Why I traveled 5070 miles to go to TBU

weekend getaways with Isabelle Kenis Abby Tegnelia Cailin O'NeilYes, it’s true. I traveled 5070 miles from Las Vegas to Manchester, UK for a weekend-long travel blogging conference. And it was awesome. At first, it was timing and friends that got me to do it, and it never occurred to me that I’d make such a trip again. But now, I’m already thinking of the next ones, TBU in Innsbruck and TBEX in Prague. In an ideal world, I’d get to turn each trip into a much longer vacation, but fitting weekend getaways into a busy life of working full-time sometimes means you make big trips for a shorter adventure.

There are worse things!

My reasons for attending TBU:

  • Getting my dream job after 18 months of unemployment/freedom (depending on the day), I had to accept a corporate policy of no time off for six months. You know what that does to people like me. That ended mere days before TBU. The timing alone made it too easy. I was more than ready to get out the ol’ passport.
  • The conference’s founder, Ollie,  promised to pick me up at the airport. Fellow city slickers, you know what a treat this is.

    weekend getaways with Theresa Gotay Oliver Gradwell Cailin O'Neil

    Theresa Gotay, TBU founder Oliver Gradwell, Cailin O’Neil

  • Ever since  TBEX last year in New York turned out to be monumentally life-changing for me, I have a weakness for travel blogging conferences.
  • Hello, like-minded people… Look, there are only so many ways an adult female in her mid-30s can meet new friends. I’d encourage anyone to go to conferences of people with the same interests as you.
  • I can’t go to TBEX Vancouver this year, something I say with a very heavy heart, because my best friend is getting married that weekend in Maui. Twenty three years after a brave sixth grader let me, the new girl, sit next to her on the  bus, I wouldn’t miss that wedding for the world. But that doesn’t mean I have to miss out on the travel blogging circuit entirely… What’s a few thousand miles?
  • My Vegas travel blogging cohort, Diana, said I’d love @theaussienomad, @wildjunket @isabellestravels, @traveldudes, @velvetescape and @insidetravellab. (She was right.)

    Chloe Sometimes, Calin O'Neil, me, Oliver Gradwell, Yvonne Zagermann, Melvin of Traveldudes

    Chloe Sometimes, Calin O’Neil, me, Oliver Gradwell, Yvonne Zagermann, Melvin of Traveldudes, and two lovely friends of his.

  • The geek in me loves sitting in lectures by people like @goshpr, learning new things, wearing name tags and calling people by their Twitter names.
  • I’d never been to Manchester.

Why I was glad I went:

  • I unexpectedly got to go shopping. British clothing is more… feminine than American attire, and I now wear those ruffles with pride.
  • I met @expatgermany (Laurel SHOWN below with Deedee), @jools_octavius, @mikeachim, @jm_deluxe, @chloesometimes, @campinginheels, @johnonolan, @justtravelous, @heatheronhertravels, @glampacker, @kathryntravels, @kellydunning @micheleaggiato, @pommiestravels, @mypostcardfrom, @floatingspheres and many, many more.
  • Like at TBEX, I walked away a new member of a “club.” Then, it was TBEXA, the A team. At TBU, the talk is of Club 91. Guess you had to be there…

    Chris Richardson and Nellie Huang

    Chris Richardson and Nellie Huang

  • I forgot how much fun it is to cover lectures like a press conferences, tweeting the highlights and gossiping with bloggers sitting 10 feet away from you. I’m looking at you, @travelingeditor, @theaussienomad and @bgb_news.
  • My neighbors at Light @budgettraveler, @velvetescape, @travelwithamate @traveldudes, @axpet and @isabellestravel were the hosts of every after-party and my escorts when I didn’t know where I was going. Which was all the time.
  • I finally got a thorough education in SEO usage.
  • Travel bloggers keep me on my toes. By the time I landed in the U.S., my inbox was already flooded with everyone’s posts on TBU, my Facebook filled with tagged photos from the event. Since I went straight to a packed few days of work in NYC, my motto is… Better late than never. Enjoy!
Frasier, Justin Morris, Matt of Travelwithamate

Frasier, Justin Morris, Matt of Travelwithamate

Laurel Robbins

Laurel Robbins and a friendly PR rep

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. Haha great write up Abby! Was awesome to meet you and have many, many drinks. Good to hear you got a lot out of the conference and I concur, travel bloggers are mad fun to hang out with.

