Friday, June 28, 2013

TBEX '13: The Noble Purpose of Travel

A tour of Toronto Island during TBEX Toronto 2013.

Last month, I had the pleasure of participating in TBEX Toronto. Initially, the thought of attending the international travel blogging conference in my own city felt like a bit of a consolation prize (last year’s North American TBEX was hosted in Keystone, Colorado).

But as it turned out, location was only secondary—TBEX was an amazing opportunity to learn more about this unique nomadic community of travel writers and their work. While I enjoyed meeting Deb of The Planet D, talking to representatives from Travel Massive and spotting all my favourite bloggers (who, for the most part, were easily identifiable based on their avatars), the highlight of the weekend was G Adventures Founder Bruce Poon Tip’s session on “the noble purpose of travel blogging.”

Read more on the Verge Magazine website»

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

What It's Like to Take a Tourism Press Trip

Greg, CC and Nick at the Cleland Wildlife Park.

Every moment is just another photo opportunity.

For those not familiar with the Best Jobs in the World, it’s a campaign hosted by Tourism Australia to promote tourism activities throughout the country and the Working Holiday Visa program. In every state there are three finalists, who are competing to win six-month contracts with job titles ranging from “Tastemaster” in Western Australia to “Chief Funster” in New South Wales.

I’m travelling with the South Australia crew to watch Nick Tilley, Greg Snell and CC Hsieh compete for the role of “Wildlife Caretaker.” The winner will walk away with a salary package of $100,000 and spend the next six months working with wildlife on Kangaroo Island and the Eyre Peninsula.

Although Greg, CC and Nick are the stars of the show, the entourage is what is makes this trip interesting. There are nearly 20 people in our group, including Tourism Australia representatives, press from Taiwan, a news crew from Adelaide, and videographers capturing every challenge on film. My role here, as the token Canadian journalist, is to report on the token Canadian candidate, Greg Snell.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Winning the Best Job in the World Competition in Australia

I’m sure that in my lifetime, stranger things have happened.

I’ve hung out with cannibals and I’ve slept in squats. I’ve been a beauty pageant award winner, a medical lab rat and a construction worker. I’ve used as a satellite phone to call charter planes in the jungles of Guyana and I’ve sipped pinot noir selected from an ambassador’s wine cellar in Switzerland. Yes, stranger things have happened.

And yet, this—this of all things—feels very surreal. It all just happened so quickly. As I write this, I’m hurtling through the sky on a plane destined for Adelaide, Australia. Admittedly, this wouldn’t be particularly absurd if it wasn’t for the fact that I boarded my plane at 3:00 PM today, having only received my confirmed itinerary and airline tickets at 2:30 AM this morning. (I’m a planner, an organizer. Leaving the country with less than 24 hours notice goes against the very grain of my existence. And yet, here I am.) And it’s Australia—not exactly the type of place that you make a last-minute one-week-only kind of excursion to.

So how did I get to be here?

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Tops in Toronto for TBEX Attendees

Chloé playing Scrabble in Trinity Bellwoods Park last summer, with Prosecco for word-smithing fuel.
Since TBEX Canada started two days, I've found myself turned into an impromptu tour guide. Nobody wants to know about me, my blog, the Go Global Expos or Verge Magazine—they want to know the best place to get thai food near their hotel (Salad King, 340 Yonge Street), or where I managed to find the sweet vintage-inspired Canadian-made dress that I'm wearing (Charlie Boutique, 809 Queen Street West).

Fair enough.

I actually don't mind. Although the Albertan in me is loathe to admit this, I've lived in Toronto for almost a decade (give or take the months that I've spent overseas and back home). And in that time frame, I've managed to find a few spots in the city that rarely appear on tourism "best of" lists.

If you've got a few days in Toronto spend post-conference, here's what you need to do:

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