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A Toast to the Travel Blogging Community

Just over a week ago, I boarded a ferry and sailed across the Irish Sea, Dublin bound. My initial reason for going was to take part in TBEX, the world’s biggest travel blogging conference. However I was also incredibly lucky to have been selected to take part in the BlogHouse, a 3 day intensive blog workshop run by a number of very experienced bloggers, prior to the conference and also invited to sample the delights of the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast of Ireland with the Irish Tourist Board, Failte Ireland in the three days after the conference.

Right now, I’m not going to tell you about what I learned at BlogHouse, TBEX, the spectacular scenery I was treated to, or how wonderful the Irish were (these guys give the best welcomes I tell you), or how much craic I had (not to be confused with crack – remember kids, drugs are bad).

But over the next few weeks I WILL share those experiences with you too. It has been epic! And as I sit here watching Dublin slowly fade out of view, I’m leaving Ireland with both joy and sadness in my heart.

What I actually want to tell you about now, is the people I met and the profound effect they’ve had on me. The wonderful people of the travel blogging community.

 

Us travel bloggers are an eclectic bunch, brought together by our love of travel – whether it be solo, budget, luxury, adventure (that’s me by the way), weekend breaks, package holidays, gap year, or nomadic. The way we travel is as diverse and unique as every single person in the community.

 

I was incredibly excited but apprehensive before I arrived in Ireland. Nervous because I didn’t really know anyone, excited to meet so many people whose work I admire from afar, and I also wondered how welcoming they would be to a newbie like me. It reminded me of the way I felt just before I took off on my first RTW (round the world) trip or perhaps even the first day of university. I often worry what people will think, and sometimes even that I’m just not… good enough.

I was discussing my fears with a friend of mine a few weeks ago, and so she sent me a Ted Talk by Bren̩ Brown on The power of vulnerability and connection. And how allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, allows us to connect with others and the world around us. Being vulnerable is not something I can say that I am overly comfortable with (I mean, who is?), but I made a pact with myself to be just that Рbe open, to have fun, meet people, learn and just be myself.

 

I went to TBEX and I stuck to my promise, I was my vulnerable, non-perfect self.  And for all my worrying, I can honestly say that I have never felt so welcomed by a group of people. People from all walks of life, with different dreams (and boy, travel bloggers sure know how to dream), and such a zest for life and adventure that it has knocked me sideways. A community who accepts and celebrates the beauty and diversity in the world and the people in it. We laughed, we learned, we debated, we partied (like rock stars I might add), we dreamed and we planned. But this is a common thread amongst many people I’ve met on my travels, not just the ones who write about it. I can honestly say I’ve never felt so much energy from one group of people. It was electric.

 

As we get older, life begins to speed up. So whatever your dream is, go after it. Be vulnerable, put yourself out there, be a mess (but a lovely one), be adventurous, make a fool of yourself every now and again, tell people how you feel, be yourself. I now feel so inspired to keep doing what I’m doing, trying to get the most out of this fleeting thing we call life.

Yes sometimes things might not work out the way you planned, but you learn from it. And sometimes it may be the best decision you ever made. That’s adventure.

 

I know in my heart that I have become part of an amazing group of people who I know will influence my life in so many ways in the years to come. How? No idea! But, what I do know is that I am so glad to have met you, learned from you, planned with you and most importantly, dreamed with you.

 

So, with all that said I just want to say thank you to all of my colleagues and teachers who I can now call friends. You welcomed me into your world with such enthusiasm and I feel that I’ve learned so much from each and every one of you in those short few days, both as a blogger, and personally. I can’t wait to share many more adventures with you in the years to come. Meeting people from all over the world and learning from them is what it’s all about. We are all connected. You, me and all those people we meet on the road.

 

Oh, and if I didn’t hug you enough or tell you how much I loved you at TBEX – well I’ll say it again. I bloody love you guys.

You are why I travel.

 

 

About Author

I'm a travel blogger and tour operator with a passion for Africa travel. I love the great outdoors, going on epic trips around the world and helping others travel!

46 Comments

  • Beatrice
    October 8, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Lovelovelove <3 

    Thank YOU for your crazy energy & all the laughs! 🙂

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      No, thank YOU!!!!! XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

      Reply
  • Brenna
    October 8, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    You are absolutely lovely, and I am so thankful to have met you. You’ve already affected my life with your humour, your energy, and your singing styles (yes, I will always have those memories of 37 Dawson), and I can’t wait to see how you affect my life even more in the future, because it WILL be affected by you. You are too positive and inspiring for it not to be. I agree that TBEX Dublin was absolutely brilliant, and it was all in the community and the people. I miss everyone so much already! x
    Brenna recently posted…The Bracelet From VaranasiMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 8, 2013 at 11:41 pm

