“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks Henry!
This last trip to Europe came to be because I was invited to participate in the Travel Bloggers Unite conference in Innsbruck. In the months preceding the conference Oliver Gradwell (founder of TBU) and I started to look at ways to collaborate on a project for the conference. In the end we decided that I could play a role by leading some fun photowalks of Innsbruck where the other participants could join in and hopefully learn some new tips and trick about how to improve their photography. Since these were some of the best travel bloggers in the world, I was honoured to be given the chance to lend a helping hand. I had a great time meeting everyone, both on the tours I gave and at the seminars, dinners, cocktail parties and post conference press trips.
Getting back to Henry’s quote, I have to say that one of the best parts of the conference was the sharing of information at the workshops and the overall helpful nature of everyone who I spoke to. Thanks to the great people that took part in the conference, I am seeing many things in a new way and that is great news. I’ll take all the inspiration that I can get and there was a lot of that happening in Innsbruck the week of the conference.
The workshops I attended:
Ruth Haffenden on Pitching to PR
There were also panel discussions with a host of great participants. Not to be forgotten are the photo tours with my friend Kirsten Alana on iPhoneography and yours truly on how to improve your travel photography.
I also tried sitting in on my new friend John O’Nolan‘s talk on web design, but I messed up and ended up in his super advanced course on PHP suitable for coding ninjas only. Since I was sober, I had no choice but to walk out. The next time I attend one of John’s workshops I’ll come prepared. What I needed was his earlier talk on “Taking control of WordPress”. Next time John!
It’s the people that make the place
This was the first time that I had the chance to attend a travel blogger conference and I’m so glad that I did. The conference itself was a great learning experience, but it was the people that I met that made me walk away with a smile on my face and the desire to meet again the next time Travel Bloggers Unite holds a conference. I was surrounded by passionate people with similar aspirations to continue exploring the world. Like me, these bloggers are not only interested in travel for themselves, but rather they have the desire to share their experiences with the rest of the world. My people!! :D
Each blogger has their own style and niche and I’d like to introduce you to a few of the wonderful bloggers that I met on this trip.
Kirsten Alana, fellow photographer with a passion for iPhoneography. http://www.aviatorsandacamera.com/
Kate McCulley, new friend and awesome travel companion. This trip would not have been nearly as fun without crossing paths with Kate in Salzburg and having our champagne filled piano bar adventure after a night of Mozart Opera at the world’s oldest restaurant. http://www.adventurouskate.com/
John O’Nolan, kick ass designer & code monkey, world class profanity utterer, and big time traveller. http://john.onolan.org/ & http://travelllll.com/
Melvin Boecher, the original Travel Dude! http://www.traveldudes.org/
Isabelle Kenis writes an awesome blog with tons of useful information. Isabelle is a blogger with a big heart and a passion for travel. http://www.isabellestravelguide.com
Abigail King, she went from being a medical doctor to a career as a travel journalist and blogger, wow! http://www.insidethetravellab.com/
All the cool girls from Travelettes http://www.travelettes.net/meet-the-travelettes/
Andy Hayes writes for several blogs and tweets for Matador http://andyhayes.com/ & http://matadornetwork.com/
I’m missing so many good people and blogs here in this very short list. Looks like I need a travel blog list to share with you. I’ll have one up here on my blog soon!
Things are looking up!
Andy, Kirsten and I arrived one day earlier than most and were fortunate to get a private tour of Innsbruck. We got a chance to visit the Hofburg or Imperial Palace, the Cathedral, several museums, a bell foundry, churches and a very cool bar called 360° for it’s panoramic view. The decor at the Hofburg in Innsbruck reminds me of my apartment, only less elaborate. Ha! As I walked through the palace, I just stood in awe at all the elaborate artwork, and lavish furniture that they showcase. It’s hard to believe that some people lived this way, and that some still do.
Suffering… Um, I mean RELAXING is good for the soul!
The TBU conference ended with some very cool (yet brief) tours where each blogger had the chance to choose from several possible themes. After several late nights of um ‘Networking’, yeah let’s call it that, I was very happy to have chosen the ‘Relaxation’ tour in Seefeld just a few kilometers outside of Innsbruck. Nestled in the Alps, Seefeld was a picture perfect location and I’d love to photograph Seefeld, Innsbruck and the rest of the Tirol region blanketed in a fresh snowfall in winter. While winter is the high season for tourism in this part of Austria, I’ll be the first to tell you that summer is not too shabby at all!
Our guide Lilli from the Seefeld Tourism Board was a wonderful host and made sure that everyone on the tour was having a great time from the moment we arrived. The group was treated royally in 5 star accommodations at the Hotel Klosterbräu, each of us given a HUGE suite. The room covered two time zones and the area was measured in acres ;) plus that may have been the nicest bathroom I ever had on all my travels, what a killer whirlpool tub! The spa area was perfect with all sorts of saunas, hot tubs, swimming pools, relaxation rooms and even a foot bath where tiny fishies would nibble on your feet. Not too sure I liked the fish foot thing, but the rest was awesome! Each of us was also given a stress reducing hot candle wax massage at the Krumer Post Hotel and Spa. In the evening we had the good fortune of dining at the Astoria Hotel in Seefeld where we were treated to a delicious 5 course meal that I’m still dreaming of. Sounds horrible, right? You must really feel bad for me, thank you for that. It’s ok though, I feel it necessary to suffer for my art from time to time. ;)
Great food, fantastic hosts, decadent accommodations, blissful spas and wonderful company… Yep, that is what I call relaxing. One could get used to this.
What a great way to end a busy yet very enjoyable conference and what a perfect way to begin the next part of my trip across Austria, Hungary and Germany. I’m looking forward to the next TBU conference as it should prove to be even more fun, since I left Innsbruck with some new and inspirational friends, some motivating information and a whole lot of new plans. See you all next time!