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TBEX: Meeting the travel blogger community

TBEX 2013

I've just returned from one of the most memorable trips I've ever taken. The destination: Ireland. Surprised? Well, it wasn't just a trip. For the first time since I started this blog nine months ago, I convened with fellow travel bloggers.

Convened is an understatement. I spent five days with a group of twenty bloggers on a tour across the northwest of Ireland, courtesy of Failte Ireland and Discover Ireland. Next, I joined over 600 bloggers, writers, editors and travel industry reps at TBEX, the world's largest travel blogger conference.

Looking back, I'm having trouble finding the words to describe what I experienced during this week. Meeting so many likeminded people who share my burning passion for travel resulted in a tsunami of inspiration, knowledge, excitement and positive energy. My head is still spinning with all of these new impressions and inputs.

Perhaps the biggest joy was a product of being able to commiserate over the struggles that I've experienced the last nine months. What struggles, you ask?  Let me elaborate.

To most of my friends and the people around me, I've been on a never-ending holiday, enjoying myself in some the world's most paradisiacal places. If you look at my stories and pictures, it's easy to see how one would come to this conclusion.

What the palm trees and immaculate beaches fail to convey is that I was also going through an intense struggle while learning all the nuances of running a blog: writing effectively in a foreign language, mastering basic photography techniques, creating videos, using social media, and perhaps the biggest pain, figuring out how to put it all together in a way that is fun to read.

Then there is the mental aspect of running a blog. That little voice that pops up in your head at times, making you question yourself: do people really care about what I write? Am I good at this? Is this just some silly endeavor that I'm undertaking that will fizzle out in a few months? Why is no one commenting on my posts?

Being able to share all this with others bloggers was a great relief. Talking to someone who understands what you're talking about is always nice, and I now know that every blogger is going through the same thing. Phew...ok, so it's not just me!

Here are a few pictures of some of the bloggers I've made friends with (pictures by me and Tammy Burns)

I made so many new friends and met so many amazing people that it would be impossible to mention them all, but I would like to take the opportunity to say "thanks" to a few:

*Stacey, Tammy and Mariellen, for teaching me how to use twitter. (Can you believe that after nine months of blogging I still had no idea how to tweet?!)

*Steve (aka backpacker Steve) for showing me how to create cool videos

*Christa (aka The Fairytale Traveller) for all the communication and networking lessons (and for being so bad-ass; this woman's life really is on steroids)

*Carina from Travel Run Play for being the only German who smiled when I started singing my favorite German song, Das Fliegerlied (and Susie and Tobias for putting up with me constantly singing it)

*Paul from Global Help Swap for...uhm... just being awesome :)

To give you a little insight into what TBEX looks like, here's a video of the opening party at the Guinness Storehouse, courtesy of Failte Ireland.

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12 thoughts on “TBEX: Meeting the travel blogger community

Comment author said

By Steve (@Backpackersteve) on 10 October 2013 at 12:13

Hey buddy - it was a pleasure hanging out with you, sharing some pints and thoughts. Struggling is a very important part of the game, focussing on your readers will push you in the right direction.

Have I mentioned that I love shots with wide beaches and palmtrees? Keep it up and never forget the Fliegerlied :)


Comment author said

By Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap) on 10 October 2013 at 14:00

Great post mate and my sentiments too. Its so great to meet my tribe finally. Are you coming to WTM?

Take care,



Comment author said

By Jasper Ribbers on 10 October 2013 at 17:44

Hey Paul! No, I'll be in Brazil until the end of the year.


Comment author said

By Tobias (kleine Weltreise) on 10 October 2013 at 20:25

Hey Jasper, it was great following your ambitions of a second career als Schlagersänger :) Hope you'll have a great time in Brazil! Keep on blogging! See ya next time/ any time any where!


Comment author said

By Alison Chino on 10 October 2013 at 14:06

Jasper it was super fun to meet you! I loved our trip to the Northwest of Ireland and also learned so much from the other bloggers who were willing to share tips and tricks for doing a better job of this travel blogging gig!

It's a fun one to be sure!

See you somewhere! :)


Comment author said

By Jasper Ribbers on 10 October 2013 at 17:45

For sure Allison, hope we'll have a reunion at some point!


Comment author said

By Susi on 10 October 2013 at 19:28

Nice post, Jasper! I'm honoured to be one of the first travel bloggers you ever met - even if I'm probably never going to like Das Fliegerlied (and all the other Schlager and Après-Ski songs - not even a strong dose of Guinness could change that ;-) ). Great meeting you, have a great time in Brazil and see you for ITB Berlin, maybe! :-)


Comment author said

By Jasper Ribbers on 10 October 2013 at 23:05

Hey Susi, sounds good I'll put the ITB in my agenda ;-)


Comment author said

By Tammy Burns on 11 October 2013 at 05:46

Hey Jasper! It was so great to meet you, too (and I'm honoured for the shout-out for teaching you the finer points of Twitter). Don't lose your passion in all the questions that travel blogging brings. Just follow what feels right and let things fall into place. It's a weird industry that's always changing, so don't worry, we're all doubting ourselves! That's what I love so much about TBEX - like you said, it reminds us we're not alone and we're not crazy. (Or if we are crazy, at least we're all in it together.)

Das Fliegerlied - is that what that song was you kept singing??? I didn't even know it and STILL had it stuck in my head for days! I was humming it to myself all through Belfast! Also, even now, back home, when Stacey and I talk about you guys, Steve is always Backpacker Steve and always pronounced with a Dutch accent. :)


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