This past weekend, not only did I visit a new city in Canada, but I was also able to attend the TBEX conference. For me, it wasn’t just about learning about opportunities in blogging and travel writing, but about making connections with people I’ve been in contact with through social media for the last two and a half years.
During my time in Toronto, I was able to meet and build relationships with some of my favorite travel bloggers, meet with tourism boards, and attend conference sessions on building my blog. I’ll be honest, I spent most of my time bonding with my fellow travel writers, and I never once made it to the conference center on time. But, I think that’s what made my TBEX experience truly special.
For two days, I took my time to explore the city, refusing to stay confined in a conference center for the weekend. I ate out at restaurants, explored the bars, and in the short forty-eight hours that I was there, created bonds with people that will last a lifetime. That’s what I think TBEX is truly all about. While I may not have done everything on my list, or learned everything I needed to know, I do feel that it was a weekend that was valuable to me, and I am so happy to have attended.
As I said, most of my time was spent outside the conference center, which was a change from my experience at the New York Times Travel Show. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I felt completely satisfied with my experience, and part of that is probably because I had a pretty fantastic time; here’s my little recap.
What I ate:
My diet at TBEX consisted mainly of poutine. Addicted, I had it three times during my short stay, mainly because Smokes Poutinerie was a short walk from our house. When not eating poutine, I was indulging in the delicious snacks provided at the TBEX events, or checking out Cheesewerks. I may, or may not, have consumed an unnecessary abundance of cheese this weekend. There was also plenty of beer, wine, and vodka, and when in Canada, there always has to be a stop at Tim Horton’s for a Boston Creme donut. Let’s just say that no matter what I indulged in this weekend, or how many pounds I gained, I regret none of it.
Who I met:
With 1,200 travel bloggers attending from around the world, I didn’t get to meet everyone I wanted to, it was impossible with a sea of unfamiliar faces. Previously, I had no idea there were so many travel bloggers out there, and so many that I didn’t know. Luckily, I did get to meet and spend time with a few familiar faces. Several people I only spent a few hours with, but others I was able to share a townhouse with for the weekend. That opportunity was my favorite experience because I was really able to bond with the people I lived with. While our bonding may have consisted of creating a bar out of a cardboard children’s dream house, drinking copious amounts of liquor, and getting hardly any sleep, I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect way to enjoy the time at our #RWTBEX Flipkey house.
Where I stayed:
As I mentioned in my pre-TBEX post, I spent my weekend in a luxury townhouse, compliments of Flipkey, and it was even more beautiful in person than it was in the photographs. Usually, while traveling, I tend to stay in hotels or with friends, but this time, it was such a pleasant experience to stay in a house. I loved having a kitchen and a back patio, but the best part was having room to share the place with friends; having a home-base in the city of Toronto was truly a luxury I appreciated.
In my eyes, TBEX was a huge success. I may not have attended every conference, but the bonds I created with the people I spent time with will last forever. Travel, for me, is all about the connections that are made along the journey, and the people I spent my time with are people I know who will be in my life forever.