How do you spend your last week as a travel blogger? At a travel blogging conference, obviously.
Last year I went to TBEX Dublin and left with more inspiration, more motivation, to take my blog where I wanted it to go than I had ever had before.
And then my laptop got stolen a week later and I couldn’t do anything for nearly two months.
This year I went to TBEX Athens and left with more inspiration, more motivation, to take my blog where I wanted it to go than I had ever had before.
And then I came home a few days later and threw myself into jet lag and my new old job.
TBEX, a travel blogging conference held twice (soon to be thrice) a year, was my last stop before heading home to go back to work full time. I joked on how silly it was that I was spending my last week as a travel blogger at a travel blogging conference. And then I joked again that I was kidding: I was never a travel blogger to begin with.
I sometimes wonder why I ever have any desire to go to TBEX, to any travel blogging conference. This was my third one: Vancouver many moons ago, Dublin last year, and now Athens. On all accounts, I shouldn’t want to go. I’ve never considered this a travel blog. Networking scares me. I hate bloggers who are only concerned with making money and scoring free travel*. I still have trouble thinking that blogging could or should ever be a business. Plus the more conferences you go to, the more you just hear same old regurgitated information, time and time again.
But I love going to TBEX if, for no other reason, because it’s like a high school reunion full of people I actually want to see. There are those bloggers I met somewhere on the road. There are those bloggers I met somewhere online. There are those bloggers who I met the year before at the last conference. There are those people who are now some of my best friends who I only get a chance to see once, maybe twice a year.
And then there are those new friends. Like Katrinka. Like Emma. Who I happened, last-minute, to end up in an apartment rental with. Who I ended up in many conversations with about our blogs and what we hope for our futures. Who ended up being my travel blogging soul mates.
And then there were the parties. And the after parties. Where I stay up drinking, dancing, mingling, until way too late in the morning.
And then, I suppose, there was the conference itself. Where, mixed in with some of those regurgitated sessions, were ones so brilliantly inspiring. Sessions on building your brand (something that will be my focus in 2015), social media, freelancing.
I left Athens, like I leave each conference, knowing I’ve found my best colleagues, friends, inspired to focus on creating better content, motivated to do what I need to do.
And so, as I settle back home having no desire to write (I promise that will stop soon. OK, I hope that stops soon). As I refocus my blog. As I refocus my life. I’ll still probably go again next year. And the next. (Assuming I can find some time off of work.) To see my friends. To get inspired. To get motivated all over again.
*I don’t mean all y’all.