11 Things I Learned from TBEX 2015

Hi guys! I had a very intense week at the Travel Blogging Expo in Fort Lauderdale. There were cool Pre-Bex tours, delicious food, amazing breakout sessions, and networking parties every night. I have to get my stuff sorted out so I can follow all the cool bloggers I connected with.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all. On top of this, I am traveling a crazy amount this month, mostly for work. So I’m looking at my editorial calendar with despair and wondering how I’ll have the time to write, edit photos, and get stuff posted with any regularity. I’ll do what I can though!

So in no particular order, here are some things I took away from TBEX 2015.

  1. I need a better way to carry my laptop around. My Dell laptop bag isn’t doing the trick. Perhaps a good backpack?
  2. Conferences are exhausting. I prefer an organic way of meeting people, such as through the Pre-Bex events, than during networking parties. Seems so much less awkward.
  3. I need a new phone. Oh, I love my Moto X. It fits perfectly in my hand, I’ve got a delightful Nuvango skin (dreamy art by Audrey Kawasaki) on it, and I’ve got it all set up the way I’ve used it for the last year or so. But a stellar camera is not on the list of its features. And based on some of the sessions I went to, in particular one on visual storytelling by Frederic Gonzalo, I am utterly convinced that good photos are essential to a good travel blog.
  4. There were hundreds of travel bloggers at TBEX North America. There were also hundreds that went to TBEX Europe and TBEX Asia. And what about the thousands more who never went to these conferences? The world is full of people like me who love to explore, and love to talk about it. What am I contributing that’s unique? As Carol Cain of Girl Gone Travel asked, what voice is not being represented, what can I say that only I can say? I’ve wrestled with these questions from the beginning, and now they’re questions that begs answering before I can honestly continue this effort.
  5. On that note, another question: why am I doing this? Jessica Woodbury of Don’t Mind the Mess also asked, what problem am I solving? All these bloggers at the conference had different goals for being there, but what they all seemed to have in common was a dedication to their blogs. A wish to make it their business and way of living. For some of them, the choice was very conscious, but others grew into it organically. Do I want, as Chris Ducker said, to build a business of me? I had entertained the possibility. Still entertaining it, and still uncertain.
  6. I can get some super cool business cards from Moo.
  7. Twitter is a strange place and I don’t quite understand it yet. I welcome all pointers, ideas, and suggestions on making sense of it.
  8. Portland has definitely caught the interest of travel bloggers everywhere, because it was in the top 5 US destinations based on a survey of Travel Blogging Exchange members. Does that mean it has also caught the interest of all other travelers? Perhaps. So strange that I only live 3 hours away, and don’t go more often.
  9. I need to get to Cuba before everyone else gets there and changes it.
  10. There’s a thing called Periscope, which lets you live-stream things, or watch things that are being live-streamed. Not sure how I feel about that either. Will it be the new YouTube? Come to think of it, I have yet to get into YouTube…
  11. I have become such an utter Seattleite that I was actually delighted to return to the rain. My hair hates Florida. So does my skin.

There are more thoughts rolling around my head, but this is all you guys get for now. There will likely be changes, and I hope they will be changes for the better. I hope you stay with me through all the post-TBEX and post-Blogging 201 fine-tuning!

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