A Virgin’s Very First Time
Okay I know the title might be a little misleading, but in essence I was a virgin at TBEX and had no idea what to expect or what I would gain from the experience. In reality it was an eye-opening learning experience and enhanced my ego (my wife Kim’s feedback)! I knew going in that the fact my Speed Dating calendar had almost been filled, that I was in for an extraordinary event. I just didn’t think about the fact that I had just returned from my expedition to Tijuana, building the house for Homes of Hope and would wind up worn down and really tired. I will never put back to back weekends of this much exercise together again, unless I am asked of course!
My flight arrived in Toronto at 5:30 PM and I arranged for a round trip bus trip, thinking this would provide plenty of time to get my bags to the hotel and go to the opening night party. Bummer…it didn’t transpire exactly like I hoped. There was a transfer to a shuttle van with about 11 other people and of course I was the LAST one dropped off. I got to my hotel at around 7:45 and the party started at 7:00 PM. So…no shower, no change of clothes, however I was able to brush my teeth! Started walking to Roy Thomson Hall for the party arriving about 8:30 half way through.
I met a charming lady who was just as lost as me trying to get into the party. All of a sudden I hear “Mike” being yelled and I recognize the face right away. It was Kenin Bassart of The Constant Rambler and I knew I wouldn’t be alone at the party. He and his wife Lauren have been very cool connections on my social media links and we have grown to know each other fairly well. Kenin directed me to the other side for my entry. I received my badge and walked into the zoo! It was like something out of a movie. A band was playing, food stations were everywhere (with fantastic eats) and of course the bars were flowing with alcohol.
I met with Kenin and Lauren downstairs and ran into Derek4Real from Austin. It was going to be a good night, but I had no idea how good! Toronto was hot and humid, just like Austin so I went back upstairs and enjoyed the A/C inside. Great step! I started walking around and ran into several bloggers that I have met online. I ran into Maria Laborde from LatinAbroad.com and had the ugliest picture of me taken all night! Then I bumped into Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline.de and didn’t even recognize her. She had to tell me who she was (embarrassing)!
I had people coming up and saying hi and it finally dawned on me that my hat was a “brand”. Everyone kept saying they saw my hat and came over to introduce themselves, as I had asked ahead of time. I lot of the bloggers did not look like their profile photos and this old man struggled all night long trying to see who was who. A few that I talk with regularly like Charu Suri of the ButterflyDiary.com, Michael and Nicole of SuitcaseStories.com, Pola Henderson of JettingAround.com, and Alexandra Kovacova of CrazySexyFunTraveler.com I recognized immediately. Others I had to read their badges and at times even that was rough as my eyes are not what they used to be.
As the hours flew by it all became a whirlwind and I realized it was time for the “Senior” travel blogger to retire! I knew I had a jaunt back to the hotel and decided to use the men’s room on the way out. As I left and was climbing back up the stairs a voice asked “Are you Mike”? I turned and had absolutely no idea who had approached me “leaving the men’s room”. I was a little nervous to say the least. He showed me his badge and I almost fell over. It was Ted Nelson of TravelingTed.com , but he didn’t have his hat or sunglasses on and I didn’t put two and two together until I looked at his badge! We both got a big laugh. I asked someone passing by to take our photo and we were on record (of course if you know Ted, you know he had a beer in his hand)!
I walked home wondering what the next day would bring and how the “Virgin” would handle his first ever #TBEX conference. Time would tell! I have to learn to keep my darn big mouth shut for photos, if I learn nothing else from the conference!!!
Posted By June 8, 2013
I recognized you because of the hat AND the Hawaiian shirt. I’m not sure if the hat alone would have done it for me. Also ran into David Lee.
I am not surprised Will. I thought it would take all three items (Hat, Hawaiian shirt and white beard), for people to recognize me. I was completely caught off guard by how the hat became my brand though. I can’t tell you how many people told me “I saw your hat from across the room and knew it had to be you”. I was knocked over. Take care friend and thanks for stopping by my blog!
TBEX looks like loads of fun! I love how the blogging community really can feel like a really large family. Glad you enjoyed it.
Jessica its amazing how close everyone is. I am new and was treated like people had known me for years. Everyone went out of their way to be nice to each other and help when necessary. Its an amazing set of people and it is a huge family with the same interest! Travel! Safe Travels young lady. Saludos!
At least your worst two pictures were taken with beautiful ladies, so they were able to carry the photo. I am sure my badge probably confused you even more as it was listed under Edward. I learned from my mistakes and was in full costume for night number two. Great meeting you hombre and hope to see you at future conferences or more acurately, bars.
Edward mi amigo. The pleasure was all mine! Had to add it to my story. It was too funny to leave out! Yep I had a few photos with the young ladies and the “Hat”. Don’t know what I will do if I ever lose it! We will hoist a couple next year, at TBEX and I am sure I will be there! Take it easy and have a ball! Later!
So glad we finally had a chance to meet face-to-face my friend. You are one cool cat, that’s for sure! Hope we cross paths again soon 🙂
I was pumped at running in to you the first night and then so many tmes afterwards. Its always great to meet fellow bloggers from Austin and since we had communicated so much online, I was happy to make your acquaintence! Safe Travels mi amigo and keep those cards and letters coming from your RTW trip!
for all us “non-bloggers” my only critique would be to id what is TBEX? obviously, some sort of convention in Toronto, but what? sounds like u have stumbled onto/into a great BIG family. kinda reminds me of when the lambert family used to be together so much – AHH! such fond memories…
BTW – mahalo? how many times have u been to hawaii?
My apologies TBEX=Travel Blogger Exchange Ha! It was a great conference and I had a ball, but they wore this old man out, especially after the previous weekend in Tijuana with Chris and Sean. I have been to Hawaii three times off the top of my head. When Kim and I met with Six Flags, A trip we won with Circle K and when Josh turned 21 and Sean graduated from high school!
Of course, you were a highlight at this travel blogger exchange conference, sir! It was finally a pleasure to meet the Nomadic Texan in person. We’ll continue to follow you and your amazing adventures!
The pleasure was all mine. I wish we could have more time to chat and learn about each other’s family, etc. Next TBEX we will definitely have to do the “Coffee Club” thing and get us all together. I did walk away with a new project on Latin America. That’s why I asked if you spoke Spanish. Putting a Latin America team together (Bloggers who have a passion for Mexico, Central and South America) with a Newsletter approach for now. Hopefully something bigger down the road with guided tours, etc! Stay in touch and if you need any help or advice for your page or blog let me know. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Saludos mi amiga!
Are you still okay? Tried to reach you on Twitter to no avail. Write me on Facebook or something!
I would love to go to a TBEX conference one day!
Well…We will have to get you to one. Maybe the one next year! Best of luck!
You always remember your first, it may not be your best, but you never forget it…. stay adventuorus, Craig
Why do I think you are dancing around the subject? Ha! Thanks for stopping by senor!
Since these are “Preferred Escorts”, why are they partially clothed? I would assume someone looking for an escort would desire what they look like dressed to the nines! Makes me think it is really something else than an escort service!
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