Register for TBEX Travel Writing Workshop at TBEX Asia 2015

Don George headshot

Don George wrote the book on travel writing. Literally. And as the co-founder and chairman of the acclaimed Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference, he knows a thing or two about teaching travel writing.

Don is returning to TBEX to teach this small group travel writing workshop, and we open registration for it today.

During the workshop, Don  will focus on the art and craft of travel writing: how to find, shape and build a successful travel story. You’ll learn what can make your travel story stand out from the crowd.  He’ll cover some of the practicalities of being a travel writer in the field – what to do when you land in a place, how to move through it, how to process what are you looking for.

The workshop will be a mix of lectures and in-the-field writing exercises and discussion.

Don’s goal – and ours – is for you to come away from this workshop with a clear sense of your options for travel publishing, how to construct a compelling travel story, what it takes to break into different media and how to move from one level to the next, and how to apprehend and evoke a place most effectively as a travel writer.

This small group session is limited to a maximum of 10 participants, and is open to registered TBEX Asia 2015 attendees only. Add on workshop fee is $200.

Register for the Travel Writing Workshop at TBEX Asia 2015 here.

 

The Nuts and Bolts: Why You Should Understand the Technology Behind Your Website.

The website, over the past several years, has evolved.  The web started out as a way for tech-savvy people and businesses to monotonously display their information.  Now, the web is an expression of the caricatures of the human race.  The moments of greatness – and the occasional moment of darkness – are displayed in full high-resolution for everyone to experience.  Centuries ago, only the rich and powerful could print words.  Now, the power of the press is available to anyone and everyone. A website is a beautiful representation of a person’s soul and passion.  Why, then, would a person not strive to understand the inner workings of their own soul?

Mitch CanterOK, maybe that’s a bit on the melodramatic side, but I do know this: learning the inner workings of a website empowers people.  It’s an amazing feeling to be able to fix a problem on your blog – especially since you don’t have to to call your web developer friend when something looks out of place.  Being able to make (or fix) something with your hands – even if that something is made of bits and bytes – is a great feeling.

The biggest deterrent, I’ve seen, is that people just don’t know what they don’t know.  They’ve stumbled haphazardly onto their WordPress theme editor and panicked at the sight of lines and lines of code.  To best understand what’s going on in our website, we must first know what we need to know.  When people ask me what they should learn, there are three things without fail that I recommend they study.

HTML

HTML tags are the fundamental building blocks of the internet.  No matter what language you write in, the resulting output is usually HTML.  HTML stands for “Hypertext Markup Language”, and serves the purpose of taking raw content and applying basic structure and form.  HTML won’t tell you how wide or what color something is, but it does provide the backbone for being able to set those attributes.  Paragraphs (<p>) are separated from headlines (<h1>) and lists (<ul> or <ol>), and documents go from a mass jumble of words to a neatly formatted set of instructions for the browser to follow.

CSS

HTML tags only display information.  It’s the CSS (Cascading Stylesheets) that takes that information and applies true form and style.  You can make those paragraphs grey, change the headlines’ font, and ensure your lists have a colored background.  You can even take whole sections of content and position them exactly where you want to on a page.  Most browsers already have styles built into them, but we can over-ride those styles by changing their rules in a stylesheet document – a top-down approach that “cascades” the style rules down a specific order of operation.

PHP (WordPress)

Now that we’ve determined the structure and color, we can start talking about the content.  Running a site that’s pure HTML is a daunting task.  Fortunately, content management systems like WordPress have made it easy to “templatize” a site – you supply the style and function rules, and the machine spits out your content depending on where you are.  Going to a single page pulls only that content from a database, and a category only shows posts that are specifically marked to show.

PHP uses defined functions – meaning that you can write rules that can then be called again and again as needed.  A WordPress site, at it’s most basic form, only changes the ID number to figure out which content to grab – everything else is just a template.Yes, this is a gross simplification of a larger process, but once you learn the basics it’s amazing what you realize you can do.  I encourage anyone who owns or operates a website to at least pick up a few of the basics.  Your website is an extension of you – it’s your place on the web to make art, write, and even sell your wares. And I’d dare say that having a website is no longer optional – not even for your regular people.

