Tag Archives: TBEX

TravelCon 2018: On Longevity, Building Community, and the Art of Pivoting in the Travel Industry

The last time I attended and invested in a travel blogging conference was 2012. I know – seven years ago. Back then there was only TBEX, the Travel Blogging Exchange. Attending once was helpful, but it still left me with a sense of uncertainty when I returned home. What’s next? What to do with all this content and knowledge I have on Caribbean destinations? Is it worth continuing this travel photography and blogging thing?

I was on the brink – one of many we have as entrepreneurs – of deciding whether to continue or whether to switch paths.

And then I saw an email in my inbox from one of my blog readers – it reminds now of the power of community, one of the topics at TravelCon. She was alerting me to an ad from Moon Guides, searching for the next Moon Belize author. The requirements were that you had to be a travel writer with at least five clips, as well as someone who loves and knows the destination and returns often. Six years have passed since I read the email and

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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.