Last week I headed to London for the #MEARCATSCanada event at The Drift and the TNT Travel Show at Earl’s Court. As usual with travel blogger events, the weekend was accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol and plenty of conversations similar to the one in Cailin O’Neil’s ‘Shit Travel Bloggers Say’.
I was able to put the faces to a few more Twitter handles, and catch up with bloggers I hadn’t seen in a while. I made some new friends too.
The weekend’s events got me to thinking about where my travel blogging has brought me today.
When I began blogging 3 years ago, there were no Tweetups or casual travel blogger events. TBEX was still relatively new, and it was too far for me to go. It felt like travel blogging was really in its infancy, and although I knew there were other travel bloggers out there, my communication with them was somewhat limited.
But then something happened…the first Travel Bloggers Unite was held in my home town of Manchester and I met the people behind some of the travel blogs I was reading. I kept in touch with them, and met up with everyone again at World Travel Market, where bloggers were recognized as members of press for the first time. There has been an explosion of events on the travel blogging social calendar, from small gatherings to large conferences.
I had no idea that travel blogging would introduce me to so many people who were just like me. People who love travel. People who want to break out of the cubicle. People with entrepreneurial spirit. People who are paving the way in an industry that is new and on the cusp of something great.
I can have geeky conversations with other bloggers knowing I won’t be met with a blank stare. I can talk to people who know what it’s like to juggle travel with running websites. I don’t have to feel guilty about trying to find a restaurant with Wi-Fi when we go out for lunch. Bottom line is, I can mix with people who get it.
Since I work online, some people ask me whether I miss having the social interaction of a workplace. But there are tons of bloggers just like me, and I get to see them at social events or talk to them online. There’s still a professional vibe, even if I don’t commute to an office every day.
Anyway, back to the weekend’s events:
MEARCATS #6: A Touch of Canada
Held at The Drift, a swanky bar at Heron Tower, the March edition of Mearcats saw us making our own cocktails and enjoying yummy food platters. Nim from the Canadian Tourism Commission had the innovative idea of attaching her business cards to teddy bears, cute!
TNT Travel Show
The TNT Travel Show sponsored by Flight Centre took place at Earl’s Court and the exhibitors consisted mainly of tour companies offering major discounts. There were several seminars throughout the day, and fellow blogger Dylan Lowe aka @TravelingEditor hosted a seminar called ‘Becoming a travel blogger – reality, myths and the vagabonding lifestyle’. Well done to all the speakers, who had to compete with the sounds of the entertainment coming from the Kathmandu Big Stage. Lots of pies were consumed from the Aussie Pie Company, as well as numerous Laško beers and shots of vodka. Everyone congregated at the Travel Massive Tweetup before heading to more bars, and as usual there were plenty of hungover Tweets the following day!
Final note: I expect 2012 will be a great year for travel blogging and I hope to see you all at other events over the course of the year.