Mom and I went down to Lloret de Mar, Spain to attend the Travel Blog Exchange (#TBEX) with zero expectations, thus leaving no room for disappointed. That wasn’t necessary because it was a blast. #TBEX blew us both away with how well they took care of hundreds of travel bloggers by arranging food, drinks, events, excursions, a private beach and bar parties.
It is quite expensive to attend one of these Travel Blogger Exchange conventions (ticket, transport, hotel), but there were certainly perks. Our first day started with a three hour catamaran tour along the Costa Brava which means Wild Coast. We sailed past the rocky cliffs, a castle perched up on their shoulders, and soaked up the sun and music on the netted deck.
We anchored in a small, windless bay to relax, and enjoy a BBQ which they had prepared for us. Mom and I shamelessly joined in selfies while others decided to take a plunge into the more than inviting crystal clear waters with every fish and stone visible despite the deep blue depths.
The first person to approach me and ask, “Is your name Savannah?” was Marta, a Polish girl who is now living in Florence, Italy. I’d recently done an interview with her on her site, so it was exciting to already make a friend.
I never expected to have people actually recognize and approach me, especially not as many that did!
It’s very bizarre to see so many familiar faces in a room of strangers and to have people come up and say “Oh my gosh, are you I grew my boobs in China?!!!!” There were people who insisted I was “famous” on social media, others who loved my book and some who I’d worked with before.
It felt like one big family that I’d never met. I didn’t (only 2 months) go to high school, so never had that big friend community where everyone hangs out and has parties, but this is how I imagine it would’ve been. These are “my people” and it feels really amazing to be part of this and really feel accepted, like I belong.
Sometimes we forget to look behind us and see the road we’ve paved and #TBEX confirmed how far I’ve come, and how hard I’ve worked to get where I am today.
We were taken by private boat to the opening party where they dropped us off right on a the private beach of the luxurious Hotel Santa Marta.
We stepped from the boat’s ramp onto the sand which was lit by a beautiful pathway of candles and blue lights.
The mayor of Lloret de Mar stood tall at the top of the stairs greeting each and every person with a warm handshake. Servers glided through the crowds offering snacks and drinks from platters, police patrolled the beach and party, and live entertainment was brought in just for us.
There was absolutely no shame in taking selfies or tweeting every five minutes. I’m still trying to get over how they managed to find an internet server that could support 500+ bloggers on their phones at once! When Klout scores, Twitter followers, hashtags, number of impressions or page views were mentioned, we were all on the same page. Suddenly I wasn’t the weirdo Social Media nut living in the “Twittersphere”.
Everyone spoke English, for many it was their native tongue which is always a nice treat after months in our small Dutch village. It was here that I met my second #TBEX BFF, Travis Longmore who I’d done a podcast interview with not too long ago. You can check out his podcasts, I’m #3 on the list.
I was so impressed by how much effort TBEX put into making it a fabulous event. There were definitely moments I felt like a celebrity, and heck, why not enjoy the fairytale while you’re in it, right?
Because I know most of you are not bloggers, I will not bore you with the details of the actual convention but just for the record, we had a great time. It was very good to confirm that we are on the right track and we left feeling inspired and are determined to work even harder.
During lunch on the second day of the actual convention, where they offered a large variety of food in buffet form, I organized a #TRLT tweetmeet after realizing there were several of us attending #TBEX. In the end we had a group of 11 of us. Yay!
By the time it ended I was sad to be saying goodbye to people who felt like long time friends. At the closing keynote they announced that next year’s #TBEX Europe will be held in Stockholm, Sweden which is about the same driving distance as it is to Lloret de Mar, Spain. I would definitely like to go again next year.
Now I’m going to say something that kind of contradicts what I’ve been saying, but going to #TBEX made me realize I’m not a travel blogger, I’m an author and I have to remember that. Their aims are much different than mine and I don’t want to get side tracked. Mom and I ended up turning down an all inclusive, four day tour in Spain to come back early and get back to work.
P.S. For those in Vancouver, I’m extremely happy to announce that my books are now available in both North and West Vancouver in Chapters/Indigo on Marine Drive and in Park Royal. I plan to do book signings there on my upcoming book tour in October-December, so I’d LOVE to see you there.
Categories: Savannah Grace