Those of you who’ve been following my blog know that I love writing about solo travel and its many benefits for self-development. While I still swear by solo travel as a number one tool for personal growth, the last couple of days made me realise something… I’ve never written about travel as a shared experience which allows you to feel part of the travel community! In fact, I’ve not only undervalued this aspect of travel but was also hugely unaware of how important it is until recently.
The idea came when I was organising my notes and business cards from my first TBEX conference in Costa Brava, Spain which took place the week before. For those of you who don’t know, TBEX is the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, and industry professionals. It’s basically the place to be to learn new tricks of the trade, get inspired, connect with travel professionals and fangirl over your blogger heroes (guilty!) while sipping cocktails at a private beach and enjoying free trips which may or may not involve catamaran sailing across the Spanish riviera. The point is, if you haven’t booked your tickets to the next TBEX, you should do it now!
All perks aside, what made TBEX such an incredible experience wasn’t just the event itself, but the fact that I had the chance to meet people who essentially think like me, have a very similar lifestyle to mine and don’t find it weird to quit your perfectly stable job to travel to India. Sure, you will get to meet lots of like-minded people during your travels and these experiences are to be cherished, but imagine what it feels like to find yourself under the same roof with hundreds of them (spoiler: it’s pretty incredible!)? TBEX brings together the idea of like-minded , multiplies it by 1000 and makes you realise that, solo traveller or not, you’re a part of something unique and wonderful – a global travel community.
During my time in Catalonia, I met bloggers who’ve been travelling since they were 15; I shared a cava (or two!) with those who spontaneously quit their jobs because they no longer challenged them and began travelling the world instead; I spoke to people who went from taking a single trip to running one of the most successful travel blogs in the world. It’s incredible to meet people from all walks of life, who travelled across continents and time zones to attend an event which celebrates something they all have in common: the love for travel. The most uplifting part, however, was the total acceptance of my lifestyle choice and the overwhelmingly wonderful sense of community which I’ve never experienced before as a traveller.
The idea of being a ‘digital nomad’ or ‘location-independent’ is still relatively new. While it’s slowly becoming more common, in the world where 9-5 is still the most popular lifestyle choice your decision to do the exact opposite will more likely than not raise a few eyebrows. What do you mean you’d rather travel the world than buy a house and settle down?
Swapping the dream of white picked fence for the open road has long been my personal choice and while I never let the societal pressure stop me from following it, there’s nothing more reassuring, inspiring and motivating than knowing that you’re not walking a lonely path; that there are hundreds of others just like you, who didn’t want to base their idea of happiness on the social norms and instead, decided to create it for themselves.
So, whether you’re a ‘digital nomad’, a traveller, or simply someone who decided to choose experiences over possessions and say ‘no’ to what others consider the ‘right’ way to live – surround yourself with people who think like you. Listen to their stories, learn from their experiences and get motivated to do more, be more and crave for more. As I’ve learnt, travel experiences are best when shared.
Have you ever been to TBEX? Is feeling part of the travel community important to you? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!