My First Time at TBEX Asia

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Well I’m late! 

I would have thought leaving my hostel 45 minutes in advance to make it to my first TBEX Asia pre-tour was enough time but apparently not in Bangkok. 

To start I couldn’t get a cab to take me all the way to the Queen Sirikit Convention Center, which was only 6 kilometers away, but once you have faced Bangkok traffic, you’ll understand why the taxi drivers were less than excited when I told them my destination.

I thought that my hostel was close enough that it wouldn’t be a problem, but that was mistake #1. If I attend another TBEX in the future, I know to find something closer to the venue.

Responsible tourism talk
Responsible tourism talk

 

After inching along in traffic, my taxi dropped me off outside the convention center at the exact time my tour was to be leaving. I ran/walked my way through the building thinking they were gone for sure, but lucky for me the afternoon tours were running a little behind!

I made it just in time!

TBEX Pre-tour

I had read up on a few posts from the last TBEX trying to prepare myself since I have never attended anything like this before and wanted to make sure I made the most of the conference.

The pre-tour was an added bonus. I was excited to see more of Bangkok since it isn’t my favorite city, and I usually don’t venture far when I am there. More so I was excited to meet the other bloggers on the tour. I was attending the conference alone, and I really wanted to meet other bloggers before the actual conference started.

Wat Pho statue with top hat
A statue at Wat Pho

Within a few minutes of us pulling away from the convention center, we had all introduced ourselves and were starting to get to know each other. Everyone on the tour was so friendly and eager to get to know one another. 

Organized tours aren’t usually my first choice when visiting a city, but this one was really nice. We hit up the flower market, went to Wat Pho to see the giant reclining Buddha, had a refreshing drink at sunset along the river, and then ended the first part with dinner.

Then we joined up with another group for a night trolley tour through the city. Most of the places we saw were closed since it was later, but seeing them all lit up was just fine by me. Our last stop on the trolley tour was Wat Pho again. Getting to see it during the day was nice, but seeing Wat Pho at night was my favorite part of the whole day.

One because the crowd was minimal, but I felt like the structures were even more beautiful at night.

Jodi Ettenberg closing keynote
Podcasting talk

TBEX Welcoming Parties

That first night after our tour Travel Massive was hosting a welcoming party at a rooftop bar. I’ll be honest. I felt a little out of place here. I’ve never been big on going to bars or clubs by myself. I just feel awkward trying to join in on other’s conversations.

None the less, I am happy I went and checked it out. I had my free drink, took in the view of the city, and then decided to call it a night.

The next evening was the opening night dinner and this is where my awkwardness left me. This is where I started to build friendships. I got to know so many bloggers and media folks at the party, and even went out for drinks afterwards with an awesome group of people who I am still in contact with now that the convention is over.

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Jodi’s closing keynote

 TBEX Talks

There were so many talks to choose from over the 2 day conference, and I was really excited about a few of them.

The one I was most excited about was the Responsible Tourism talk. I have been following Diana from D Travels Round for the last few years now, and she has been a big inspiration to me when talking about responsible travel. Ethan Gelber of The Travel Word and and Ian Ord of Where Sidewalks End were also on the panel. 

As a person who stresses responsible tourism, I thought I knew pretty much everything, but attending this talk opened my eyes to even more responsible tourism resources and things to think about during my own travels.

Why You Should Start Podcasting was another topic I was really excited about. Alan has been trying to get me into podcasting for the longest time, and now I feel like I am ready to start, so be on the lookout in the near future!

fireworks over Bangkok harbor
Farewell party fireworks over the harbor

The closing keynote was probably the most inspiring part of the whole conference for me. Jodi Ettenberg from Legal Nomads gave a wonderful talk about inspiring others with stories.

I have struggled with my writing at times because it just didn’t seem like me. I felt like I needed to mimic so many other bloggers that are huge, but when I would, it just felt forced. This was also my issue regarding my podcast because I didn’t know what to talk about. Well….why not tell stories?

I have always been a story teller. My friends have even made fun of me for it because I always have a story about something.

During Jodi’s talk, everything just clicked for me. Now I have a good idea of what direction I want to take for my blog and podcast. 

I am so glad I decided to buy my ticket to TBEX Asia. I have taken away so much from it. I learned a lot about the industry and where I want to be in it, and most importantly I have made great friends who I hope to see again somewhere in this great wide world.

 

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