Last year Mom and I attended the travel blogger conference #TBEX 2015 in Costa Brava, Spain for our first time. We were looking forward to this year’s European #TBEX 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden. Attending TBEX is a great way to meet like-minded people, brainstorm, listen to experts in the travel industry and make future business connections with tourism boards, hotel chains, writers and travel marketers.
I always feel VIP being part of TBEX as they arrange so many great perks with the local tourism board and companies in the travel industry. This year we all got a fantastic package with maps, information, free access to museums, local attractions, tours and a pass for all local transit within the city, including the Hop On-Hop Off sight-seeing buses and boats. I instantly knew we hadn’t booked enough time to discover all of Stockholm!
We spent most days inside for the conferences listening to speeches, socializing, swapping business cards and devouring delicious food provided by The Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel. Luckily we still had a lovely view from The Radisson and the sun sets so late (almost 11 pm) that there was still enough time afterwards to explore.
In my opinion, this year’s opening party was nothing compared to last year’s in Spain where we arrived by private boat on a private stretch of beach with a beautiful walkway to the actual venue lit by candles. Truly magical. This year’s “closing party” (which was actually the night before the closing because some people would miss it due to fam trips) was the real hit! The TBEX crew had the impressive Vasa Museum, the most visited museum in Scandinavia, reserved JUST FOR US! There was a live violinist playing in the corner in a beautiful red dress. The giant hall was dimly lit giving it a very mystical atmosphere, the fully intact 17th century ship as the central masterpiece.
I’m not a huge fan of museums, but the Vasa Museum is a must see when visiting Stockholm. The guides’ knowledge about the history of this fascinating ship seem endless and their enthusiasm is contagious. Mom and I spent our time there in complete awe.
In 1628, this massive ship SUNK just 20 minutes into its MAIDEN voyage. It was under water for 331 years before navy divers salvaged it by pulling massive steel cables under the ship in order to pull it up and out of the water. The largest of its time, it took 1,000 oak trees to build the remarkable 64-gun warship. Some of which were recovered in what looks to be perfect condition so many years later. The amount of time, energy, money, resources and sweat that went into this masterpiece is unfathomable.
If you are at the Vasa Museum don’t miss the skeleton’s and lifelike wax moulds downstairs of REAL sailors who went down with the ship hundreds of years ago. They sculpted the faces using structure of the skulls they found at the bottom of the ship. They are so incredibly life-like, I was literally expecting them to jump up and scream at me any second.
After a couple hours spent there, the TBEXers walked five minutes to the ABBA museum. If you don’t know already, ABBA is our go-to road tripping music and Shane Dallas listens to ABBA during every #TRLT session so it felt like this part was planned just for us.
The ABBA museum is very interactive with lots of fun technology where you can sing and dance with the famous band, record your own voice in a studio and play instruments. The history of the band as well as music itself is present there. It was very interesting to see the evolution of musical technology over the years from phonograph players to smart phones.
Shane’s speech on G+ was held at the end of the last day. It’s always a treat to listen to him speak. As he puts it, “something magical happens” when he’s up there. I couldn’t agree more. After 20+ years of public speaking, it’s no wonder he’s that amazing. I was honoured that he mentioned #TRLT and pointed me out in the second row several times during his presentation. I look forward to seeing him again somewhere in the world.
It was great fun to meet new friends and reconnect with old ones. Some of these amazing people include Swedish photographer @WonderingViking who is based in The Netherlands, Australian public speaker, world traveller and #TRLT founder Shane Dallas who currently lives in Kenya and will soon be visiting country #100, Pia Abboud a beautiful traveller from Lebanon, Global Degree founder Michael Graziano, who was actually raised in West Vancouver, Canada and I went to school with his younger sister(!) is on a mission to take you around the world to every single UN country, Engin Kaban a Turkish travel blogger and couch surfer who Ammon hung out with years ago in Turkey, Skye Class from USA was named after the gorgeous Isle of Skye and is currently based in Edinburgh, J.C. Lightcap is a serial traveller who focusses on delivering travel safer tips, Scotland and has been travelling the world for the past two years, and most amazing of all is Caroullou who has visited a whopping 85 countries and has been travelling the world non-stop for the past 22 years!!!!!
The announcement was made that International #TBEX 2017 will be held in Jerusalem, Israel! So if you’re planning on joining, you can book early bird tickets now.
Categories: Savannah Grace