How to give up on World Travel Market and just get drunk.
You could say that my time at World Travel Market (this big deal exhibition in London where tourism boards from every country set up big elaborate booths and travel bloggers go around trying to get free trips or “form relationships” or whatever) was a complete failure. While many of my travel blogging friends had meeting left and right and schmoozed their way into a calendar full of press trips, I walked around aimlessly, avoiding eye contact, and just wanting to curl up in a corner and cry.
And then a panda bear kind of molested me.
And then a guy who owns a boat company in Brazil asked me when I lost my virginity in a meeting.
And then I totally kissed a married man while drunk at an after party.
This is my life.
I’ve said before, I’m not good at this whole “being a travel blogger” thing. Really, I hadn’t even planned on going. But I was going to be in London while it was going on anyways. And there were parties involved. So, why the hell not.
So, I suppose, you could also say that my time at WTM was a success. I mean, I did figure out early on that most every booth had happy hours full of free appetizers and booze. So you could really just booth hop all day, drinking in The Philippines and Ireland and Argentina, and get super wasted before 6pm.
I also managed to drunkenly almost pitch to a sex hotel in Jamaica.
I’m totally professional.
Ever since TBEX I’ve been trying to find my place in this crazy world of travel blogging.
I mean, I want to grow my blog. I want to support my travels because eventually my savings account is going to run dry.
But I don’t want to lose myself.
And I can’t really see myself writing about press trips or reviewing a hostel.
At least not right here.
In conversations, during the course of WTM, three people said things to me that really hit me.
First there was Ed, who described my blog to someone as an “emotional journey.” A phrase that I’ve now adopted. I like it, and it’s true. I think.
Then there was Kristin, and for the life of me I can’t remember what exactly it was that she said about my blog. But I can remember that it made me tear up that it was so sweet.
Then there was Michael, who told someone that I was different because I focused more on the people than the places.
And those three wonderful friends made me realize that maybe I do have an important niche.
I just have some work to do.
After TBEX, after WTM, I had so many ideas for directions I can take. So that, maybe, one of these days, I can really be totally professional and not just use conferences as an excuse to get drunk. And, now, over a month after the event, I’m back at home trying to work on getting some things in motion. (Since I have a laptop again! I ordered one on black Friday and it was delivered the day after I returned to Chicago.)
Because I hope to keep taking everyone on this emotional journey around the world.