It’s a funny business this world of travel blogging. Although I’m interacting and ‘meeting’ new people all the time, it can be a lonely endeavor. I spend hours and hours sitting behind my computer working on videos, writing posts, and keeping up on the plethora of social media networks that continue to pop up at an alarming rate. In fact, I’d say traveling only makes up about 10% of this job. The rest, well it’s not quite so glamorous.
When I returned to Toronto in 2012 after living and traveling abroad for a few years, I was invited to an event where travelers meet up, hang out and connect in real life. It was free (perfect for my non-existing bank account at the time) and I thought it could be fun. The event was called Travel Massive and it was being held at Bar Wellington in Toronto. So I thought ‘what the heck’ and headed down hoping I wouldn’t be standing in the corner most of the night by myself. I walked into a room full of people all engaged in what looked like very exciting conversations. I could hear snippets of chatter drifting over the air about someone’s latest adventures, what Google’s latest update meant to their blog (no idea what that meant at the time), and how best to get people to comment on a post. I was confused and intrigued all at the same time. My travel blog was only about a year old at this point and it appeared I had been living in a bubble about this whole blogging world.
Travel Massive started with a small group of travelers meeting in a bar in Sydney, Australia back in 2009. Today, this community of travel insiders, leaders, and innovators has grown exponentially and reaches over 100 cities around the world with some 10K+ members.
I’ve been an active participant in the Toronto Travel Massive chapter ever since that first meeting at Bar Wellington. We meet once a month in a different part of the city and talk shop, network, take workshops, and really just have fun. It’s become an opportunity for us (bloggers, brands, travel companies and start ups) to disconnect from the digital world for a few hours and meet people face to face. It’s been an amazing community for me that has been extremely beneficial both professionally and personally.
On the business side of things, I’ve been able to make some great connections with travel brands and companies at Travel Massive events, which has led to a number of fun projects for both SeeYouSoon and my own freelance video and writing work. Nothing compares to a face-to-face interaction and these events have given us the platform to meet and share what we’re up to, what we’re looking for, and what we can provide. I always look forward to a Travel Massive event because I never know who I’m going to meet and where that connection might lead to. Some of the events are also a learning opportunity to help you grow and improve your business. We’ve had workshops on Instagram, Pinterest, how to work with brands, SEO optimization, and how to pitch effectively.
While my website and my knowledge of travel blogging has greatly benefited from attending Travel Massive, it’s the personal connections I’ve made that keep me coming back. I have formed many incredible friendships from people I’ve met and regularly hang out with many of them outside of these events. This is a fantastic community to be a part of.
Fast-forward to August 2015 – a little over 3 years to the day when I started going to Travel Massive. This month the Toronto chapter is celebrating 5 years! I’ve seen it grow from a few dozen individuals on a bar patio to events being held at some of Toronto’s hottest spots. It’s more popular than ever before with events filling up within an hour. When I’m in town I always make a point to attend the events and I love that they have remained free all these years.
Huge congratulations go out to the co-founders Alicia and Mariellen, and event organizers Cristina, Melissa, Will and Sharon for everything they do and have accomplished in these 5 years!
Travel Massive is all over the world. Head over to their website and check to see if there’s an event happening in your city. If there isn’t a Travel Massive near you, then why not start a new chapter?!
Here’s to another 5 amazing Toronto Travel Massive years!