    Here’s to the next one!

  2. Good, insightful post Abby! I wish I could go to one of these but as you know, I go where the big ship goes, lol. And Manchester would have been a treat. How many travel bloggers could I had dragged to Old Trafford for a United match with me?
    Speaking of, did you pick up some United gear for yourself? At least a supporter’s scarf I hope. 🙂

    These conferences really seem like a great way to network though and with more planning in the future, I’ll be sure to meet such fabulous people at one.

    Did you get any great tips while there?


  3. Haha I haven’t stayed up that late in a very long time!

  4. Oh what fun we had and FINALLY I got to meet the stunning Abby I’d been swapping tweets and emails with for so long before.

    Convincing you to come to Club91 instead of working at 11pm at night was so worth it 🙂

  5. We were both running on about 20% sleep.

    But the 20% of me that met the 20% of you on Sunday was absolutely delighted to. And even as sleep-hungover as I was that day and as incapable I was of stringing two syllables together into a meaningful grunt…it’s obviously you’re enormous fun.

    Hey, let’s hang out more. 🙂

  6. Aww Mike and Chris are making me blush. I feel like you guys are celebrities I finally got to meet. Yes, we need to hang out more! TBU was awesome, really, really awesome. Soo happy to meet you guys!

  7. @Che So happy you told me you’d left a comment — it was in my spam for some reason. My favorite lessons were really just hearing again how important it is to have a theme, so you can market yourself. And of course, the importance of SEO words. I tend to forget about that and just write what I want! All of the lectures are online, too, on the TBU website. You should take a look!

  8. I loved reading your write-up! I had a great time in Manchester when I was there in August — it’s such a cool city that had an amazing revitalization. But I would have had an even better time there had I been there for TBU!

  9. You don’t go to Vancouver (around the corner), but to a conference in Innsbruck? Wow! But first: Great!

    You going to Europe for a conference for a weekend… how much more travel blogger can you be? 🙂

    I’m looking forward to party at Club91 with you!

  10. I’m really looking forward to TBEX Vancouver — sorry I won’t get to meet you there. Your post has me thinking about Innsbruck and Prague now. I’ve always wanted to travel to those places and to be able to meet fellow travel bloggers while there — perfect! Love seeing your pics of some of my favorite people.

  11. I am so happy you came!!! And I still can’t figure out how we drank two bottles of wine and still weren’t drunk…. 🙂
    Hopefully I’ll see you in Vegas soon!

  12. So happy you went, as it sounds like you had a fabulous and unforgettable time. I’m not gonna lie, I’m jealous that you got to meet some of my favorite travel bloggers!!!

  13. Awesome stuff Abbs! Sounds like it was quite the trip plus you went to the UK (you know how much I love it over there).

  14. SOO jealous. That is all. (oh, ok … also happy for you that you got to go *wink*)

  15. I love it! Looks like a good time. And you, as usual, look fab!

    If any of those peeps come to Vegas, let’s all go out!

  16. IsabellesTravel says:

    What a lovely post! It was so great to meet you and I look forward to seeing you in Innsbruck again. I hope you can convince @DTravelsround to join us!!

  17. Wow- being English I can’t imagine anyone wanting to fly to Manchester for the weekend, however, sounds like you had an amazing time! Sad you won’t be in Vancouver!

  18. I watched all the videos from TBU and was definitely jealous when the camera turned on the crowd. I want to meet all those people too!

  19. Honored to make a guest appearance on your blog! Make sure you make it to Innsbruck and we’ll have another massive Club91 party!

  20. Glad you had a good time here in the usually rainy Manchester. The sun seemed to shine just in time for TBU.

    Hopefully I’ll see you in Innsbruck 🙂

  21. But you didn’t get to meet me! :'( So sad I couldn’t be there…..but I’m holding you to the promise of a Vegas night out next time I manage to get my butt over there!

  22. Reading all of these comments, I’m doubly sad not to be going to Vancouver!

  23. After tweeting with some of the fabulous bloggers of TBU, I’m really sad I didn’t get to participate. I’m already trying to see how I can get myself to Innsbruck on low funds. It seems like TBU was a success because everyone got to talk to one another and hang out. At TBEX, it was a bit of a whirlwind. Maybe you’ll just have to host your own little conference in Vegas. Just saying! Any excuse to see you again, dear!

