On March 14, 2014, I got on the greyhound bus from Toronto to Chicago to embark on my first solo trip to the Women in Travel Summit. I was anticipating the journey and nervous for the mere fact that it will be myself networking and really engaging in a topic that I am truly passionate about. What I had learned about myself during that weekend was that I am a very smart person. I am smart enough to realize I hit the jackpot in my life. Travel is something I really love and enjoy and to be in a room full of women who are just as passionate if not more about the ability to create content that not only attracts a market but generates opportunity to expand our portfolios.
It all started with me attending the first mixer where I was super nervous to network with awesome women. I was in fact even intimated for the reason; I had no business card, no blog setup and was overwhelmed with the path I would like to take within the travel industry. As I walk in, the level of love I received was impeccable. Women from all over the world were there and had so many different avenues they were taking their brand towards. I was so inspired that I began to be completely honest with where I was, regarding Virtual Nomads with the fellow attendees. The women shared their own stories and the purpose of each of their blogs which helped cleared my anxiety of launching Virtual Nomads. I felt right at home with that mixer and got me anticipated for the workshops the next day.
The workshops I attended were The Girls Guide to Editing by Vanessa Chiasson, How to Create Kick Ass Videos by Lisa Lubin and Eat, Sleep, and Pay Less: Budget Travel Tips and Tricks that was a panel discussion. I had also attended in between No One Makes a Full Time Income from Blogging: Creating a Diversified Income Portfolio by Gillian Duffy. I have to say, my two favorite workshops were the Girls Guide to Editing and How to Make Kick Ass Videos for the reason being that they were exactly the right kind of information I needed to start my blog out with. Secondly, they were very straight to the point on what it was both speakers wanted the audience to take from. What I had learned from a Girls Guide to editing was one; she’s Canadian like me and two, so what. So what meant that we should always seek to find the reasons people want to read your blog and ask yourself while editing your content, does it show and tell whenever possible.
The second day, there were a few other workshops I had attended such as Travel Vlogging: It’s More Than Just Writing by Bayyina Black and Monetization 101: Simple Ways to Start Making Money with Your Blog by Quia Querisma. Bayyina Black was extremely engaging with the group of women at the workshop where we learned the different types of video blogging. While Quia Querisma helped the audience understand the ways in which we could make money from our blogs through affiliate marketing. Once the workshops were over for the day, the group of women had the opportunity to listen to Evelyn Hannon of Journey Women, another Canadian, to discuss her journey of travelling at a time where it was taboo for women to travel solo. The room was mesmerized by her words of wisdom and it even made me think how powerful we are as women in today where technology has allowed us to maneuver around the world on budget.
As the day ended and all the women headed to the last networking lunch, I had the opportunity to attend a Black Women Travel Meet up where we really discussed our own experiences as Black women while travelling, our career paths and how we all should support each to become successful at what we do best. I was super proud to see not only Black women making their presence known to the travel industry, but Canadian women who were making a difference within our space.
In summary, I would to thank all the women I had the opportunity to speak with, listen to, smile at or even sit beside. It was one of the greatest experiences I had and that is something I proud and honored to remember. I want to thank Go Girl travel for creating the idea of gathering a bunch of women who love to travel in one room and stimulate each other’s intellectual minds.