You might have noticed on my social media over the last week that I’ve been mingling with a lot of fellow travel bloggers – and there’s been heavy useage of the hashtag #TBEX – this has been because I travelled to Dublin for the annual European instalment of the Travel Blog Exchange…or in a world where everything is simplified…TBEX!
So what is TBEX, why the hell was I there and what went on?!
If you were to combine a heap of world nomads (about 500!), a good selection of industry reps, some very generous sponsors, some equally awesome hosts and then put them in a room with a free bar, more Jäger than is clinically safe and then let everything run riot you’d have TBEX…or the after parties at least!
In all seriousness though TBEX is designed for bloggers to meet up (which can be a nightmare given our lifestyles) attend talks on subjects like SEO, social media and photo editing and also have a heap of time to generally network, mingle with some big names in the travel industry – and of course do what we do best…talk travel and party!
So Why Did I Go?!
I’ve never attended an event like it before – so why would I travel all the way back from the glorious heat and fun of Asia to sit hungover in a conference room and attempt to learn something?!
Well to be honest my only real plan was to put some faces to the people I chat shop with online – the internet friends who are dotted around the globe who share my passion and who I can learn a who heap from.
It was that simple. No real agenda. Just turn up, wing it and see how everything panned out!
What Went On?
In the end I got a whole lot more from it than I could ever have hoped for. A large majority of the talks simply reiterated stuff I was already doing with Backpacker Banter but nestled amongst that were some great nuggets of advice, ideas and progress that I eagerly noted down and will hopefully be implementing over the next few weeks.
In other words I’m hoping to grow Backpacker Banter and basically make it better for you guys – at the end of the day you lot are the ones keeping it going, who I’m writing it for and who I chat to about all things travel.
So I’m pretty stoked about seeing where all that info takes me and the site…exciting times ahead!
But with bloggers it’s a case of work softly and party hard – and I don’t think I’ve ever been around such a large group of people who know how to let loose and enjoy life to it’s fullest!
Our generous after party hosts for the week included The Travel Massive, The Guinness Brewery and Expedia – each doing an amazing job at creating the best atmosphere to mingle, drink and dance on tables – and of course everything that happens at TBEX stays at TBEX…so I won’t be spilling any gossip on here!
And then there was the networking!
Yup with all this fun I met some amazing people – some I had chatted and heard of before and some who I hadn’t.
And since they all run amazing blogs and I want you guys to have a bit of variety here’s some of my favourites to check out;
Stephen from A Backpackers Tale; Stephen is the dude I most wanted to meet up with in Dublin as we’ve been chatting a lot together online and working on some projects together. This crazy Yank didn’t disappoint and with his panda hat in tow he was a force to be reasoned with! His blog is awesome too – and he’s just completed the Mongol Rally which I’m rather jealous of. Keep and eye out for us both meeting up in Asia later this year…!
Valerie from Choosing Figs; I first discovered Valeries blog when she was on a rather awesome rampage in Central America and I can only describe her twitter feed as 50 Shades of Valerie! She helped me through many an Irish hangover so I owe her heaps! Blog wise she’s kicking around in Europe for a bit now after an amazing trip through Central and South America and it’s packed with pretty pics.
Beth from Recipe for Adventures; Along with Stephen and Val, Beth was one of my best TBEX finds! Much like Spencer her southern accent is a nightmare to negociate but she has a heart of gold and will make you chuckle – I can’t wait to taste her home cooked pie (no innuendo intended!) when she comes to visit this month! She’s done some serious traveling over the years so hit her up for some hints and tips!
Vicky from Vicky Flip Flop Travels; I hate Vicky – she is totally 100% responsible for me spending a night drinking triple Jack Daniels on the rocks – which resulted in a crippling hangover! She’s heaps of fun! Her blog on the other hand won’t make you want to curl up into a ball and hide away, in fact it’ll probably convince you to quit your job and hit the road!
Kash from Budget Traveller; Kash is an amazing dude with some epic things in the pipeline. He’s bounced around Europe extensively and even launched a free e-book on the best Luxury Hostels on the continent, so if you’re Euro bound make sure you check him out!
Dylan from The Travelling Editor; Dylan is the man in the know, he organised some pretty amazeballs after after parties in some pretty swanky places (it took some serious blogger blagging skills to get me in wearing shorts and trainers!) and his blog is filled with some beautiful photography and tasty food porn!
Spencer from The Traveling Philosopher; My time with Spencer mainly consisted of drinking copious amounts of amazing cocktails at the Jameson Distillery! He’s a heaps sound chap though with an epic southern accent which I can barely understand, but it’s all good y’all! He’s the blogger behind a lot of the Expedia community but his own travel blog is packed with smashing through his bucket list and loads of travel advice.
Zach and Ajay from Roadless; These sound guys are the brains behind the new internet site (and soon to be app!) Roadless – think Foursquare meets Instagram. Basically you can search for specific countries, towns or your current location and you’re greeted by a beautifully mapped out, geotagged set of images to show you things to do and stuff to see. At the moment a few set ‘influencers’ have been added to get the site going and I was stoked to find out they’re added me as one!
What’s even more amazeballs though is the fact you can link your instagram and facebook to the site and create your own personal Roadless Map – showing all your images on a map and then being able to share it with friends and family…stoked!
Sebastian from Off The Path; Sebastian has handed me some great exposure and advice whilst I’ve been blogging and his skills in creating a vast social media community aren’t to be messed with, so grabbing a pint with this German dude was a must! He’s laid back and full of knowledge – and so is his site…with guides, e-books and posts which will go a long way in helping you plan your own adventure.
…and of course there were loads of others – please don’t be offended if I didn’t include you on my list, I love you all equally!
And there you have it…it wasn’t all a drunken mess – I made some great connections, talked to some amazing companies and have made good friends with some epic bloggers who I’m sure I’ll be exploring the world with at some point or another!
If you’re an aspiring bloggers I’d highly recommend hitting up a TBEX or similar event as it’ll teach you loads – they haven’t announced next years destinations yet but I’m amped to get my ticket!