Photo: Pints of Guinness at TBEX Dublin. October 2013
It’s been one of my goals in the last year or so to try and figure out where I actually fit in in this world. Am I a photographer that blogs? Or am I a blogger that takes better than average photos? Or something somewhere in-between? I don’t quite know. I will never claim to be a good writer, but I think with my travels and the information I like to share, particularly about sometimes obscure places in the world, that I am more than just a photographer. Though I guess most every photographer must be something more to make a living these days, even if said living is sleeping on a fold-out couch at 32 years old.
Long story short, while making travel plans for the Autumn of last year, I took an interest in the TBEX (travel blog exchange) conference occurring in Dublin at the beginning of October 2013. As I had yet to step foot in Ireland, and would be on my way to Wales from Norway about that time anyway. Why not a brief stop over in Dublin? I sometimes don’t require much convincing…
I arrived a couple days early to have a bit of time to settle in, get to know the layout of Dublin a bit and to partake in one of the pre-bex events, in my case, a photo tour around the waterfront of south Dublin guided by Dusk to Dawn tours. The weather was unfortunately rather Irish, read grey sky and mist, but I had a good time none the less, and I really didn’t expect Dublin to be such a coastal town. The tour peaked my interest for a possible return to Ireland sometime in the future.
Wednesday night, before the conference began the following morning, was the opening party held at the Guinness Storehouse. Not knowing what to expect, I made the mistake of going out to dinner before hand. Walking to the building through the rainy, dark streets of Dublin the pounding of drums beckoned from the distance and the dancing shadows of fire led us to the entrance. Before entering the building, I knew I was in for a good night.
Wandering our way to the upper levels of the Guinness storehouse, I came upon a party like none I have ever been to before – though I mostly live a rather boring and eremitic life of lonely landscapes and lost places – so perhaps I don’t have the best references in this department. But I think all the attendees had a good time Upon taking glance of the food available, I immediately realized dinner was a mistake, but welcomed a second one with little protest – especially after nearly a month on a ‘Norwegian diet.’ And to seal the deal, free Guinness, the whole night long. Good music, some Irish dancing and a few hours later, it was finally time for a slightly drunken stupor the 30 minutes back to the hostel. After all, I had an early start for a day full of learning. Had the conference merely been this party, I would have been happy.
Not quite familiar with the Dublin bus system it was an earlier than needed start on Thursday morning, leaving the hostel about 7:45 to give a bit of padding to any navigational errors or wrong routes taken. But other than walking a bit further than necessary, the bus dropped us of more or less right in from on the hotel where the conference would be taking place. Being one of the first ones there, I sat around and drank tea while the conference room slowly filled with other bloggers.
After the opening keynote, there where a multitude of lectures one had the choice of attending on various subjects from travel writing to social media. After lunch provided by the hotel, it was off to another couple of talks for the afternoon.
Later that night, it was time for party number 2, this time at the Odeon theatre. This time I didn’t make the mistake of eating dinner beforehand. There was more than plenty of food going around and another night of free flowing drinks. Another slightly drunken stupor through the streets of Dublin.
Friday continued with more conferences and more learning. I was beginning to get inspired by what I was hearing and was meeting some nice people. Though I still felt a little out of place in the whole event. It seems everyone has some cool-adventurous-world-wandering-nickname for their blog. And me? I’m just Cody from, uhhhh, codyduncan.com. Doesn’t sound very cool or adventurous – though my feet probably walk more miles of trail/wilderness than the rest of the people in the conference combined. And I was definitely under-dressed for the whole affair. But what can I do, fancy shirts are too heavy to carry when you hike in the mountains and don’t just travel through Italian cities eating nice food.
Upon planning for the conference while not quite knowing what to expect, I made the mistake of booking tickets for a 6:00am flight from Dublin to Manchester. This was a horrible mistake, most especially realized upon arriving back at the hostel at 2:00am after another night out on the town. I kind of had places to go, Scotland in Particular. But still, don’t do it.
Overall, the TBEX conference was a mind opening event for me and I’m going to do my best to attend another one this year – either here in North America or in Europe, which would probably be my preference. Attending the parties alone was more or less worth the attendance fee, so everything you learn after that is free bonus! But really, it was good to meet and chat with like minded people, some of whom are successfully making a living at this whole travel blogging thing. Motivation for me to ‘get to it’ one of these days and quit bumming around.