Spending the last 3.5 years living in one country – with most of that time being in one city – has made both me and my blog stale. Since deciding to start actively traveling again, I’ve been working on a plan to get this blog back up and running. Said plan includes:
- Creating a Facebook page
- Starting to Tweet
- Networking with other Bloggers and, as of yesterday
- Attending TBEX Europe
TBEX is one of the biggest travel blogging events of the year with hundreds of people attending from all over the world. 48 hours ago I’d never heard of it then I saw it mentioned on Twitter. It took less than 20 minutes to discover that it was taking place in Spain while I’m planning on being there and an hour later my ticket was purchased and my hotel booked.
I’ll be honest, I’m a little freaked out. I have that nervous/excited feeling in the pit of my gut – not unlike the first day of school jitters.
The last time I attended an industry conference was in 2005 for the Presbyterian Women’s Conference (yeah, I laughed too when my boss asked me to attend – ask me about the bachelor party!) and it was a nightmare. Of course, the fact that I was surrounded by 1000 women I had very little in common with might have had something to do with that!
I expect that finding common ground to talk about will not be a problem when I’m in a room with a few hundred people who make their living traveling. In fact, it sounds like heaven!
In order to prepare for the conference and settle the butterflies in my tummy I’m doing a few things:
1 – Preparing to Network
One of my biggest concerns is that I’ve lost my schmooze skills. Having worked on the Hill in DC for several years, Schmooze was my middle name but it’s not a skill I’ve made much use of in the last 7 years. But, I’ve ordered new business cards and I’m brushing off my “elevator pitch” and I’m just going to pull up my big girl panties and put my introverted self out there! Should be fun!
2 – Making Advanced Contact
Another of my worries is not knowing anyone. It’s a surprisingly small world and the travel blogging world is smaller still. I suspect that many people at the conference will know each others – through their blogs if nothing else. Since I’ve not been reading many travel blogs in recent years, I don’t feel like I really know m/any of my fellow attendees.
To remedy that, I’ve started watching the #TBEX Twitter feed and following those who indicate they’re going to be in Costa Brava. I’m also following their blogs to get to know them and their writing styles. Finally, I’m making direct contact with a few people, particularly other newbies, and arranging to meet prior to the start of the conference. The Pre-conference trips will help with that!
3 – Dressing the Part
I’ll be coming to TBEX directly from walking the Camino de Santiago where function will definitely rule over form when it comes to wardrobe. Trying to keep my pack contents below 5 kg (@ 10 lbs) means no luxuries like a nice dress or makeup. While I assumed that most of the attendees wouldn’t be toting trunks of designer-wear, when I learned that the opening reception was going to be held in a castle, I knew I needed more than the tanks and capris that would see me through the Camino.
I contacted my hotel (NH Girona – great deals on hostels.com) and they agreed to accept/hold a box for me while I walk the camino so I can have some fun clothes to wear that haven’t been washed in a bucket every day for the prior two weeks.
So, while I know I’ll still have butterflies the night of the first event, at least I won’t feel like I’m walking in blind and unprepared. Now I just have to get all my technology ducks in a row and I’ll be ready to rock and roll.
For those attending TBEX who are arriving a little early (I arrive the 19th) drop me a note if you’d like to meet up in advance. I look forward to a fascinating, fun and informative weekend!