TBEX Reflections and Confessions

TBEX Reflections and Confessions

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.

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Comments (30)

  1. Britany

    I felt the same. I had an amazing time at Tbex, and it definitely wasn’t thanks to the panel discussions. So glad we had the opportunity to meet and I look forward to meeting up with you and all the NYC bloggers when I move back. There are so many of us!! πŸ™‚

    1. The World Wanderer

      So glad I got to meet you, Britney! I definitely look forward to connecting with you once again. We’ll have to have a few reunions! πŸ™‚

  2. Adam&Amanda

    Awesome, sounds like ya had a killer time!

  3. Traveling Ted

    It is good someone got outside and explored Toronto a bit as I was too busy sucking the marrow out of every seminar I could attend.

    1. The World Wanderer

      HAHAHAHAHA, if only, Ted, if only…. πŸ™‚

      So glad that, together, we missed all of the “important” aspects of the conference. Especially because together we chose poutine over breakout sessions. That’s a bond that we’ll have forever. Also, I will love you forever for playing Tom Petty for me. πŸ™‚

      1. Traveling Ted

        You laugh but wait till I declassify my TBEX notes. It will be a windfall for bloggers not seen since the government released the Watergate tapes.

        I am glad I found a sober opportunity to seranade you before you left πŸ™‚

  4. Craig Zabransky

    Erin, I noticed a big change from the NY Times Travel Show… made me smile. Ha. Seriously, happy to share poutine with you and I look forward to the next time.. Plus it’s great to know we can get all the session notes from Traveling Tedward. Thanks

    stay adventurous, Craig

    1. The World Wanderer

      I guess a lot can change in a few short months, huh? πŸ˜‰ In all seriousness though, I like this new change. There’s so much more to a conference then, well, the conference. πŸ™‚ So glad you saved my life on Saturday, and we got to witness that windshield wiper attack/ indulge in poutine. Sorry for eating all the cheese curds.

      Oh yes, I’m sure Tedward’s notes will be really helpful…

    2. Traveling Ted

      Look for an authoritative write up on TBEX on Traveling Ted soon where I share all of my new found wisdom.

  5. Karisa

    Sounds like a beautiful weekend! I’m hoping to make it out next year! πŸ™‚

  6. Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap)

    Perfect timing on this post! We have booked to attend our first Tbex in Dublin in October and can’t wait. We are really excited about hooking up with fellow bloggers too! Oh and drinking lots of Guinness!

  7. Anita Mac

    It was so great to catch up again – NYTimes was so long ago! But Erin, next time – you have to try the Maple Cream at Tim Hortons – maple, after all, is an institution in Canada! Hehehe. Can’t wait to catch up again this summer – Montreal my friend! Γ  bientΓ΄t!

  8. lola

    this house of people make me feel like home! i couldn’t imagine it being ANY BETTER or any more perfect. Erin, i love you! and, yes, you can get me out of your life no matter what πŸ™‚

  9. Vanessa (@Turnipseeds)

    Great post! I have to confess – I’m one of those people who always made it to the conference center at 830am! I just don’t have any stamina to stay up past 11pm any more! (Pitifully hangs head in shame). But I loved TBEX just as much as you did and I think one of the best things about having such a large group there is that you can connect with people and find it valuable no matter how you do it – you are always surrounded by a community. I think that’s lost in some of the more senior bloggers who complain that TBEX is too large- I say it just offers more options and versatility.

  10. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    I must try this poutine you talk about! πŸ™‚ Glad to hear it was a fun time!

  11. Kieu ~ GQ trippin

    I feel the same way.. miss you!

  12. Francesca

    As a fellow TBEX first-timer, I agree that networking and meeting other bloggers was the highlight of the weekend. I did miss out on a lot of the social events and all of the liquor consumption, but I know if I weren’t 8 months pregnant, I’d have been right there with you!

    It was wonderful to finally meet you! Next time we’ll have to hang out some more!

  13. @mrsoaroundworld

    from the photos i saw, you did have a lot of fun! pleased for you!

  14. Fiona

    Looks like you had lots of fun – and the house looks really nice too!

  15. Leah Travels

    I hate that I missed out on the house party, but I did love seeing you at the conference. Had I gone to the RWTBEX house I might not have actually made it to the conference, however. πŸ˜‰

  16. D.J. - The World of Deej

    Great perspective on TBEX. Every year I say that next year I’m attending, and this year is no different. We will see if it sticks…

  17. Charu

    Great post! I’m so psyched I got to see you at TBEX!

  18. Lesley Peterson

    I can’t believe poutine made it into your post! Or rather, I do believe:D TBEXers were talking about it at the Travel + Escape pop-up party. It’s on everyone’s lips here in Toronto–literally.

  19. Jess

    Smokes and Cheesewerks were possibly my two favorite things about Toronto. I am still going through poutine withdrawal.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Yes! Absolutely! So am I…I can’t deal with the lack of cheese curds in my daily life… πŸ™

  20. Gerard ~ GQ trippin

    Chris & I had a serious connection in the confessional pic.

  21. Top Thirteen Moments of 2013: Photo Essay. | The World Wanderer

    […] Attending My First TBEX This was one of my favorite moments of the year because I got to meet and connect with so many like-minded people. Friendships grew and blossomed at this event, and people who I had only known through the Internet, suddenly became close friends. […]

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