On Wednesday morning, Kevin and I are heading off to Denver, Colorado. We are staying with a friend for a few days before we head west to the mountain town of Keystone for my first ever TBEX (Travel Blogger’s Exchange)! Not too long ago, I would have thought that, though I revel in my dork-dom, a blogging conference was too nerdy even for me! I kept to myself, wandering aimlessly through my days and taking lots of photos. I never wrote much of a personal nature but I obsessively cataloged everything I did in photos, which I would then obsessively catalog into my 9,000 images and growing personal Flickr Account that I allowed a handful of friends and family members access to. [Correct me if I’m wrong, loving friends and family, but I’m almost positive none of you EVER looked at them!]
On blogging (I’m not sure why I didn’t write about this sooner!)
Late last year I stumbled on some travel articles online by people who were doing some interesting things. I think one of the first may have been this simple packing list I found from a couple who had sold all of their stuff and were getting ready to depart on a long-term trip to travel around the world. I love packing lists, and dreamed of taking the bold step these two had. This led to discovering lots of other fascinating long-term, nomadic round the world (“RTW”, if you speak the language) travel bloggers.
At some point, I discovered the Amateur Traveler Podcast where an engineer from my current home in Silicon Valley interviews travelers and photographers about their journeys. It was on that site that I downloaded an episode about Chile, a country we were tossing around the idea of visiting. On this show he interviewed a former lawyer turned full-time traveler named Jodi discussing her travels across Chile. She mentioned the crazy language they speak–how they drop their S’s all over the place, and have an entirely different vocabulary for fruits and vegetables (Flip! Just when I thought I had conquered the major linguistic differences between Spain and Mexico). At any rate, she is a great speaker and I found her to be an engaging writer on lots of topics other than travel. Her twitter feed is full of interesting links and musings on food, politics, technology, and sometimes cats.
Finally, I started to discover the “normal” bloggers. People that love to travel, but don’t do it full time. They have jobs, homes, pets and families… folks that it’s a bit easier for traveling homebodies like me to relate to.
Amanda is a grad student from Ohio who wrote a great article about living a normal life and making travel a priority. Matt from LandLopers travels a lot but he has dogs–3 of them! Fellow Californians Jeremy (Budget Travel Adventures) and Annette (Bucket List Journey) write about their travels around the world and interesting things they do close to home. Jeremy is also a big college football fan, so Kevin and I relate to his traveling the US for sporting events! All of them find time within their normal lives to share interesting stories, photos and tips about their adventures.
It was these people and many, MANY others that inspired me to finally start documenting my own travels via photo and now words (though my prose has a long way to go—too many years of writing academic and professional research reports!). That’s one reason I’m looking forward to TBEX for tips on such things that will help me improve my writing, streamline the process/make time to write, and grow my audience. And also, of course I’m interested in meeting some of these inspiring bloggers.
I’ve been to Colorado once before, back in 2009 when we went to a Cal/Colorado State game in Fort Collins and then spent some time in Boulder. I LOVE all of the Colorado craft beers, which will be in no short supply at TBEX. I’ve lost track of all of the CO beer tastings that I have RSVP’ed for!
I’ve never been to Denver itself and am excited to explore the city without a car. Apparently the city has been making strides on one of the most ambitious and equitable public transportation expansion plans in the United States, so the urban planner side of me is excited to check out the system, as well as the mixed-use redevelopment of historic areas like LoDo.
And I’m excited to visit the Rocky Mountain town of Keystone and hoping to make the time to do something outdoors. We’ll try not to spend the whole time in breweries like we did last time! [Editor’s Note: Kevin still wants to spend the whole time in breweries.]
More travel inspiration
I’ll be tweeting from Denver as well as the event so if you aren’t already, follow me: @caskifer or #TBEX12.
One of these days I’ll get around to putting up a list of my favorite blogs. One of these days…