“Who wants to go to TBEX with me?”

A little over a month ago my friend, Momfluential’s Ciaran Blumenfeld, posted a status on Facebook that went something like, “I’m going to TBEX in Athens, who wants to come with me?” I sat there staring at the screen thinking, “Can I really do this?” I took a deep breath and commented, “I’m in!” and the rest, as they say, was history.

Pulling the trigger

Making the decision to go to a travel bloggers conference was easy. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to Athens and hang out with a bunch of well-traveled, creative bloggers? That part was a no brainer. What made this decision so monumental for me, I was taking the leap from blogger wanna-be to the first steps towards a new and exciting phase of my life. I was realizing my dream of going from corporate cube-monkey, to traveling the world and sharing my experiences. It’s exciting and scary at the same time, but it was time and I was ready.

Athens: Taking the plunge

So I took the plunge, hopped on a plane (ok a couple of planes) and went to Athens. I like to think that I found my travel blogging mojo in Athens. It’s the perfect city to inspire someone to write about their travels. The people of Athens were so welcoming and so proud of their city. It’s a thriving city, where ancient history and culture mixes with gritty street art and skateboarders. The food, well as we say in New Jersey, “fugetaboutit!” The food was amazing, so good in fact, that my suitcase was full of olive oil, olives, baklava, and Ouzo to take home!

Acropolis, Athens Greece

So what did I learn at TBEX?

What did I learn at TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange)? I learned a lot of the nuts and bolts of what it takes to be a successful travel blogger. I attended sessions about the business of travel blogging, like building a better blogging brand with Bret Love from Green Global Travel (@GreenGlobalTrvl), Ciaran Blumenfeld (@momfluential) taught us how to harness our hashtags, and Tammilee Tillison (Tammilee Tips @tammileetip) showed us how to build our blogging business and be more productive. Sarabeth Jones(@sarabethjones) did a great job showing us how we can do more with iPhone photography, and Budget Traveller‘s Kash Bhattacharya (@budgettraveller) talked about what it takes to create an award winning blogger campaign. There were more sessions than I had time to go to, but the reviews from other bloggers were that these sessions were all fantastic.

What else did I learn about going to TBEX Athens?

I learned that everyone has a story and you can learn something from everyone you meet. I learned to put myself out there and ask for help. Most of all I, was inspired to change my “someday I’ll do this” mentality to a “today is the day” mentality. I left TBEX with plans swirling in my head, steps I needed to take, and excitement at the possibilities that lay before me! Next stop, TBEX Costa Brava in the Spring — and I’ll be ready!

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Maureen Baeck
Maureen Baeck, AKA The Travel Blonde, has a passion for travel. Ever since she was a small child she has been on-the-go traveling across the United States and internationally. Maureen lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, two Standard Poodles and a Sheltie.

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