I’m leaving for Toronto early tomorrow morning to attend TBEX. I’m excited. And nervous.
For those of you wondering, it’s not a typo or a previously undiscovered type of dinosaur. TBEX stands for Travel Blogger Exchange and I’ll be attending this conference with more than 1200 of my closest friends. Actually, I’ve never met most of these people, but they are some of my travel writing idols and yes, some in-real-life friends.
Why am I nervous? I’m nervous because this year, I feel as if I’m attending as an actual travel blogger. Last year, TBEX was held in Keystone, CO, just down the road from me. I attended because it was convenient, I thought I’d get the lay of the land, check it out and see what went on at one of these things. My blog was in its infancy and I hadn’t really come to terms with calling myself a travel blogger.
This year, I’m going in prepared.
I have business cards packed. I have mints so that my breath does not offend after the copious amounts of coffee that I will no doubt consume. I have meetings scheduled for speed dating (which is slightly terrifying, but also gratifying). I have a list of people that I’m planning to stalk. I have sessions that I’m planning on attending, which will no doubt change, but I still feel prepared.
This year, I feel legit.
I’ve been keeping up with my own blog after a summer in Colorado, a trip to Iceland, trekking in Nepal and other adventures. I’ve been writing for Viator’s travel blog and WeHostel’s travel blog. I’m looking for new opportunities to continue writing and, as always, I’m on the lookout for my next travel destination.
This year, I’m going to soak it all up.
I’m going to learn as much as I can. I’m going to ask questions (not unusual for me) and ask for help (very unusual for me). I’m going to see as much of Toronto as I can and make a list of what I want to see when I visit again (because one visit is never enough for me). I’m going to squeeze this weekend for all its worth.
Never fear, though: I’m also planning on having fun. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and people that I have connected with online, but haven’t met in person yet. Toronto is a new city for me and, since my experiences in Canada so far have consisted of a trip to Boblo Island Amusement Park when I was in eighth grade (apparently it closed down soon after I visited; I’m sure the timing was coincidental) and a hellacious layover, I have a long list of places to see, restaurants to sample and neighborhoods to wander.
So, wish me luck in Canada. I’ll be posting when I get back and, no doubt, will have some stories and experiences to share.
Do you have any suggestions for things I can’t miss in Toronto? Let me know in the comments!