Gearing Up for TBEX

Those of you who know me personally know that I’m going to Keystone, CO for the weekend. But what  lot of you don’t know is that I’m going there to attend a conference. The conference is the Travel Blogger Exchange and right now, looks like it’s going to be awesome.

Going to the Travel Blogger Exchange

I’m working hard at my travel blog and want to take it to the next level. I’m hoping that attending TBEX, seeing how the pros do it, and hopefully making some good business contacts and new friends will help me get there.

Heading to TBEX

My flight is paid for, hotels are booked, and beers are anticipated – I’m heading to TBEX! It looks like they’ve done an excellent job getting all the travel bloggers attending this conference hookups in and around Denver. We’re going to arrive early Thursday morning, so I’m hoping we’ll have plenty of time to check out the museums and maybe the zoo or wildcat refuge before the beer tasting at Wynkoop Thursday evening.

As for the educational part of the conference itself, my expectations are high. I’m hoping I’ll come away with more of an idea how to be a professional blogger. I know a large part of this – especially in the travel blog community – will be building contacts. Not really networking, cause to me that sounds lame and too Big Business-y, but making genuine relationships with other bloggers; befriending the people I’d probably befriend in real life.

The conference itself is in Keystone, Colorado – a place I’ve never been to. I’ve never been to any part of Colorado or the Rocky Mountains proper (the Tetons are the biggest mountains I’ve been to) so I’m excited about that as well. Truthfully I haven’t heard much about Keystone other than than sharing its name with a poor tasting beer (a sad fate that is close to my heart as a native Milwaukeean) It’s close to Breckenridge and Vail though, so I’m sure it will be awesome.

Keystone Lodges and Mountain View

Photo by slack12 on Flickr

Putting My Best Foot Forward

Since this is such a big deal for me, I’m really trying to get all my ducks in a row before going to the conference. I may have gotten carried away, but so far I’ve:

  • Totally remodeled the site
  • Purchased a new, higher-end travel camera
  • Made up all new business cards for yours truly

Totally Remodeled Website

The biggest and most noticeable thing is definitely the new website design. While the old design was great for looking impressive when someone first found the site, it wasn’t great for really reading the stories (and let’s face it, I can write some obnoxiously long stories ;) or organizing lots of helpful posts on a single page.

There are still some bugs to work out, but right now I’m very happy with the new design and hope it will make the site better for you, my dear readers.

New Travel Camera

My previous travel camera was an Olympus Stylus Tough 8010 – great for what it is: a nearly indestructible, waterproof, compact camera that you can toss in your bag and forget out. Worry-free is the true benefit of a camera like this – high-quality pictures – I’m afraid – is not.

Right now I’m testing out a Sony Cyber-Shot HX9V  and I’m thoroughly liking it. We’ll see if this is the one that makes the cut (more to come in a future post) but it is putting out a strong performance. Which is important, cause I need to take some awesome pictures while at the conference.

New Business Cards

James Bond = Andy Kremer

Photo by ClaraDon on Flicker

I definitely don’t want to be viewed as an amateur in this wild and crazy travel-blogging business (even though I am), so I made certain that I have a quality business card to hand out. I found a design on Zazzle that hopefully will match the new website very well. Extra fancy eggshell-texture and a slighty off-white color to make them seem more aged and world-weary? Check!

I was actually so worried about not getting them in time that I had them shipped straight to the hotel we’re staying at in Denver. I’ve never had a package awaiting me at a hotel, but I’ve seen James Bond do that sort of thing in his movies so I thought, “Hey, why not me too?” Hopefully it’ll actually work, cause I am no Daniel Craig.

All joking aside, Daniel Craig has nothing on me. No seriously, all joking aside, business cards are going to be highly valuable at this conference. It shows that you’re serious and want your blog to be more than a hobby. Also, it’s just another way to keep in contact for the people I do make genuine relationships with. And in this business, that is worth more than gold.

Getting Serious About Travel Blogging

Blogging is More Than a Hobby – It Could Become My Dream Job

So all in all, between upgrading my wares and heading to the conference, I’ve decided to do more than just talk about it. I’m putting my money where my mouth is (or fingers, since I’m typing all of this). It’s an investment, really – an investment in myself, and an investment in where I want to go.

There’s this little thing in life called the Law of Attraction (and it has nothing to do with pheromone laced perfumes) which basically states that you can control everything around you by expecting a specific result. This is the reason people who want to move up to an executive position in a job start wearing suits before it’s required of them – if you walk, talk, act and dress like an executive, you’re more likely to become one.

Sadly, this has never worked for me when playing the lottery (Even though I scheduled it into my calender as “Win the lottery” and the next day scheduled “Take off of work to handle lottery winnings”. Sheesh, what more can I do?!) but I’m hoping by acting, looking, and thinking like a professional travel blogger, I will become one. After all, I have to become one… I need to.

I’m ready for a change in my life. My current job is no longer something I want to do – it’s become just a paycheck. Anytime that happens, I think it’s best to move on. Now, I’ve decided to move on to something I’m deeply passionate about, and something that will work me and my fianceé’s long-term goals in life.

I’m ready for a change, and hoping it will happen at this years TBEX. To all my fellow attendees, I can’t wait to see you there.



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  1. Sounds wonderful! And, yeah, when a job becomes just a paycheck, it is time to move on—except for those little things like food and shelter!

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