      You too Brenna. I am so inspired by you, your travels and your writing (and your fashion sense – teach me, please)! It was wonderful to meet you, you know you’re the first blogger I ever met right? I loved spending time with you, hanging out in our dorm and dancing our little socks off! Can’t wait to see you soon! Miss you babe! x

      Reply
  • Clare
    October 9, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Hey Helen, I think you’ve summed up what’s so great about the travel blogging gang perfectly! I am just gutted I didn’t get to chat a bit more to your good self (must rectify this soon!) as well as others, but I’ve no doubt there’ll be many more opportunities for that in the near future. Good times ahead!
    Clare recently posted…My Place. My Dublin.My Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 9, 2013 at 8:23 am

      Hey Clare, yes me too, but we live so close, let’s hang out soon! xxxx

      Reply
  • Linda
    October 9, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Aww, thanks Helen! Craig and I had a fantastic time in Ireland too, we’re feeling energised and excited about the future; I’m glad it’s the same for you. For us, it was all about people, so thanks for being part of it.
    Linda recently posted…Surfing, Yoga, And Sustainable Living In FuerteventuraMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 9, 2013 at 8:18 am

      Was so great to meet you! You are such a lovely couple! Have fun in Europe! xxxx

      Reply
  • Ayngelina
    October 9, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Helen!

    I’m so glad you had such a good time, I would have never thought you were at all apprehensive or nervous, you were so outgoing and fun.

    The travel blogging community is filled with many special people and so happy you’re now part of it – although we still need Hodson to give this blog a new name!
    Ayngelina recently posted…When Sustainable Fishing Trumps Great FoodMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 9, 2013 at 8:17 am

      I get really nervous about things, I just hide it well! 🙂

      Was great getting to know you and learning from you and I’m so looking forward to seeing you in London soon!

      And yes he does!

      x

      Reply
  • Chris
    October 9, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Cheers to that Helen!

    Loved meeting you too and your spot on with how you summed up the travel blog community – TBEX was an amazing event 🙂

    See you soooooooon! xx
    Chris recently posted…So What The Hell Happens At A TBEX Travel Blogger Conference?!My Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 9, 2013 at 8:49 am

      Your morning hugs made my hangover so much better! xx

      Reply
  • Carina
    October 9, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Hi Helen,

    this is such a beautiful article (and I’m not saying this because you mentioned me!! 😀 )
    It was a pleasure to meet you and I’m pretty sad that I didn’t get the chance to say goodby on Monday…
    So we definetely have to meet again! 😉

    Safe travels,
    Carina
    Carina recently posted…Amsterdam im Regen: Trotzdem eine Reise wert!My Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 9, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Yes would be lovely to see you again. Enjoy your travels!! There is no goodbyes… just see you later! x

      Reply
  • Megan
    October 9, 2013 at 11:14 am

    So thankful I met you and the rest of the BH peeps.  Miss you already and yes, I forgive you for that photo of me.  Kinda. Let me know if you’re ever in London!
    Megan recently posted…Escape to KnoydartMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      I’m so glad I met you! You look great, look at the state of me! Miss you x

      Reply
  • Alyssa
    October 9, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    I had a great time hanging out with you too, Helen! I would have liked to learn more about you – there was always so much going on we didn’t chat very much (hence the…wait WHAT you’re MARRIED?! conversation… haha).

    See you in two hours!
    Alyssa recently posted…What Motivates You to Travel?My Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      Great hanging out with you too! And again tonight! Let’s do it again soon! xx

      Reply
  • Corey
    October 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Oh Helen, this is a beautiful post. The funny thing about you being vulnerable is that it didn’t come with any of the stereotypical side effects I’d attach to vulnerability. Instead, when I met you, I thought “there’s someone who is fun, interesting, and caring…” After our Wild Atlantic Way trip, I could add generous, loyal, talented, and aspirational (even if I don’t have any specific examples why I felt those things… call it a hunch).

    You’re a joy… or is that a beautiful, joyful mess… Oh, these adjectives could get out if hand 😉

    Safe travels… and re-read this post and the comments any time you need a boost!

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 9, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      I guess it’s just putting your heart on your sleeve and going – ‘do what you want with it’ and just being yourself! Had a great time with you on the Wild Atlantic Way! Definitely up for that podcast! Miss you Corey and your lovely ways!! xx

      Reply
  • Erin Bender (Travel With Bender)
    October 10, 2013 at 11:33 am

    It was wonderful to meet you and be on the FAM trip with you. You are a wild girl and I enjoyed getting to know you. Hope we meet again in this big, little world. Mwah! 
    Erin Bender (Travel With Bender) recently posted…Living The Dream: Do What Makes You HappyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      You too hon!!!! Was so funny, especially on the boat! You’re awesome! x

      Reply
  • Kristin Addis
    October 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I love that song! I definitely feel that way when I travel too. There are so many beautiful souls on this path.  So glad to have met you, sunshine. I hope to see you again soon x
    Kristin Addis recently posted…Pathways to the Lost Past in ItalyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Mme too Kristin, and great to spend more time with you last night! xx

