I spent part of early June 2022 in beautiful Marbella, Spain, where I attended and spoke at the TBEX Europe 2022 conference for travel bloggers, writers and other creative types who make a living in the travel space. It felt really great and a little bit strange (for all of us, I think) to be traveling and working again after the long lockdown. I hadn't given a public address since before the pandemic and the last thing I wanted was for Covid brain fog to zap my mind while I was standing at the podium. (Thankfully, that didn't happen.) The last TBEX event I took part in was back in 2018 in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Their 2020 conference was scheduled to be held in Sicily in March of that year but was abruptly cancelled due to Covid just days before it was set to start.
For anyone not familiar with TBEX -- short for "Travel Blog Exchange" -- the organization grew out of the explosion in blogging in the early-2000s as a forum for bloggers and writers to come together, learn new tips and tricks, and keep pace with a rapidly evolving industry. TBEX, itself, has since evolved to embrace all manner of travel “creatives,” whether they be more-traditional bloggers and digital nomads, or video-creators, You-Tubers, podcasters, Instagrammers and Tik-Tokers. In addition to attending presentations and meet-ups, participants travel around the region on “fam” trips to give them inspiration and new ideas to write about.
I spoke twice at the conference: once as part of a morning keynote* on ways travel writers can earn and maintain the trust of their readers. Later that day, I gave a separate presentation on how we, as bloggers and writers, can use the two-year Covid pause in a positive way as an opportunity to refocus and reboot our travel-writer identities. For this blog post, I'll write out some general impressions of the conference and the outlook for travel. I'll then summarize the main points of my own presentation.