Down to Business in Toronto
As you may have guessed from Part I of this trip to Toronto at the end of May, not every day was filled with feasting and sightseeing. I was there to learn and meet up with a few virtual friends I’ve made over the years through the travel blogging community (yes, there are a whole bunch of us out there.)
TBEX: Not just a conference for the traveling mom
The main reason I headed to Toronto was for an annual travel bloggers conference called TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange). Over 1300 bloggers, writers, and PR professionals gathered to chat about how the travel industry is changing and how we can get great information about destinations to our readers. It is also a time for the host city to really show off its stuff, which Toronto did in spades.
Visiting a few virtual friends
One of the best parts of going to a conference with like-minded people is putting faces to a few names you’ve heard about or chatted with. Well in the world of travel it is no different. We swap stories of where we have been and where we are going next, what hotel was worth the money, and which ones should be avoided at all costs. I was excited to see some old friends, including Mother of All Trips, Have Baby Will Travel and Sippy Cups and Sippy Cups, as well as to get to hug from some virtual friends in real life for the first time. The Travelling Mom and I have been chatting and exchanging information on Seattle and Vancouver for years, and yet somehow, we never got to meet in person. I’d say this was one of the highlights of my trip. Another favorite friend, who took it upon herself to show me a bit of Toronto when I first arrived was Gone with the Family. She loves food as much as I do, and has been dragging her two girls across the globe for 17+ years. Here is a mama who knows her stuff! I only wish I could hide away in her luggage as she heads to London this summer.
Enter the Blog House
The entire conference started off with a bang as I entered a travel blogging workshop, aptly named, Blog House. No, this was not a Real World Bloggers episode, although it would have been hilarious for sure. From the moment we stepped into the gorgeous mansion, provided by FlipKey on the grounds of De La Salle college on the north side of Toronto, we were working. Flight Network added a few fun bits to the workshop like their very own computer wiz to walk us through some tech stuff. We started our Monday evening off with a session and didn’t end until Thursday morning. It was incredible. It was exhausting. It was an experience I wish I had every year.
Not only did I learn ways to better get my content out to new readers, but most importantly I got to chat one on one with Lisa from LL World Tour about where my site can and should be headed in the coming years. Not everyone realizes that blogging is often a one-woman show. We get trapped in our own bubble. We don’t get the usual collaboration you get in an office environment. You have to actively search out critique.
Changes they are a comin’
I’m happy to report that I walked away with a lot of ideas on how to bring you all better content that will get you inspired to pack your bags, grab the kids, and head out the door, even if it’s just a day trip to the local park. No travel is too small after all. I also got the kick in the pants to get you all a new site design that will make content easier to find, and show it off in a fun new way. No more doom and gloom over here folks. Keep your eyes peeled for a fresh new look in the coming months.