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I guess it made me feel better knowing my first big travel conference would be at an event that was also in its first year. Turns out, the conference exceeded all of my expectations! Great question! It was founded by experienced travel blogger, Matt Kepnes, better known online as Nomadic Matt. His goal was to create an event that stood out from other conferences and help travelers much like himself learn the skills needed to develop a profitable and sustainable career in the travel industry. Despite the brave face and faux confidence I put forth, I was actually very nervous about TravelCon in the beginning. I knew I would be just a rookie blogger with a small yet steady following sitting in a room of extremely popular and successful writers, some of which I had been following for years. It was a bit intimidating at first, but as soon as I arrived, I instantly felt like a part of a community. Everyone I talked to was very warm, open, and interested in my blog and what I had to say. We were all there to support and learn from each other, just like a big family.
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Turns out, I was right! It was a fun atmosphere, but quite crowded and loud. I went alone and was totally overwhelmed at the beginning, but with the people I met there, the night turned into a dinner out and drinks later on at the conference hotel. I was really glad I went. Some of them were organized like this one and others were just small meetups at bars nearby.
The speaker line up was impressive especially for a first-year conference. Some of them are pretty quick and will only take a few minutes. Others will take a couple of hours. Ryan Holiday gave a keynote around the themes in his book Perennial Seller. What are the elements or pillars of a long-lasting book, business, or idea? Why do some things stick around while other things become forgotten? Obvious, but worth stating anyway. But if you want to stick around long enough to create lasting and meaningful change, then you need to do the work. Why this thing, specifically?