I’m sitting here writing about TBEX almost a week after it happened. This is because I have been so exhausted from the whirlwind that is TBEX it has taken this long to get enough energy and mental capacity to string a proper sentence together. So, lets see how well I can explain what my first TBEX experience was like.
The Information – This is the main reason I went ahead and bought my TBEX ticket after debating whether to go or not for months. Being new to this whole travel blogging thing, I figured the seminars would hold useful information for me to take this to the next level. For me, the most useful seminars was from Ian Cleary about building an audience with social media. He gave great insight to different social media tools (like BetaOut and HootSuite) to get people to your page and generally be more efficient with social media (something I never really focused on). Bruce Poontip from G Adventures gave another one of my favourite talks about the noble pursuit of travel blogging. He was definitely inspirational and I left knowing I need to be more aware of my affects as a traveller and a blogger. By the end of the weekend, I had over 6 pages of scribbled information in my notebook and a lot of work to do.
The People – With the conference number being over 1300 people, I was intimidated. I’m not one for large crowds. They tend to create situations I have difficulty navigating. Turns out the people became my favorite part of the whole weekend. Everyone I met was friendly, relaxed, and welcoming. I should have known this going into it. I mean, it’s a conference of travellers. Travellers are always the most open people. That’s just our nature. We talked travel a lot (obviously) and exchanged some tips. There was also just a lot of hanging out, including a bowling game after the opening kick-off party which ended up being a hilarious spectacle. I got to meet some incredible people who I know I will stay in close contact with now that the conference is over.
The Party – Starting on the Thursday before the conference, the party started with an amazing event put on by Toronto Travel Massive. I attend Travel Massive regularly and so I wasn’t surprised that the night was filled with amazing Canadian themed food and drink. From there, the party didn’t stop. The opening party put on by Tourism Toronto with incredible food, drink, and performance from Serena Ryder, there couldn’t have been a better Friday night. I made friends with some fellow bloggers that night with whom I went bowling with as previously mentioned. Saturday, Expedia continued the party at Toronto’s Center Island giving us a beautiful view of the Toronto skyline at night, along with more food and drink (because what’s a party without that). I was pretty blown away by the effort put into creating a great time for us to just relax and socialize on top of the actual conference.
My TBEX was a whirlwind experience that I will never forget. I left it with new friends and a reignited enthusiasm to continue this blog and really make the most out of it. It was everything I could have wanted. I’m definitely going to do everything I can to go to TBEX next year since TBEX Dublin in October is out of my reach. If you’re on the fence about attending TBEX like I was, just do it!! I’m sending all my peer pressure to get you to go. I’m sure you’ll thank me after.