I do workshops weekly for people to learn the inner-workings of WordPress and other design-related topics (and I’ll be doing a Design & Tech Workshop in TBEX Athens to teach people some of the very things I talked about above).  I’ve seen people’s lives changed because the act of learning, even if it’s just a small fix here or there, has empowered them to make the most out of their website.  Learn the basics, take control of your website, and make the world a better place.  Who could ask for more?

Author Bio:  Mitch Canter is a WordPress Designer / Developer from Nashville, TN.  He strives to make the web a more beautiful place, and to empower his clients better understand WordPress and how to use it.  You can see his work at http://www.studionashvegas.com, and find helpful WordPress resources athttp://www.understandwp.com.

Why Photography Matters as a Travel Blogger

sunset athens

As travel bloggers, our primary role is that of content creators. We weave stories from our experiences to share with our readers.

We have a number of mediums to do that. The main four, in my mind, are Video, Audio, Text and Photography. None of these are easy, and like any skill they all take a significant amount of time and investment to properly master.

So where to focus your attention?

Personally, I believe that Photography is the easiest medium in terms of connecting with your audience quickly, and making a long lasting impact on a user.

Take this picture.

Eiffel Tower paris scaled

 

It’s a picture of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. But you know that already, right? I don’t need text to tell you.

I shared this picture on my Facebook Page, and it reached 148,000 people, organically. Here are the numbers, if you like that sort of thing.

paris screenshot

Now, I could have done a wall of text instead, a status update perhaps on my trip to Paris. Or a video, that people would have to decide to click, find their headphones, and then get distracted by a notification. Or a podcast, describing my adventure.

Those are all great options too. But for instant impact, for something that can’t be unseen, for something that transports your reader right there and then to the moment, a photo can’t be beaten.

Once you have your readers attention, without having to resort to headline titles such as 26 Reasons Why You Wouldn’t Believe Paris Has Kittens In Every Window, you’re well over half way to having an audience.

Another real world example: I have almost 300,000 facebook fans. My secret to success? It’s pretty simple really. Share great, unique, photos. My fans are passionate, engaged, and I love interacting with them and sharing my adventures.

Of course, it’s easy for me to say that it’s simple. Photography is not simple. There’s a lot of technical jargon. There are a lot of different ways to approach a subject. There’s a whole side to optimising your images for your blog, and optimising your blog for your images.

If you want to know a little bit more, and get real first-hand, unfiltered advice, on all aspects of your photography as a travel blogger, from the practical aspects through to using it to grow your community (and yes, some more tips on using Facebook beyond “share great stuff!”), then come along to the workshop I’m running with Daniel before TBEX – there are still a few spots left.

It does cost money, and yes, there is a bunch of great free stuff you could be doing instead. Investing in your skills though is something you won’t regret. I look forward to seeing you there!

Author Bio: A photographer, writer and traveller, Laurence has spent much of the last five years on the road, documenting his journeys and adventures at his popular travel and photography blog: Finding the Universe, which he runs with his partner Vera. He is also a founding member of Lightmoves Creative, a photography firm which offers bespoke photography and learning opportunities to brands and individuals.

 

Sign Up for FREE Video Workshop at TBEX Athens

TBEX Athens attendees who are interested in video have a few different ways to learn about their craft. Video is a big part of the storytelling process for Captain and Clark, something that they’ll be talking about in Saturday morning’s keynote. And on Friday we have a basic level breakout session on Easy Ways To Get Video Onto Your Blog.

peter_parkorr_travel_unmaskedFor those attendees who’d like to spend a little more time figuring out video blogging, we’re offering a FREE Video Workshop on Thursday, October 23rd, from 10 am-2 pm. The workshop will be led by Peter Parkorr. You must be registered for TBEX to attend.

What You Need To Know Now About Video For Blogging is a high-level overview of the video blogging marketplace, for intermediate bloggers who are new to video. From deciding if video is right for your blog, to creating, selling and getting the most out of your efforts, this workshop will broken into mini-sessions to help get you pointed in the right direction.

Topics covered will include:

  • Is video right for you and your blog?
  • Video essentials
  •     – Basic equipment checklist
  •     – Filming techniques to learn
  •     – Editing workflow and software
  • The case for Youtube versus other networks
  • Ways to monetise video;
  •     – How much should you charge?
  •     – What should you offer to sponsors and clients?
  • Learning more: Examples and resources

Sign up here, attendance is limited. 

