This weekend is the TBEX conference in Toronto. Of course, you’re wondering what the hell is TBEX and why does it matter to a traveller? From a Trini perspective, it’s like Carnival for travel bloggers. It’s the the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, and new media content creators – so this is a pretty big deal for anyone who is in travel/social media game.
Nothing about physically travelling bugs me anymore. I can take last minute trips to the far ends of the planet like Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, yet as a newbie TBEX attendee about to attend my first conference with over 1000 other travel bloggers, where there will be several major potential travel companies all looking to make connections – I can’t say I’m not nervous. As my day job affords my life of travel and bouncing around, the main reason for wanting to attend this conference is about a new challenge and to learn what’s going on. Networking with other travel bloggers will be great and while I do want to learn about all the things I should be doing as a blogger – I also recognize that I’ll never be a global blogger – it’s too much work for far too little pay. That being said, I do want to learn from others who are living with the same travel passions and wanderlust, while sharing it with the masses. Making some connections to help grow my blog and maybe learn a couple things to share with Trini and Caribbean bloggers is just a bonus
Now if I were going about this whole thing as a professional and if it weren’t in Toronto, I would layout the number of tasks, but then I found a task list online and then I put my thoughts about those tasks …
- Book a Hotel – I live here … no hotel for me.
- Book Pre-TBEX Workshops and Tours – Missed all the deadlines
- Get Business Cards Printed – I have company ones, but I really do need to print some personal ones. Last minute time!
- Research Sponsors – As if!
- Try and get Speed Dating Appointments – I will get some of these.
- Prepare a Media package – What?!? As if!
- Prepare an Elevator pitch – I sell and deliver technology and bullshit on a daily basis. I know how to do an elevator speech like a pro!
- Research other TBEX Travel Bloggers – like what? Go research other travellers? LOL!!!!
- Prepare Article Ideas – Hmmmm, what could I possibly write about that others haven’t written about, aside from doing weekend press trips to Trinidad and trying to create something there?
I did think about the glorified prostitution that travel blogging for press trips are. Let’s not mistake things though … we’re all prostitutes and whores in some way or form. The way we prostitute ourselves before the almight dollar takes different forms, but “prostitution” it is, nonetheless. I’ve been writing about my travels for many years – and I have become a slightly better writer from reading much better travel blogs, but I’ve been doing this before it became “a thing”. I never did the travelling teacher thing … too much work, too little pay and you sacrifice your long term financial goals to do it. I don’t work in advertising so I’ve only become aware of professional travel bloggers, press trips and sponsors in the last three years. I take VERY little advertising on my site and I don’t solicit it because I don’t need the “income” to run my blog or travel.
Maintaining my objectivity while travelling is extremely important to me (even though I completely shill for SPG – but that’s only because they’ve done so much for me on the road) … which is why I’m not made out to be a full time travel blogger — I’m horrible at social media and even worst at posting to deadlines. I write my blog for me and as a lovely consequence I’ve been able to inspire others with my travel adventures!
This all being said … what does a crowd of 1,000 travel lovers look like? I don’t know yet but this will be the biggest TBEX yet. I missed out onthe pre and post-TBEX Toronto tours, available May 30, May 31, and June 3. But there are parties …
- Opening party hosted by Toronto Tourism on May 31
- An Expedia party on June 1.
- Tons of companies who’ll be there, ready to meet with travel bloggers.
So all in all … I’m going to TBEX ’13 … I recognize that accepting any press trips that come from this endeavor will come with a price to be paid, but I’m pretty sure that I can strike a balance between doing my own thing and the press trip.
Would you take a free press trip, if you could only say “positive” things, even if there was something negative that happened?