Tag Archives: travel blogging

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.

Why I’m Heading to My First TBEX

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” ~ Woody Allen


After five weeks at home, I’m getting on plane again and I can’t tell you how excited I am to get out of town.

I’m headed to Colorado on Friday for the annual Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) Conference.

It’s my first time attending and it’s thinking about the concept of “showing up to succeed” that convinced me to shoo away the doubts and just go.

When I first started blogging in December 2008, I had no strategy, no plans to make income from my site or seek sponsorship. I didn’t anticipate the growth of the travel blogging industry. I just wanted an outlet to share experiences from my first long term trip to Jamaica, after leaving a job I held for seven years. I was a traveler long before becoming an attorney, and I wanted a way to go back to that.

I posted for the sheer joy of showing others how amazing travel and culture are – from food to music  – and photography was my medium. I had a small group of followers – part Jamaica lovers, part travelers and folks who admired my courage of stepping off the grid. And family and friends, of course. But a bigger audience than I expected.

It didn’t take long for me to realize, while in Jamaica, that blogging is a full time gig. I knew early on I couldn’t do both writing and photography at once. I decided to focus on learning professional photography. I shared my images weekly and blogged when I had extra time.

Within eight months of travel and over the next two years, my travel images were published in several outlets and I had landed a major Tourism Board photography assignment. That’s when I started thinking about revamping my blog, increasing my Facebook presence and turning my site into a portfolio. Signing up for a MatadorU travel photography course kept me focused on this new blog direction I was taking. The old Facebook Page name “Lily Lily Images” morphed virtually into Sun and Stilettos (too bad Facebook won’t let me change the old name because I already had over 100 Likes).

A year after revamping my travel and photo blog, I was selected for the Road Warrior Program in Belize. I had a bigger >> Continue reading »