Taking a swift sip of my beer at The Horse Bar (Tube: Lambeth North), I glanced nervously over the rim at the empty seats before me. Oh dear, I was too early. Does this make me look too keen? I fidgeted with my business cards in my back pocket. They were primed for the taking from hoardes of travel bloggers who will descend on this sleepy pub, but not just yet. This was a moment I could compose myself, after all it’s my first #TravelMassive event.
What is #TravelMassive?
#TravelMassive is a global initiative to connect people in the travel industry locally, bringing together travel brands, bloggers, start-ups and professionals.
Sounds simple enough! Since my #RexyRelaunch, I was pretty enthused to start my networking immediately and gain some contacts who hopefully I would work with. There would at least 80 people there according to the #Travel Massive London webpage and I looked forward to be making their acquaintance. But why was I so nervous? I’ve met swarms of travel bloggers before at the World Travel Market and Traverse in Brighton but I knew I had some reservations about meeting in a public and loud place. You see, I am deaf and group conversations in such an environment would be my idea of a hard time.
When I was at Traverse, I failed immensely at social events that resulted in a lengthy article informing my fellow bloggers of that fact. It was time to get those delightful people deaf aware. It was a huge success and I followed it up with a great deaf awareness article on TravMonkey’s website. I had been socialising a lot with the #travellads (a group of male travel bloggers with a penchant for beer whilst undertaking cultural activities) and I knew they would be coming along.
Is #TravelMassive just in London?
No. It’s all around the world! Check out the #TravelMassive World Website to find your nearest event. This month there are #TravelMassive meetups in Melbourne, San Francisco, Athens and Toronto. London is a very popular one as many travel bloggers live and pass through London.
#TravelMassive in Full Swing
After @michaelball arrived, I could relax. He is one of two organisers with @VickyFlipFlop and he immediately put me at ease as he introduced me to several travel bloggers, who already arrived, in one of the booths that cut out the music and the background noise. I could deal with this just fine. Soon I was in deep conversation with @GoSeeWrite, @TheTravelHack, @ALadyInLondon and @BeMeyer about travelling in South America. Later on, it seemed like a hundred people arrived including the #travellads, and soon I was giving away business cards like there was no tomorrow. To speak to them all, I had to move around the room and outside. This meant I did have to battle with the noise to hear them completely what they had to say especially travel brands.
So was it worth it? A big fat yes! I did manage fatten up my contacts book and thankfully managed to place faces to twitter handles I spoke to online. Not only that, it was just a fantastic way to bring together and socialise about something everyone had common in – travel. For me, that’s massive!
I do wonder though if the event would have benefited from a short workshop or a presentation travel-related for each participant to take away a skill and ideas from. Also, I could see myself coming back for the next few #TravelMassive monthly events but I suppose after a while; you’ll be seeing the same people and no more business cards would be handed out. But only time will tell.
And how did I cope with my hearing impairment? I did really like the booths that offered privacy and quietness. But with the awkward layout of the room it meant that people were battling for space crowding each other to get their voice heard. When I couldn’t understand any longer, it was good to go outside and get some breathing space and quietness with some travel bloggers in this hot weather. But at winter time? It wouldn’t be like this. However, at this event I coped just fine.
Thank you to @michaelball and @FlipFlops for organising this event!
If you want to find out more about #Travel Massive, follow the hashtag #TravelMassive on Twitter or check out the London Page.