It all happened rather quick. I sent in a hasty submission about why I wanted to attend the BlogHouse Ireland by Navigate Media Group and completely expected to be skipped over.
Cut to September 29th on an Irish train headed from Dublin to Limerick Junction. I was pinching myself as I observed the lush green landscape dotted with white sheep, dairy cows and the occasional ruin standing next to the train tracks as casually as the drunken man who wore his wife’s underwear on the train.
Another old man stumbled past my seat and struck up a slurred conversation with a female solo traveler sitting a few rows ahead of me. He suddenly broke out into an amusing Irish ditty that had to do with zoology (don’t ask me).
When I finally arrived at Limerick Junction and boarded a bus headed for Bansha Castle I was as timid as a lamb. The other bloggers on board seemed to be so outspoken and I was in a panic questioning if they would be as quick to sniff out my nervousness as the Wine Bloggers from June.
Later on that evening after we all settled into our fairy tale like rooms I soon discovered that I was in good company and hey! They like to drink too!
But in all seriousness I have never met a more welcoming group of people who were all open to new paths and enhance their online pursuits.
I think that our acting instructors for the next 3 days had a great deal of an influence on our overall mood and openness. They all made it feel like we were reconvening friends:
Pete and Dalene of Hecktic Travels who are married full time travellers originally from Calgary and were the “deans”, if you will, facilitating us through the next 3 days of intense training.
Michael Hodson of Go See Write who at times came off as the Tony Stark of monetization as he smoked his cigars outside under the heat lamps (both figuratively and literally) giving us niches and giving us strategies to make us grow our audiences.
Craig and Linda of Indie Travel Podcast were a pleasure to talk to and a huge help on the SEO side of blogging. I highly recommend them if you ever need help with a website or enjoy New Zealand accents singing through your computer speakers on travel topics.
Finally, I also learned from fellow Canadian Ayngelina of Bacon Is Magic who’s no nonsense approach to social media made me take it more seriously but realize that it isn’t as big of a monster I had made it out to be. I have now become addicted to TweetDeck and scheduling Facebook posts up to a week in advance leaving me more time to write and edit photos.
I could go on and on about what I learned at the BlogHouse but what I am cherishing are the relationships. After 2.5 years of blogging I now feel more apart of the travel community than ever before and I whole heartedly extend invitations to those I’ve met – Come to British Columbia and we’ll have a grand old time at the wineries, breweries and or spirit producers! I’ll show you how we do in BC!
So now what?
Well now that I have been through a whirlwind of blog education at the BlogHouse I was fully prepared for TBEX (otherwise I would have been lost). As you may know I am an introvert so already meeting the bloggers who attended the BlogHouse made it easier to walk into such a huge conference with confidence.
I’ve already made a few changes to my blog and there are more to come in due time. While I will never stop travelling I will on the other hand value the place I have come from, British Columbia born and raised.
BlogHouse may not be for everyone. The intensity, the late night niching, the necessary drinking that comes to follow when someone suggests a blog name change or worse…
And the dedication you’ll need to have to continue on while taking what you learned to create something beyond everyone’s expectations. I know all of us from BlogHouse Ireland are on a good path. Fellow attendees you’ve gained a friend and, perhaps more importantly in our time of fragility, a new follower!
Check out these inspirational bloggers who are all over the map and cover such a diverse range of topics:
A Passport Affair – Megan, an American expat currently living in London who was the funny mama of the group and a pleasure to talk to wether it be about ghosts or crazy London club goers she spies on from her flat. She’s heading to New York next.
Indiana Jo – Jo, once a lawyer now a traveler with a passion for hostels, is an energetic and curious soul who will be one to follow if you’re looking for travel trips made budget friendly.
Eille La Cheap! – Beatrice is a lifestyle blogger based in Montreal who shares my affinity for both travel and returning home to Canada. Her multilingual blog is a place for me to practice my French grammar, learn about saving money at home and on the road while keeping stylish.
Helen in Wonderlust – An inspirational woman from England who is the MOST adventurous person I have met yet! From Africa to Asia she spreads her joyful personality while doing good in the world. But I can’t say enough how brave she is – Take a look!
Nerd Travels – Brendon is one to watch for those of you looking to “level up”while on your quests around the world (Dungeons & Dragons reference…Yes, I’ve played!). This Aussie is truly a world traveler and can currently be found in Italy.
Sateless Suitcase – Julika was one of the bloggers I was most excited to meet as a fellow art history enthusiast. She lives in Germany and loves Medieval architecture. She’s the one to go to for historical travel, artistic context and superb photographs.
The Occasional Traveller – Jaclynn seemed to be my partner in crime at the BlogHouse table with Bulmers cider or beer as our third wheel. She specializes in travel around Singapore and beyond. She’s also an amazing artist but hardly admits it as she modestly shrugs at her hand carved stamps and sketches!
Travel Addicts – Lance, one half of the duo that makes this travel blog site, was a wealth of knowledge on everywhere and everything it seemed. He and his wife focus on ways you can maximize your travel days while working full time. It is possible! Take a look at them go!
True Travellers – Andrew Whaba (his last name is just fun to say) was a true Canadian gentleman so it is no wonder he made a website for people to find volunteer opportunities abroad. He loves to help people which is why he quit his government job in Regina and is heading to India to teach hockey with a camera crew in tow. See his personal blog here – WanderingWahba
And thank you to our BlogHouse sponsors: