Journal, TBEX '11

Hi, My name is Jade and I’m going to TBEX!

Bob, Roni, Melanie, Spencer and me at the LA TBEX meet-up!

Almost one year ago Bob, Rob and I set out on our RTW adventure. Reflecting now, it’s difficult to put into words how the whole experience has changed our lives. I never realized how big of a role Twitter would have on our future.

I remember getting our first invite to a Los Angeles Travel Meet-Up, and, having never been to a meet-up or tweet-up before, I was excited and really nervous. I’m not sure why, I just was. Who exactly were these people? Would we have anything in common? Are they anything like their online personalities? What were we going to talk about and would they like me?! I know, I know, I sound so self conscious. For a person who prides herself on being super outgoing and up for anything- I had tweet- up anxiety (aka- TUA)!

It wasn’t too long after I sat down though, that I realized I belonged in this group. It started off simple – we chatted about our favorite cities, worst car rides, scariest destinations- and then got more into the nitty gritty. We gushed over the best kept secrets in L.A., the ones we all knew because we proudly wore that badge of travel. We laughed over travel stories, and compared how many times we had been to some of the same destinations. It might have seemed like bragging from an ear shot away, but it was like talking to family. They understood me, they have literally been there, done that, and they were all really supportive.

Here’s a short video that Bob and I put together after our first meet-up:

As we left for our trip, we knew we had made some great friends in L.A. and even started reaching out to others bloggers and twitter friends who we crossed paths with in different countries.

The best thing about travel bloggers is that they are not only willing to meet-up, but they’ll also show you the best of their area!

Caroline, Rebecca and Jade

Many travel meet-ups later and friends in cities and countries all over world, I feel like my new family is constantly expanding. This is just one of the many reasons I’m super excited about TBEX.

When I first heard about TBEX, I was standing in a circle with Abbie Mood and Ryan (The Savvy Traveler) and they were belly laughing over the antics from their time during TBEX ’10 in NYC. It turned out that Ryan didn’t even actually go to the conferences at TBEX, he just went for all the parties!! I was fascinated. I quickly asked Abbie and Ryan- let me get this straight: A weekend full of travel bloggers, who were friends at this point, all coming together to talk about travel and go to lots of parties…. um, there was no question in my mind- I HAD TO GO TO TBEX.

Bob and Abbie

Fast forward five months to the L.A. Times Travel and Adventure Show and a small informal TBEX meet-up. I was lucky to go and meet so many people in the travel industry that I respect and admire. I loved meeting these people in person, who I have read and talked to online, and now having more of a personal connection with them. It’s easy to get caught up in a Who’s Who of travel blogging, but the one thing I took away from the event was surprisingly what I already knew: These people are just like me- they love to travel and they have a passion for travel blogging.

What you can expect from us:

  • As much as Bob wants to get matching “Vagabond3” shirts in bright orange- we won’t be wearing those. We will be wearing huge smiles because we are so stoked to go to Vancouver.
  • We will eat Mexican Food in Vancouver- haven’t you heard, I’m planning a tweet-up(TUA syndrome no more)! And, everyone is welcome!

Hiking to Inspiration Point during a Hilo Tweet-Up

And, here we are- we’ve read Cailin’s guide to Travel Blog Conferences- made our packing list and in only 4 days, Bob and I depart from LAX to meet up with a lot of friends who we have never actually met in a city we’ve never before been! This might be the farthest I’ve ever traveled for anyone. (I hope those fellow TBEXer’s feel loved!)

Will you be at TBEX? Please send us a tweet, wave us down in the convention center, talk our ears off about where you are traveling! Can’t wait to meet you all!