by Eva Holland | 06.16.11 | 2:24 PM ET
This past weekend saw the third installment of the annual Travel Blog Exchange, or TBEX, a travel-focused blogging conference. The 2011 edition took place in Vancouver, B.C., and Jim, Michael and I were all there.
It was my first time at TBEX and I was impressed, first off, by the sheer scale of the event: More than 500 travel bloggers descended on the Vancouver Convention Center for the weekend. Panels and workshops covered everything from SEO and blog monetization to (our favorite) improving your narrative story-telling skills, and each day ended with an after-party or two. It was a busy three days.
Reactions are already pouring in from the bloggers who attended. Michael from Go, See, Write noted the irony of TBEX panelists encouraging bloggers to be more professional—because, he felt, the conference itself was disorganized and unprofessional. Akila of The Road Forks felt that TBEX “lacked purpose and focus,” and she offered some constructive suggestions to tighten things up in future, while Katie at BootsnAll offered a similarly constructive roundup of highlights and lowlights.
Meanwhile, Corbin from I Backpack Canada had a more positive take-away: “There is a future for independent travel writers, there is a future for online blogs, there is a future for a small niche website dedicated to the budget travel & outdoor adventure in Canada.”
For my part, in future conferences I might like to see workshops become a little more tightly focused—maybe with beginner and advanced streams in each discipline to help the panelists zero in on the needs of attendees—but overall, TBEX left me feeling satisfied. Blogging can be an isolating pursuit, and spending three days putting faces and voices to familiar Twitter handles and online personas was a powerful thing.
TBEX 2012 will take place in Keystone, Colorado.
by Jim Benning | 07.02.10 | 11:33 AM ET
During my morning talk at the Travel Blog Exchange conference in New York last weekend, I showed screen shots of “lost tweets”—Twitter posts from prominent travel bloggers that I claimed to have spotted late at night over the previous week, and then found to be deleted by morning. (Lest there be any confusion now, they were all made up; the next TBEX conference, for the record, will be held in Vancouver.)
Here they are:
by Jim Benning | 07.01.10 | 11:43 AM ET
I gave a talk last weekend at the Travel Blog Exchange conference in New York on travel writing and the story of World Hum. At the end of it, I shared several of my favorite quotations that I think help explain why so many of us are drawn to traveling and telling stories about our travels.
Several people have asked for them, so without further delay, here they are:
- “There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”—Ursula K. LeGuin
- “To be a person is to have a story to tell.”—Isak Dinesen
- “Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.”—Robert McKee
- “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.”—Joan Didion
- “If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”—Barry Lopez
- “Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.”—Freya Stark
- “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”—Bill Bryson
by Michael Yessis | 07.01.10 | 11:06 AM ET
During last weekend’s Travel Blog Exchange conference in New York, I had the pleasure of moderating the panel “Travel Writing: Upping Your Game.” Don George, David Farley, Jim Benning and Alison Stein Wellner tapped into their years of print and online writing experience to offer tips—and point out some pitfalls—for travel writers in the digital age.
Before TBEX, I asked the panelists to select two pieces of exemplary travel writing, which, time permitting, each of them would share and discuss. The pieces, I told them, could be essays. Or blog posts. Tweets. Whatever. I thought it would be a good way to highlight the diversity of excellent travel writing on the Internets, and perhaps offer a bit of travel writing inspiration.
Alas, we ran out of time. But it would be a shame to keep their selections to myself. Below you’ll find links to the stories each panelist picked. Happy reading.
Alison Stein Wellner’s Picks
David Farley’s Picks
Jim Benning’s Picks
Don George’s Picks
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