      Reply
  • Murissa
    October 10, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    I know how you mean about trying to allow yourself to be vulnerable. It is never easy but it’s the best way to grow as a person and a blogger I might add. I had a great time with you and am so happy we met!
    You’ve gained a new reader and a friend for life – if you ever come to Canada and especially BC I will hook you up, because as you know…I am BC 😉

    Murissa
    Murissa recently posted…Ireland ItineraryMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 11, 2013 at 7:46 am

      I had a great time with you too! Will definitely vist you in your BC sometime! Lots of love! xx

      Reply
  • Michael
    October 11, 2013 at 1:06 am

    Aw. I love this post. So many people that I know in this post! Sad that I missed BlogHouse and TBEX. Many of my best friends are travel bloggers and these types of gatherings are like a reunion for us. 

    I’m sure we’ll get to meet somewhere in the world 🙂
    Michael recently posted…Giveaway: Guerrilla Packs Samurai 50L Adventure BackpackMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 11, 2013 at 7:46 am

      Thanks Michael! I think everyone was sad you missed it too! You were mentioned many times.

      Hopefully get to meet you and Steph at another event soon! Have fun in Mexico!

      Reply
  • Jo
    October 12, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I’m not prone to emotion but this brought a little tear to my eye. You’re a wonderful, strong, inspiring, fun and kind person and I feel lucky to have had the pleasure of your company. Keep in touch and I hope some day soon our travel paths cross…in Africa, hopefully! Amazing post 🙂 *pulls self together, wipes eye and returns to serious, emotionless self*

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      Was great to meet you too Jo. You are a lot of fun and I loved that you asked all the questions I was too scared too! Hopefully see you soon for more adventures!!!! I’m not that emotional either, but Ireland has made me so! xx

      Reply
  • Jess
    October 13, 2013 at 12:54 am

    This sounds like such a great experience! The more I hear about this TBEX, the more I wish I’d gone. I’ll definitely be there next time.
    Jess recently posted…Emergency Backup Cuteness: Denali Sled DogsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 13, 2013 at 12:58 am

      Yes Jess you HAVE to go! It is seriously awesome. The sessions are really good, but meeting the people is the best part! Hopefully see you there?

      Reply
  • Steve (@Backpackersteve)
    October 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Lovely piece, Helen – TBEX was awesome and possibly one of the best Travel Blogging conferences I’ve been to so far. It’s the people who make this community what it is – it’s those events which remind me that I made the right decision a few years ago.

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 13, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Steve, Ah yes it was so amazing!!! Had so much fun! I look forward to seeing you at the next one. Ii wonder if they can top Dublin??? 🙂

      Reply
  • Arianwen
    October 13, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Looks like I missed out on an awesome event! Seeing all your photos makes me sad I couldn’t make it. You sum up exactly how I feel about the travel blogging community though. I’ve met so many great friends through it, and they are a constant source of inspiration.
    Arianwen recently posted…Visiting Mt Cook from QueenstownMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Ah I know! But you were there in spirit! I can’t wait to meet you at some point! x

      Reply
  • Peter Parkorr
    October 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Hey Helen, just got round to reading this. Glad you had such a good time! The people are why I travel (and travel blog) too. 🙂
    Peter Parkorr recently posted…Going Home To A Sligo That I Didn’t Know ExistedMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Thank you! It was fun hanging around with you and everyone else! Can’t wait for the next one! x

      Reply
  • Lance
    November 19, 2013 at 4:54 am

    I have to say – no photo of me??? 🙁 Boo…. Missing you!

    Reply
    • Helen
      November 19, 2013 at 8:20 am

      Ah Lance, I will add one in!!!! 🙂

      Reply
  • Lyndsay
    November 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Wicked photos! Tells us how you had a blast on every photo! I would be if I were there too. 🙂
    Lyndsay recently posted…Hey Traveler, What About Astral Traveling?My Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      November 20, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      Hey Lyndsay,

      It was so much fun! Will you be at the next one?

      Reply
  • Amber
    January 5, 2014 at 6:52 am

    Seems like you and I had different experiences at TBEX, perhaps because I was terribly sick while there, but also perhaps I did not participate in BlogHouse, which seemed like an “in” to the community. I am sorry I did not meet you there, and I will not be dissuaded from attending future TBEX events. Perhaps at my next one I will emerge under the same Wicked spell as you.
    Amber recently posted…Bali ResolutionsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      Hey Amber,

      Ah sorry to hear you were sick! That definitely would have made me have a different experience!

      I think Bloghouse was great, especially as I went to TBEX with a group of new friends – safety in numbers! I’d also met Brenna from This Battered Suitcase a few weeks before too and she introduced me to a lot of her friends which made it easier!

      Hope you enjoy the next one! Give me a shout if you go. I doubt I’ll make it to the North America one, but if I’m not away will try and get to the European one.

      Reply

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