TBEX 2011

Top ten ways to write a top ten list about top ten lists.

Vancouver TBEX Travel Blogging Conference 2011.

I’d never been to a conference before, but I’d been looking forward to TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) for a while. I first heard about TBEX through Twitter hashtags while it was going on in Chicago two summers ago. And then I didn’t get my act together to go last year in New York. And so I decided to go this year, to Vancouver, to my first conference ever.

So I booked my ticket and grabbed a flight to Seattle and a train to Vancouver because it was way cheaper. And luckily my flight out of O’Hare left only an hour late due to earlier storms (one that was supposed to leave 3 hours before mine hadn’t left yet when I did). And I got to my airport hotel around midnight. And some guy who I briefly talked to at reception kept trying to call my room. I just wanted to sleep.

In the morning I took a train full of travel bloggers into Vancouver. And then I checked into my hotel where I put on Canadian HGTV (there is no difference because most of the shows on American HGTV are filmed in Canada anyways) and promptly fell asleep.

That night I headed to the TBEX North America opening party. It was a great mix of meeting new people and meeting people I’d only ever met through Twitter. Afterwards we wound our way through streets of hockey fans in search of a bar that wasn’t overrun. We settled on a restaurant that could fit us at three different tables.

Vancouver hockey fans celebrate

The next morning the conference officially began. I won’t bore you with details of every session. But I will say that it seemed like a lot of people had the general consensus that the conference was too basic and that there wasn’t too much to be learned. I feel the same way.

It also seemed like a lot of people wanted to know some concrete golden rules that just don’t exist. Like in one session where someone asked “what’s the ideal length for a post?” And the panel basically came up with “it depends.” So the next person raised their hand and asked “but really, what’s the ideal length?”

So I didn’t learn much new or anything really concrete that I could hold on to. But I did feel like I came out with a renewed passion. I know this blog has become more about posting random photos and lists of things I’ve done and doesn’t at all reflect who I am as a writer. I somehow lost that somewhere. So ever since I’ve been trying to craft my posts with a little more care. Even if it’s just a random list of food I’ve cooked. 🙂

Anyways, back to the parties…

On Saturday, after the conference, we headed over to the Tripadvisor after party…where I ate poutine. And…WON AN IPAD! (Seriously, they drew my name out the list of attendees and I won an iPad!!!)

eating poutine

Side note: apparently Amanda and I are twins. I was told I looked like her twice and was actually mistaken for her two other times.

And then we cut out for the Men of TBEX party. Now, here’s the thing. This party was a calendar shoot of twelve travel blogging men voted on before the conference. And it was invite only and each of the guys got to invite a certain amount of people. And I got one of these mystical invites. And I still have not a clue of who put me on their list. Does anyone want to claim their responsibility here?? Anyone?

But anyways.

The party was full of free drinks, crazy men in sashes, and meeting up with way more people (including running into someone I went to grad school with).

TBEX Vancouver 2011 - Men of TBEX Party

girls of TBEX

TBEX Vancouver 2011

TBEX Vancouver 2011

It also may have involved breaking into the calendar shoot props…

Calendar Val

Girls gone  TBEX

Sunday was more conference time. More learning and skipping out on sessions I hadn’t done my homework for…oops.

And then, after the conference ended, I had a lazy night of getting dinner with Ali, Andrew, and Katie. It was nice to just really get to know a few people who have the same passions in life that I do.

Dinner in Vancouver

So I left the TBEX travel blogging conference with new in real life friends and with a greater desire to write and with a new iPad and with some clarity on a totally unrelated note thanks to Katie and still with no clue who invited me to that party.

And so I guess you can call it a successful weekend.

I’ve attended four TBEX travel blogging conferences:

TBEX Vancouver

TBEX Dublin

TBEX Athens

TBEX Bangkok

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Roy | Cruisesurfingz
    July 2, 2011at4:09 am

    New iPad?? That’s pretty sweet!

  • Andrew
    July 25, 2011at4:36 pm

    That was a fun night meeting you and talking with the 4 of us. Probably the best of the weekend.

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