  24. Ah to be young again! I couldn’t jet across the ocean from the east coast for a weekend, let alone from almost the west. Everyone loved TBEX so much we decided to go, but life got in the way. In the process of selling our tickets. Maybe next time.

  25. You got so much out of it and managed to get in some shopping too which was more than I had time for – did you check out the cool vintage shops in the Northern Quarter?

  26. This post makes me so happy i’m going to TBEX in Vancouver… obviously really sad that we won’t meet up- but I can’t wait to have a similiar experience. I love this community and can’t wait to meet more friends in real life!

  27. @Natalie There actually IS a big conference coming up in Vegas — I need to figure out if it’s been announced yet. I can’t WAIT to see you again in person!

    @Billie — yes, I also can’t go to TBEX, which I why I went to TBU. And now I can’t go to the next TBU… I figure when the scheduling works out for one of these things, it was meant to be! I actually arrived on Thursday morning — and basically slept until Friday evening. I’m not so young anymore myself!

  28. @Heather your post was amazing. It was exactly what I was looking for — a way to connect and see what everyone else had been doing. I love your intro video and am so happy we are in touch!

    @Jade You are going to rock TBEX!!

  29. really fun post — sorry you won’t be at TBEX also!

  30. Great debrief Abby! Brought back some exciting memories (and some very tired ones!).

    It was fantastic meeting you, and meeting /drinking with everyone. Really looking forward to the day when we can all get together again 🙂

  31. Sounds like it was totally worth it! Travel bloggers tend to be a different breed from the people we might normally be surrounded by in our “everyday lives”, so it is a terrific thing to spend time live and in person with other travel bloggers to remind you that you’re not crazy. There are other people out there who feel the same way about travel.

  32. Abby, I’m so happy — and a wee bit jealous — you got to go! Especially because you met up with Matt P. and Chris R., two great guys.

  33. @Michael I’m so bummed to miss Vancouver, and now it looks like I can’t make Innsbruck either. 🙁

    @Fraser Awesome time. We definitely need a reunion soon! Funny how all of us travelers work — it’s hard to get a bunch of moving parts together, yet it is so easy for any of us to jump on a plane. It will happen!

    @Gray YES YES YES It is so wonderful to be around all of us and meet other people with that sense of adventure and need to budget in strange ways to pay for that next trip. It’s so hard to explain that to anyone else!

    @Lauren — Those are two of my favs!

  34. As you mentions here too, it appears that the best part of any TBEX conferecen is getting to meet all the people in the travel blog world. I will make it to one!

  35. Awwww. I SO wish I could have been there. And now, after reading this, I wish it even more. You met some amazing people!!! So glad you enjoyed. Why are there no travel blogging conferences in Vegas? I think we should start one. That way, we get all these awesome people on OUR turf!! xx

  36. Eee! That looks so amazing Abby! After meeting everyone during SXSW I have totally become addicted to meeting my travel buddies.

  37. Call me what you will, I love any social event such as the Catalina Wine Mixer where people call each other by their twitter handles. I’ve heard of people traveling 5070 miles to get to Vegas but I guess when you’re in Vegas, you have to get creative. Looks like you had a great time.

  38. I’m so happy for you that you got to attend TBU and meet such cool people! I sadly have not been to a travel blog conference yet & can’t attend TBEX this year either. Here’s to hoping I’ll make it to one at some point!

  39. Great write up and sounds like it was worth traveling 5070 miles for the weekend. It was so nice to meet you (and thanks for the mention). Hope to see you again in Prague. I’m not able to make Innsbruck as I’ll be on my honeymoon in Canada.

  40. Man…I hope to make it to either TBU or TBX one of these days. Sounds like a networking and party frenzy!

  41. Oh wow, that’s so freaking awesome! I’m always hearing of bloggers attending blogger conferences in near-by cities and such, but never across the pond! But GOOD FOR YOU. Like you said, it’s a great thing to do just before you start your job.

    RUFFLES. Yes yes yes! I love shopping and just fashion in general in the UK. I can’t wait to go back there this summer 🙂

    Glad you had a wonderful time!

  42. Great writeup love your work

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