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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Travel Bloggers Meetup 2015 - 6 Degrees of Travel #TBM2015


When I first received an email from Sedunia Travel asking if I could be one of the panellist for Malaysian Travel Bloggers Meetup 2015, my first instinct was to decline it – for various personal reasons. You see, this installation of annual meetup is the 4th of its kind, started by Sedunia Travel back in 2012. The first 3 meetups were rather “technical”, as in they discussed topics related to blogging, SEO and stuff. There were some side topics, like travel photography, which was discussed at the meetup in 2013. Of course, there was the networking session too. Overall however, the theme has always been about travel blogging. And while Ramble and Wander is essentially a travel blog, I hardly qualify to talk about travel blogging, especially when compared to many other travel bloggers around.

The folks at Sedunia Travel however told me that this year’s meetup is more about travel talk; thus the theme “6 Degrees of Travel”, with the focus being on "travel connection". The fact that they opened the meetup to everyone who loves to travel and not just to travel bloggers somehow just got me confused further. I asked them, if it’s not about travel blogging and just travel talk, what exactly am I going to talk about then? They replied, “Travel”.

Hmm… okay, fine, ha ha!



To cut the story short, I agreed to become a panel member when I found out about other panellists, 2 of whom I personally know while the other one, I’ve heard of but had never met, until about a week before the event.

The two speakers that I already knew are Anis (of Five Foot Traveller), who’s also a travel writer and has been travelling here and there ever since she quit her job as a journalist some 3 years ago; and Jard (of Jardness.com), a fellow travel blogger who won the country’s best travel blog award back in 2012 and who lately has gone crazy about climbing mountains no matter which country she goes. The 3rd speaker was Menk Mahawangsa (of Routexplorers), a videographer who recently travelled solo by land from Kuala Lumpur to Leicester, England, where he used to lived when his mother was furthering her studies there in the 90s.

"I’d be among friends, and I’ve got my back covered by these very experienced folks." 

That’s how I tried to justify my decision, heh!

In the days leading up to the meetup, Sedunia Travel also asked if I could write a blog post about travel connection. Thinking of something different, I decided to write about an incident in Brussels, Belgium, that boggled me ever since it happened and called the post “Travel Connection of a Different Kind”.

- - - - - - -

14th November 2015 couldn’t have come sooner. On that appointed day, I arrived at Cavalera, the meetup venue in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur at 3. I registered myself, saw a few familiar faces, joined them, got introduced to new friends and acquaintances, played the breaking-the-ice game, and got introduced to more new friends and acquaintances.

And then the sharing session kicked off.




Arththi (or RT the MC (okay, that rhymes!)) called us the panellists to the front, and asked us to introduce ourselves. Soon after, the first question came from the audience - “What are your tips for women travelling alone?” – which was directed at Anis. Quietly I had hoped that Anis would take about one hour to answer just that question but the hope was soon dashed. Being an experienced solo traveller that she is, Anis simply rattled off a quick list, off hand. Just like that. And that set the pace for the afternoon sharing session.

Questions came non-stop and they covered quite a range of topics on travel. From travel planning to budgeting, from financing our travels to finding travel stories, from slow travel to meeting up with the locals and fellow travellers, from ‘couchsurfing’ to promoting my own Facebook page for cheap flight tickets (Sorry, Sedunia Travel! Heh!), from language barriers to most favourite countries. We all chipped in with our answers. Some answers were similar to each others', while a few couldn’t have been more different.

From where I was sitting, I could see the audience was made up of a rather mixed group. There were plenty of locals, and also foreigners including some expats. Some were familiar faces, others, totally new. There were youngsters, and there were a few young-at-hearts too.

I also noted a few seasoned travellers, whom I recognised from some travel groups on Facebook. And based on some of the questions, there were those who travel differently too, in terms of preferences and styles. Some preferences and styles are several degrees separated from the rest. (After the sharing session ended, I also found out there were hikers and mountaineers, and some media folks too. And then there were some travel bloggers and a rep from a tourism board, whom I met for the first time.)

That’s when I realised something. With the audience being a very mixed group, there might be times when our (panellists) answers could become too elementary for some members of the audience; and for some others, maybe even not agreeable for various reasons. This is a fair expectation, I guess. After all, we all have different experiences to bring to the table. (I do however hope that our sharing was at least beneficial to most, if not all, who attended. ;))

Despite the differences however, in terms of background, age, what we do, where we come from, how we travel, our opinions, et cetera, et cetera, we were all there that afternoon to share our love for travel. That’s what connected us. What brought us together that Saturday afternoon.

And that’s why some of us remained at Cavalera for more than an hour after the sharing session, just to continue chatting, and sharing, and connecting with each other.

That's when it hit me. The theme for Travel Bloggers Meetup 2015 – 6 Degrees of Travel Connection - couldn’t have been more fitting.



Kudos to the team from Sedunia Travel for organising the annual meetup and bringing us all together. And thank you to fellow panellists for covering my back, ha ha! ;)

Read more about Travel Bloggers Meetup 2015 #TBM2015 here:


6 comments:

Comments and feedback are always appreciated. So do leave one or two if you have the time. Thank you!

  1. saya dengan kawan ada hantar RSVP untuk benda ni, tapi something came up very last minutes so semua pun tak datang..tiba2 rasa cm segan pulak nak join haha..

    xde upload dlm youtube ke? :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awat nak segan pulak? Ahli panel lagi penyegan, hahaha!

      Delete
  2. it's been awhile since I last mingled.. it felt awkward. hahaha

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. Tak best la blogger/twitfemes tak sudi datang...

      Delete
 
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