There are probably as many reasons to go to TBEX as there are people going.

Today’s Guest Post from speaker Tracey Friley explains that what she expected from TBEX and what she got out of TBEX are two different things.  Different in the very best way possible!

—-

Tracey Friley

Tracey with a new TBEX friend

TBEX was the first travel blogging conference I ever attended. In fact, it was just last year in June 2011 in lovely – and I do mean lovely – Vancouver, Canada. Touted as the biggest travel blogging conference in the world, I thought it would be (1) cool to hang out in Vancouver; and (2) cool smart to go to a conference I’d never been to. A lifelong traveler, I had just a few months prior won a national travel writing award and wasn’t sure how or if I wanted to formally fit travel into my brand and onto my blog. So off to Vancouver I went…with no strategy in mind and with no idea of what to expect.

Funny how one little conference can change your life. Read > Never in a Million Years.

So here we are just about one year later and I feel like this is an anniversary of sorts; TBEX is coming up again…and this time with new owners. Boy oh boy. What a difference a year makes. Not only did my global awareness initiative for pre-teen girls receive full funding from Expedia as a result of being in the right place at the right time (TBEX11), but I’m speaking more, my visibility has increased, and yes, so have the opportunities. And you can’t beat that with a stick.

Needless to say, I’m a TBEX advocate and plan to go again this year…and let me tell you why:

  1. Because of the opportunities. I should reiterate that I did not go to TBEX with a plan or strategy last year and there are loads of folks that will tell you that isn’t the best way to take on a conference. (For the record, however, I always have a plan for my business that I’m able to regurgitate on cue.) But my personal truth is that any small successes I’ve had have occurred because there was an opportunity that presented itself and I acted on it authentically. I didn’t push or insinuate myself in any situations. I just sat back and waited for the right opportunity to show up…and boy did it ever. And because with each passing year TBEX gets better, it only makes sense that the opportunities will get better as well.
  2. Because of the tips. Face it; you don’t need anyone to tell you how to blog, but you might need some tips to take your blog/business to that next level everyone says we should aim for. With more than 35 speakers at TBEX this year, surely you’ll glean something you can take home and use. You know what I mean: That one nugget of wisdom that changes your entire view about your brand that you can’t wait to get home to implement. I just love it when that happens.
  3. Because of the people. There is something to be said for spending time with like-minded people; people with wanderlust and tons of travel stories to share and destinations to dream about. And while I showed up solo last year (my typical MO) and some random dude told me I should change my brand name to something other than OneBrownGirl *snort*, I met some really nice people that I’m still in touch with today.
  4. Because of the location. I have participated in my fair share of seasonal outdoor activities and sports, but I have never been to Keystone, Colorado and I’m looking forward to checking out this part of America’s Great Outdoors. There’s even a super cool road rally that will take attendees from Denver to Keystone that will highlight many local points of interest. Of course, you can make this adventure anything you want it to be. I’ve decided to go to at least one of the pre-trip Denver activities at the Denver Art Museum – Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective, and will spend the week prior to TBEX in Denver at The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa (they’re hosting The Denver Passport Party), and look forward to the spa treatments getting to know the city better as well. *Grin*
  5. Because travel dreams can come true. Sitting back and not showing up is not an option if you want your travel dreams realized…no matter what they might be. And while there are no guarantees that you’ll end up with the Golden Ticket, you’ve got to be in it to win it. IMHO: If I were you, I would take my chances.

Look. In my view, TBEX is the place to be this June. Whether you go to forge relationships with PR firms, with other bloggers, or directly with brands; or whether you are there to learn about the host cities or get specific tips and feedback from speakers, I can’t think of another place in the US that focuses on the travel blogging community in this way.

I’m going. Are you?