travel bloggers.
Oh, and we get to stay in a castle:
That reminds me, I need to charge my Nikon D3100 batteries…
These are the prolific “Senior bloggers” who will be mentoring and guiding us through the week: Pete and Dalene Heck – Hecktic Travels, Sherry Ott- Otts World, Lisa Lubin- LLWorld Tour, Michael Tieso- Art of Backpacking, Stephanie Yoder –Twenty-Something Travel, Cailin O’Neil- Travel Yourself, Michael Hodson- Go See Write, Matt Gibson- Matt Gibson.
How KEWL?! What a great cross-section of fantastic and successful bloggers!
And these are my compatriots (the BlogHouse participants): Megan- Megano Travels, Noah- Somewhere or Bust, Keryn- Walking on Travels, Mara- Mother of All Trips, Alana- Paper Planes Blog, Melissa- Suitcase and Heels, Emma- An Opportune Moment, Alouise- Traveler Ahoy, Kay- The Kay Days, Stephanie- Nerd At Large, Cacinda- Points and Travel.
Please check out their blogs. These are amazing people with fascinating, funny stories and invaluable travel tips!
Did I mention that we will be staying in a castle?
I will have much more to say and blog about TBEX and BlogHouse in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned! I’m excited to take you along this learning adventure with me!