I have just returned from an absolutely amazing week spent in Dublin, where I attended my very first (and certainly not last) TBEX, the largest gathering of travel bloggers. As a TBEX newbie, I was not quite sure what to expect, and little did I know how epic it would end up being! Here is my recap of events (given the plethora of Guinness consumed hasn’t clouded my memory), what I learned from my first gathering, and why TBEX is the event of all events!…
Be Prepared To Hear Some Amazing Speakers…
The opening of TBEX kicked-off with a speech given by the immensely successful Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality. Chip captivated the entire audience with his personal stories of travel and forward-thinking, all which ultimately molded him into the savvy business man he is today. Throughout the day, choosing between which sessions to attend proved to be quite challenging. Each and every TBEX attendee tweeted speaker quotes, Instagram’d session photos and took pages upon pages of notes; Ian Cleary, Don George, Shane Dallas and Kash Bhattacharya were all personal favorites of mine, and a lot was to be learned from these guys. Increasing your audience, engaging your audience and budget travel break-outs are just a few examples of the 35 sessions offered, with something to fit each and every niche. To close, Audrey Scott and Dan Knoll of Uncornered Market wrapped the events up with a fun and also motivating speech of their travels as a couple, and even received a standing ovation. Listening to each speaker tell their stories, give advice and teach us listeners ways to better ourselves as bloggers was exhilarating.
Network, Network, Network & Pick As Many Brains As Possible…
TBEX has sessions, keynote speakers and chances to pitch yourself to companies in hopes for future collaborations, but that’s not what TBEX is about. Sure all those aspects are awesome, but the REAL key concept to successfully attending TBEX is networking your little buns away until you have no more buns to network! This means introducing yourself to hundreds of people each day, talking until you feel your voice disappearing and partaking in numerous alcoholic beverages with a huge heap of strangers (not bad, eh’?!), all in the name of networking! My favorite part of networking was the easy task of just asking questions; picking brains was, for me, the best part of TBEX. Each and every blogger, no matter how successful or new to the game, has something new to learn from, and that’s phenomenal. From the heavy-hitters’ talks about inspiring success, to the bloggers that are a few years in the game and struggling to find that specific niche, and even the new guy who was attending just for ideas on how to start, it was absolutely amazing to hear their stories, gather ideas and learn from their successes/failures to better my own blog. A truly unmeasurable jackpot of wealth, networking at TBEX is a priceless experience I am so fortunate to have experienced.
OK, So The Idea Of Bringing 2,500 Business Cards In Your Carry-On Is Absurd….
Along with the notion of network, network, network, I would also suggest NOT getting so incredibly carried away with the idea of networking that you might bring 2,500 business cards in your carry-on. Not that I did that, or anything… it’s, uh.. it’s just a thought….
Come To TBEX Hungry & Don’t Think About Getting Much Sleep…
This is where you as the reader would probably think I’m going to say some witty “come hungry for knowledge” quote, and I totally could insert one here, but you’re wrong. Come to TBEX
hungry starving for food and booze! Seriously, I had no idea, nor did I expect, to have the plethora of food and drinks given to us that we did! From coffee breakouts with pastries, oyster bars, sushi and local-caught fish, Irish cheese selections, Guinness stew, wheelbarrows full of Ben and Jerry ice cream cones, amazing buffet options, inventive passed appetizers… the food we ate and the never-ending flow of Guinness was mind-boggling! Private parties at the Guinness Storefront, showcasing fire breathers, and another at the Odean, sponsored by Expedia with bobble-head characters dressed as U2, were highlights of the conference. Parties went into the midnight hour, with many people continuing on into different pubs and clubs, ultimately staggering back into their rooms and hostels in the wee hours of the morning. TBEX sessions started at the painful hour of 8:45am, but luckily the amazing coffee and pastry spreads as mentioned above were waiting for us… staring at us… begging to be consumed! Basically, if you’re one that needs heaps of sleep to function, TBEX aint’ for you!
Check-out this video of the astonishing private party we attended at the Guinness Storefront!
TBEX Dublin Attendees Are Not Iron Deficient…
The first thing that came to my mind when hearing TBEX was in Dublin, and I’m probably not alone on this one, was: GUINNESS, baby! Given a pint of the black stuff has a higher iron content inside its perfectly poured, creamy body than a head of cabbage, there’s no doubt in my mind that none of us TBEXers have to worry about currently being deficient in iron. Many of us started throwin’ back pints upon arrival at Dublin airport, others as soon as we checked-in and eagerly ran into the nearest pub, and no doubt we all had as much as we could stomach at the Guinness Storehouse opening night kick-off! It became a question in passing, during sessions, and throughout the day:
“Are you enjoying the Guinness?”
“How many pints did you have last night?”
“Are you ready for some more Guinness?”
To bond over the best damn beer in the world was fantastic, and a great way to build friendships.
Find Inspiration In The Unexpected…
The Roaming Bean is a fairly new blog, and writing it is something I want to do full-time eventually. There are times when I feel that maybe that isn’t the career to pursue, especially when it seems like no one is listening. Chip Conley brought up in his keynote speech how incredibly frustrating this is as a blogger, when you write something you feel needs to be read and no one comments. The entire room agreed, laughed, nodded, and I suddenly realized hey, this happens to everyone. Listen to the speakers, absorb their thoughts and advice; that simple discussion resonated with each and every person in the audience, and was referred to all week by other speakers and attendees. It was in Chip’s speech, the TBEX opening, that I was first inspired.
Inspiration comes in many forms at TBEX, and a moment that really sticks out to me was when Shane Dallas of The Travel Camel, a conference speaker himself and fellow Twitter friend, sat beside me during one of our fam trips and asked me for advice on how I approach companies, what I say to sell myself and even took a copy of my professionally printed media kit as a guide for himself. I kept asking him why he was asking me, I just didn’t understand how I could have been of help, and he kept saying “because you need to teach me.” To have someone as big as The Travel Camel ask little ol’ me for advice was the BIGGEST, unexpected boost of confidence I could have ever had, and it’s one of the main driving forces behind me writing this post. THANK YOU, SHANE DALLAS, FOR BEING MY FLOWER.
People Fell In Love With Dublin, & It Was Amazing!…
I was insanely lucky, almost fortuitous, for TBEX to be my second trip to Ireland within a five month period. When I first arrived this May, within the first day of roaming the cobblestone streets and pub crawling, I knew Dublin was rivaling my previous “favorite city” into becoming my new
favorite city I have to live here city! Sure enough, after this second trip to the land of a thousand welcomes, Dublin has officially stolen that title, and nothing made me happier than seeing blogger after blogger agree with that notion. Simply put, there is no way you can’t fall in love with Dublin; from the charming buildings and architecture to the welcoming people and friendly smiles, Dublin exudes a certain magical “I belong here” feeling that no other city can compare with.
I want to spend forever in TBEXland! Sláinte to all the amazing sponsors that made this event beyond incredible!