Following two intense days at BlogHer 2009, I headed back into Chicago for Travel Blog Exchange ’09, a one day event for travel bloggers sponsored by TravelBlogExchange.com. The website was founded just last year by Kim Mance, host of Galavanting.tv, and editor-in-chief of GoGalavanting.com, as a place for those who blog about travel to connect with one another as well as members of the media, travel industry consultants, professionals, vendors, and advertisers.
Kim, along with fellow TBEXer Debbie Dubrow of DeliciousBaby.com, organized the inaugural event. And what an event! They envisioned that it would someday attract every person on their “dream list” of travel bloggers/writers they’d most like to meet. Even Kim and Debbie couldn’t have imagined their vision would become a reality on this first ever get-together, but that’s exactly what happened. Attendees included BootsnAll Travel, National Geographic Traveler ombudsman Chris Elliott, Wendy Perrin from Conde Nast Traveler, Disney, WorldHum, and Gadling, among others.
Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know that I fled from corporate life in December of 2006 to do what I love – travel writing and photography. Since then I have struggled to eke out an existence as a writer. The money part of it is challenging, but for the first time ever I can honestly say I love my life. I can’t wait to get up every day and write. My work has been published in numerous venues but my continued success demands that I get to know and interact with others in the industry, thus TBEX was a real boon for me. Hopefully, as my peers become familiar with my work, I will get more freelance assignments. Additionally, the four panels at TBEX provided so much information that my head is whirling with ideas for improving and marketing my blog.
Many, many thanks to Kim and Debie for all their hard work, and to the corporate sponsors who made the event possible: BootsnAll Travel; Vail Resorts; Choose Chicago, the City of Chicago’s Official Tourism Site; HomeAway, the world’s leading vacation rentals marketplace; and GoGo Inflight Internet, the service that lets you surf the web from 30,000 feet.