Last weekend I attended TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) 2010 conference in New York City. I initially felt concerned that being a newbie in the blogging world, everyone at TBEX would be so much more experienced and savvy. Plus, due to the nature of my blog not being completely travel-focused, I was worried about not really fitting in.
I often wish I had started travel blogging years ago to write about my travel adventures and share my wisdom on traveling with children. They’ve both had passports since the minute they came into this world, and I started traveling with them as soon as they were secure in my womb to places far, far away and plenty of places right here in the U.S. I’ve also spent 10 years working in travel publishing, as lead marketer for many of the top guides including Frommer’s, Michelin, Mobil, the Insight Guides, the Unofficial Guides and the For Dummies travel guides. So, I know travel.
But I stalled, and I’ve just started out in the blogging world. I’ve joined the team at TravelingMom.com to get myself orientated in the world of family travel blogging and I have my own blog which encompasses travel as a topic that is important to my heart.
However, at TBEX I quickly discovered that the travel blogging world is still very young – it’s in its infancy. There were people on the panels who have only been blogging for a few years, and certainly many people in the audience were in the same boat. Yet many also had recently started out just like myself.
What I found really interesting about this group was that everyone possesses such passion about travel blogging. They all love to travel and they love to write about it, and they certainly love to talk about it. Plus, they all really like each other and support each other.
Panel topics included travel videos, working with PR, travel writing ethics, travel writing ethics, freebies and disclosure and SEO. Everyone was brutally honest on what they do and the advice was priceless. The speakers were experts, many of whom I follow regularly.
Evelyn Hannon from JourneyWoman had the greatest impact on me. Now 70 years old, she talked about how her marriage broke up at age 42. She lay on the floor for a few days and cried. When she was able to get up, she decided to travel for a month and see where the roads would take her. She said she has had the most amazing life as a result. She was so inspiring. For me, at age 40, at a time of my life where I’m raising kids and question so many things about myself and where I’m going in life, she was proof that if you love something, you can make it happen.
So, on the first day of the conference, I just took it all in. I felt like an insider looking in. But that was okay. It was, by the way, my first blogging conference ever.
The next day, I was determined to seek out my fellow bloggers who focus on family travel. I met the ladies behind MotherofAll Trips, TheQFamilyAdventures, MomMostTraveled, TheVacationGals, NYCityMama, Have Baby Will Travel, GlobeTrottingMama, UrbanMoms.ca, TheTripChicks, Ciao Bambino and DeliciousBaby. Some of us went out to lunch and I learned once again, that I am not so late in the game. I felt an instant bond with these amazing women and felt as though I could learn a lot from each of them. I wished I could spend more time with them, hear them speak about their blogs and backgrounds.
At the end of the conference, the organizers announced that TBEX would be held in Vancouver next year. Seeing that there were a lot of Canadians in the audience, the announcement was met with glee. Most of the people in the room spent time drinking and partying together during the conference and developed such bonds in the process that they will all surely be back next year. I hope I’m there, too, and that I get over my shyness right away and join in the fun.
My first step will be to start a blog focusing solely on travel. Stay tuned.