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World Travel Market 2013

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 mean, I’ve taken a sex tour before so…).


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.

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

This was an appetizer with figs in it. Get it? I chose a fig. I crack me up.

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

The panda who molested me.

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

The sex hotel I almost pitched to.

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

World Travel Market 2013

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  • Tom @ Waegook Tom
    December 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Wait, so does this mean that you’re not going to write a post about a Jamaican sex hotel? I’m disappointed now.

    Stick true to yourself. What you do is great, and I love reading your posts as they are. I think ’emotional journey’ is a fab term for describing what is it that you do 🙂

  • Jessica
    December 17, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Everything I wanted to do and say at World Travel Market but didn’t allow myself . Although I did drink- a lot. I wouldn’t worry too much, you have a great style and voice- there is enough of the same blahbity blah out there already.

  • Chris
    December 17, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Keep at it Val – I love reading your blog heaps…it’s nice to have some personality and honesty in amongst all the same same but different stuff that fills up my feeds!

    And as for getting drunk instead of networking…I always do my best networking whilst drunk! Lets face it do you want to spend most of your day in meetings or sending emails or actually doing what you set out to do – explore the world, meet heaps of awesome people and have a fucking good time?

    If you don’t do that you might as well be stuck in an office in the US.

    Go get messed up and make some bad decisions 😉

  • Brendon @ NerdTravels
    December 18, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Love reading your posts :),your always so open and put everything out there I love it,don’t worry I was getting drunk most of the time at WTM as well haha.
    Keep at it and can’t wait to read about your next exciting escapades and #professionalbaddecisions haha

  • Hina
    December 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Hey Val, we met too, but early on.. I’ve never enjoyed a WTM so much, looks like you had a better time than me… so much for work! lol

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