Slideshow: My First TBEX Experience

All in all, my first TBEX experience was wonderful. There were a lot of first-timers as well as veterans, so it was a great mix.

The conference had lectures and smaller sessions during the day, many of which I found useful – like branding advice, how to get sponsorship and even how to create and pitch your own TV travel show (favorite quote: “Tell a story and make it about the story. If it’s about you, it’s a therapy session!”).  My sister always said I should be on camera (got to love family) and I like to tell stories so I think it’s time I made travel videos, don’t you think? Next trip.

In addition to connecting with a few wonderful folks in PR and pro travel journalists (including having lunch with fascinating, award-winning travel journalist Christopher Baker), it was great to finally meet some of my virtual travel blogger friends in real life after many months and in some cases, years: April of Absolute Travel Addict, Kara of The Vacation Gals, Erin of Our Tasty Travels, Lillie of Teaching Traveling and Robin of Robins Have Wings. The funniest comment was probably from Kara, who said she didn’t recognize me all covered up (in my sweater and coat)  because she always saw photos of me online in sundresses. Ha! That tells you where I’ve traveled the past few years.

And Keystone, Colorado? What a picturesque, peaceful location. The altitude did kick me hard and I had a headache the first couple of days (so much for thinking my Ethiopian-born self could handle it).  Not to mention, one beer felt like three at once, so I didn’t go too crazy (all that free wine too, such a shame).

I put together this slideshow below (to some Caribbean steel pan music, of course) to give you a quick peak into my TBEX weekend. Would you believe, I barely took out my SLR and have about 10 shots.  The rest are courtesy of my Instagram app.

Just as soon as I recover fully and process all my thoughts, I’ll be posting about my most inspiring moment and lesson of the weekend.

Oh and a big thanks to Absolute Travel Addict who treated me to dinner on our last night and to Visit St. Louis for my morning breakfast on the ride to the airport. The travel community is full of wonderful folks.

Ready? Click Play and watch that volume.

Snapshots: my First Tbex Slideshow: Lily’s trip from Washington, United States to Keystone, Colorado was created by TripAdvisor. See another Keystone slideshow. Take your travel photos and make a slideshow for free.

Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning travel journalist, photographer, and guidebook author specializing in the Caribbean region. Her work has been published in major travel publications, including CNN, AFAR, Delta Sky, Lonely Planet, Shermans Travel, and BBC, among others. A self-professed "culture-holic," Lily left her native Ethiopia at age one, fast developing a passion for the expat Caribbean life. In 2008, she ditched her US corporate law career for the road and created Sunshine and Stilettos—a travel photography blog showcasing authentic ways to experience the Caribbean, through culture and nature. Lily has since partnered with Caribbean tourism boards and travel brands on major content projects. She also authors print guidebooks on three destinations, including Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. Read more on her site,

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  1. Candice 19 June, 2012 at 11:41 AM #

    So sad I missed out on TBEX this year! Next year!

  2. Lebawit Lily Girma 19 June, 2012 at 11:46 AM #

    Candice, it was fun! What about TBEX in September, Costa Brava?

  3. April D. Thompson 19 June, 2012 at 12:04 PM #

    Love this post! I think that sums it all up quite nicely. good people, good food, good info, great time! Very glad we finally connected in real life!

  4. Lebawit Lily Girma 19 June, 2012 at 12:43 PM #

    Thanks, April! It sure was and I’m super glad we connected as well, Not to mention, you and Casey were total saviors planning that condo & car for us!

  5. Robin 19 June, 2012 at 1:07 PM #

    Lily! What a lovely way to recapture TBEX. The best part for me was connecting with people like you and April who love travel as much as I do. I look forward to staying in touch…

  6. Lebawit Lily Girma 19 June, 2012 at 1:22 PM #

    Thanks, Robin! And ditto – it is really wonderful to be among fellow pro travel addicts (no pun intended, April, LOL). Please do stay in touch and I will as well.

  7. Katherine - Kapcha 19 June, 2012 at 5:22 PM #

    Wow looks awesome. Am so jealous. Wish I could have been there. Are you planning on going to Spain?

  8. Lebawit Lily Girma 19 June, 2012 at 11:19 PM #

    It sure was, Katherine – wish you could have gone as well. Hmm…not sure about Spain because of the crazy airfares to Europe this summer, although I did grab an early bird conference ticket when they first announced it! I’d love to experience Costa Brava and more of Catalunya though, I could see it being amazing for photos.

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