There are lots of things to do in Athens before the official opening of TBEX, whether you prefer the indepth educational content of our two-day workshops, enjoying the pre-BEX activities, exploring on your own, or getting your feet wet in video with this 4-hour workshop. With this kind of programming diversity, we hope you’ll find just what you’re looking for to personalize your TBEX experience.

Have you registered yet?

Announcing TBEX Cancun Photography & Writing Workshops

We’re excited to announce that we’ve extended our new small group workshops to TBEX Cancun. If you’re interested in some extended time to hone your craft, these workshops, led by award winning instructors, are a value-priced add on to your TBEX Cancun registration.

Both workshops are offered on September 9-1oth, 10 am-4 pm (time approximate), at the Moon Palace Conference Center.

Travel Photography Workshop

Gary Arndt Cancun headshotTravel Photographer of the Year and professional travel blogger Gary Arndt will give hands on instruction to those who are looking to improve their photography and then integrate their photography into their websites and social media.

Topics covered will include:  learning how to get more out of your equipment, composition, travel considerations for your gear, post-processing, and more.

The second day of the workshop will include a photo shoot, giving participants the opportunity to put all the skills together in the field. Participants will select their best work from the photo shoot to create a short photo essay.

This small group session is limited to a maximum of 10 participants, and is open to registered TBEX Cancun attendees only. Add on workshop fee is $200.

Get more information about the specifics of the Travel Photography Workshop at TBEX Cancun and register here.

Travel Writing Workshop

Don George headshotDon George wrote the book on travel writing. Literally. And as the co-founder and chairman of the acclaimed Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference, he knows a thing or to about teaching travel writing.

In this travel writing workshop, Don will focus on the art and craft of travel writing: how to find, shape and build a successful travel story. What will make your travel story stand out from the crowd?  He’ll cover some of the practicalities of being a travel writer in the field – what to do when you land in a place, how to move through , how do to process, and what are you looking for.

The workshop will be a mix of lectures and in-the-field writing exercises and discussion.

Don’s goal – and ours – is for you to come away from this workshop with a clear sense of your options for travel publishing, how to construct a compelling travel story, what it takes to break into different media and how to move from one level to the next, and how to apprehend and evoke a place most effectively as a travel writer.

This small group session is limited to a maximum of 10 participants, and is open to registered TBEX Cancun attendees only. Add on workshop fee is $200.

Get more information about the specifics of the Travel Writing Workshop at TBEX Cancun  and register here.

 

Two More Workshops at TBEX Athens: Photography and Design and Technology

We’ve added on two more small, hands on, in depth, highly focused workshops for TBEX Athens and they are now open for registration.

These workshops provide a chance to work closely with an expert in the field, getting specialized attention, and answers to the challenges YOU face. It’s a chance to get up close and personal, learning from the best, in a way that can’t be done as part of the regular program with a larger audience.

Photography Workshop and Photo Walk

Laurence and DanielLed by Laurence Norah and Daniel Nahabedian, this workshop will help you become intimate with your camera, helping you learn how to get the most out of it.

Day one will review some basic concepts of photography, give you some tips on exposure, lighting, balance, lens types, and composition, and then you’ll get out and about in Athens on a photo walk. Day two will start off with a look at the photos, moving into post processing, then touch on developing a creative eye and breaking all the rules. The session will finish up with some time spent on the business of travel photography, including social media and SEO.

The class is limited to 20 people, keeping a 1:10 instructor to student ratio.

Click here for full details about the workshop and to register.

Website Design and Technology Workshop

headshot2000Led by world renowned web designer, developer, and fellow blogger Mitch Canter, this workshop focus on your site and what you want it to do.

You’ll learn about best practices in design, and how to use the technology that supports that, whether you’re an individual blogger and entrepreneur or a industry attendee representing a destination, hotel, or other travel and tourism brand. And you won’t just talk about it, you’ll be able to dig in and improve your site right there on the spot. Before the workshop, participants will be sent a survey with various questions about their specific wants and needs, allowing Mitch to customize the curriculum to best help YOU.

The class is limited to 10 people.

Click here for full details about the workshop and to register.

Both workshops will be help at the Megaron Conference Centre (the venue for all the TBEX education sessions). There is a $200 fee to register for each workshop, and is an add-on to standard TBEX registration. You  must be registered for TBEX Europe 2014 to register. No refunds; transfers are permitted.

Full details about each workshop, along with our previously announced Writers Workshop, can be found here.

Head on over to sign up before the spots are all gone.