A few weeks ago we attended the TBEX travel bloggers conference in Vancouver. Telling people this usually leads to a bewildered look and the question of “What on earth do you do at a travel bloggers conference?!”
Turns out there’s lots to do: We attended talks on writing, photography, video, research, search engine optimisation, monetisation and the many other facets that make up running a travel blog. But really it wasn’t about the sessions, it was about being in a room with 600 other people who share our passion for travel and writing about it.
Our best memories of the weekend aren’t of a particular talk or workshop but of the people we met, especially at the many parties with free booze aplenty. A particular highlight was the AM Resorts sunset boat trip in Vancouver’s harbour with views of shimmering highrises and snowy mountains.
Here are some of the awesome travel bloggers that we had the pleasure of spending time with at TBEX.
Leigh was kind enough to host us in her gorgeous home in West Vancouver and enjoying the sea views from her terrace was the perfect way to relax before the hectic weekend began. Leigh has travelled all over the world and besides regular trips abroad takes advantage of Vancouver’s wonderful location to bike, hike, kayak and ski whenever she can.
We met up with Gareth a few times in South America and he was on top form in Vancouver: always hilarious, positive and indefatigable. We love the way he travels – staying longer in one place to really get to know the culture, learn the language, date the women and have crazy adventures. In true ‘townie’ style he didn’t avoid the hockey riot in Vancouver like we did but braved the tear gas, fires and angry mob to film this disturbing video.
We have followed Keith’s site since its early days and it was a highlight of the weekend to finally meet him. He quit his job to follow his travel writing dream and now focuses on travel to Scotland. He is one of the most thoughtful travel bloggers out there.
Lisa is a pleasure to spend time with – cheerful, down to earth and she managed to make us all look great with her mad photography skills. Following an epic 3.5 year round the world trip she’s now based in Chicago working as a TV producer. She led one of the most useful TBEX panels about video and you can hire her services to help improve your videos at LL Media.
On our way to Vancouver we stopped off in our favourite city San Francisco, and arranged a meetup with Kristin at the Museum of Modern Art. In hindsight this wasn’t the best choice of venues as although it’s a beautiful museum we couldn’t focus on the art as all we wanted to do was talk travel! Luckily we met up with Kristin again in Vancouver for more travel chat. She was one of the most enthusiastic, warm and uncynical people at TBEX. Check out her blog for great advice on planning a big trip.
It was thanks to Akila’s advice that we ate so well in Savannah and Jacksonville, and we were keen to meet up with a fellow vegetarian foodie traveller. She’s great fun to be around. Akila and her husband are permanent travellers about to embark on an extended trip around Europe with their dogs – as always we expect great photos, stories and droolworthy food tips.
Some of the most thoughtful conversations I had over the weekend were with Dave – he’s an intelligent, genuine, lovely guy. His blog is full of well written posts on travel and following your passion. We hope to cross paths with him again in the future – possibly in the travel blogger capital Chiang Mai, Thailand later in the year.
Mike is definitely a big personality – alternating between hilarious charmer and disheveled, grumpy antagonist, we could never quite be sure when he was being serious. We do know not to deny him his morning coffee though! He was outspoken in his complaints about TBEX and has some excellent suggestions for improving the content next year.
Canada was the third country we have crossed paths with Ryan and it’s always good to chat about Spanish learning tips, reminisce about Colombia and exchange zombie survival tactics.
It was great to meet Nico the guy behind the AirTreks blog and Twitter account. It can be hard to let your personality shine through when you are in charge of social media for a company, but it turns out that Nico is sweet, smart and articulate – read his post on meeting other travellers for an example of this.
The life of the party as always (despite not drinking), it was fun to meet Benny the Irish Polyglot again and listen to his inspiring speech on how language learning is possible for everyone and doesn’t have to be difficult.
Most people we met at TBEX we ‘knew’ online previously, but Corbin was a new discovery (his site is a great resource for budget travel in Canada). It turns out he is lovely, a WordPress geek like Simon and a fan of British accents.
Jeannie is awesome! As a former Vancouver resident she introduced us to the beautiful city by organising a pre-TBEX party in a perfect location on Granville Island and taking us to her favourite vegetarian restaurant. She’s a lot of fun and is leading an inspiring life.
One of the problems with TBEX is never having enough time to talk to everyone you want to. We met Lorna briefly over the weekend but luckily she stuck around in Vancouver for the following week and we got a chance to talk properly while waiting for the Canucks to lose. Gentle yet ballsy Lorna effortlessly dispatched a sleaze at the pub and braved the hockey riots in order to document the chaos. She’s just started a solo RV tour of North America and then has the wonderful gift of free flights anywhere in the world – we hope they bring her somewhere along our route.
I could go on and on – I know I’m missing many more awesome bloggers that we met in Vancouver like Cam & Nicole of the Traveling Canucks, Adam from World Travel for Couples, Audrey of Travel Footprints, Where is Jenny, Jodi the Legal Nomad, Shannon from A Little Adrift and Dylan the Travelling Editor (and fellow Brit).
It was such a pleasure to meet them all and we’d like to thank everyone for an absolutely fantastic weekend!
See our Facebook Page for more photos of the weekend.