A couple of weeks ago I attended TBEX Travel Conference in Athens. A great experience that was inspiring yet pretty overwhelming (just imagine, 1.000 travel bloggers in one place!) but also a great learning experience. It took me a while to realize but I’ve actually learned a lot in Athens, mostly eye openers that don’t really have to do with travel blogging at all. Today I’ll share my 6 favorite learning moments with you. Why 6? Well, 6 Is my lucky number. It’s a long story but it already brought me a lot of luck in life. A lot of money as a kid (my grandfather used to give me one coin each time 6 was drawn at the national lottery) and a free business class seat for example …
I’m a very good jaywalker
OMG – the traffic in Athens just sucks. Really. I’m very principle when it comes to jaywalking: I don’t do it, but in Athens I was left with no choice. Why? Well, because there are almost no traffic lights, at least, not where my hotel was. Each time I came off the subway, whichever exit I took, there were no traffic lights to cross the insanely busy street. So I risked my life each time by just running across the 6 lane ways like a madwoman. And guess what, it worked pretty well. I should definitely ditch this habit though… not good!
I love Greek Food
Especially the tzatziki, the more garlic, the better! Luckily, everyone in Athens seemed to be eating lots of it so there was no reason to worry at the next day’s business meeting, because we all smelled horrible. Just a shame that I only found out at midnight that I forgot my toothpaste… and that the supermarket across the street from my hotel was already closed. It was a loooong, smelly first night…
I don’t like cities but love the urban outdoors
It’s not a surprise that I don’t like cities. Whenever I’m stuck in one, my mind is screaming to “get the hell out of there”. Even though Athens was not my city (there’s only a handful of cities in the world that I actually love to come back to, so it has nothing to do with Athens) I got to appreciate some urban outdoors. The highlight of it definitely was spending my evening at a rock next to the entrance of the Acropolis, watching the sun set over the city. Me and tons of other tourists of course… because that’s happens when you’re in the city.
I don’t want to be a fulltime travel blogger
After my previous Athens post I got quite a lot of questions from people about why I decided not to be a fulltime travel blogger. There are various reasons but the main one is that traveling has always been my passion. The number of trips that I took over the past year was insane (plus, ofcourse, still one or two coming up before 2015 starts) and made me realize that, as I wrote earlier on last week, that my head is full. I’m finding it harder each time to gather the energy to pack and take off again. Hard but not impossible. But… I want to keep it possible. And keep it real. I want to keep traveling as my passion because I’m afraid that if I turn it into a job, I will lose my passion. And also, to be honest, getting a pay check from my boss each month AND doing 15-20 trips a year is quite a good deal … And a bit insane as well, however I do need traveling to keep me sane.
“It’s never too late to be what you could have been”
This quote by George Eliot was used by Bret Love from Green Global Travel during his presentation about building a better blogging brand. It made me think. And smile. Work hard, play hard, that’s my motto. But this particular quote also made me realize: not too hard, there should be time for other things as well. So instead of being the hard working person doing insane hours, I decided to (or at least try to) become some kind of human again. Meet friends, go out, get drunk. And not always hide behind the laptop to write the story that has been going on in my head. I needed this quote to remind me of that. I don’t want to be a great travel blogger, I want to be a great person. Travel blogging is a part of that, but other things in life are important, too. Amen.
Switch off your goddamn phone at night!
OK, I knew this, I just had to be reminded of it. This happened during the presentation that Tim Leffer gave, named “So Much Content, So Little Time”. I actually did switch off my phone at night for a long time already, because basically, each time I woke up, I checked it and I could easily skip half an hour of sleep in the middle of the night because I was checking Facebook, tweeting or playing Wordfeud (yes, really). At some point this spring, I figured it was pretty insane, so put it on flight mode while I was asleep. But then I gave up again when Martijn went to Iceland over the summer for some guiding. He used to sent me a message each night to let me know if all was fine (or not). Somehow, I never caught sleep until I knew it was all fine, which would be around 2.00 am or so. Ever since, I got back into the habit of not switching my iPhone off. And right now, I’m finding myself using my phone again in the middle of the night. Time to change that, again. So from now on (as in: starting tonight!) I’ll put on the flight mode again. Sorry Wordfeud friends!
Last but not least, I met some truly great other travel bloggers. People that are worth a mention here because they work so damn hard to write down all their stories for you to read. Here are my favorite blogs that are definitely worth checking out (in random order), give them a thumb up if you like!
Passport and Toothbrush, a blog by fellow Dutchie Jaklien who’s living in London. She’s one of the first blogs I started following as my colleague Jennifer mentioned her blog a long time ago …
Forget Someday, a blog by Toccara and Sam. Not only did I really enjoy hanging out with them, I love the fact that they combine travel with fulltime jobs, too. Way to go folks!
Karlijn Travels (in Dutch). Even if you don’t read Dutch, please check out her website. Her pictures are stunning, just gorgeous! I wish I had the skills (and patience) to take pictures like that!
Wonderful Wanderings, a website by Sofie who is a super friendly Belgian lady. We got to meet for the first time this summer when we visited a national park together and ever since I’ve been hooked on her blog.
Wander the Map by American couple Jenna and Micah. I’ve been following them for quite a while since they love adventurous stuff, too. They just get to do the most amazing things!
Enough confessions for now, time to switch off the laptop and enjoy my other life : – )
Sorry for the poor pictures. All shot with the same goddamn iPhone … *should* get myself a new one!
Want to read more confessions? Click any of these:
– Confessions of a travel blogger: part 1 (with just some random confessions)
– Confessions of a travel blogger: part 2 (the one where I admit I’m not that cool…)
– Confessions of a travel blogger: part 3 (the one about my irrational fear of flying)
Want to read more things to do in Athens? Then read this blog about what to see and do in Athens by Happy Frog!
Thanks for sharing!