Once or twice a year I travel to somewhere in North America or Europe to go to a conference related to travel blogging. In the past few years I’ve been to WTM a couple times in London, TBU in Manchester, TBEX in Spain and a bunch of TBEXs in North America. New York, Vancouver, Denver and now Toronto to be exact. However at the past two conferences I was also traveling for another reason, to be a part of the Navigate Media Group’s BlogHouse.
The BlogHouse / Castle
Started in Besalú, Spain in September 2012 the BlogHouse is a multi-day opportunity to live, work and learn in a group environment with both experienced and novice bloggers. There are workshops, networking events and plenty of time for one on one coaching and advice. There are also unique surprises and opportunities for the participants.
On my recent trip to Toronto for a conference we hosted our second BlogHouse and it was a great success. Previously we had thought that the Besalú BlogHouse was awesome but honestly it couldn’t compare to the greatness of the Toronto BlogHouse. Not only were we staying in a Castle/Mansion in the middle of Toronto thanks to FlipKey but 8 of the 9 NMG members were in attendance to help teach and coach 12 (mostly) newer bloggers who were selected to join us. Not only did they get to learn a lot but us senior bloggers learned quite a fair bit as well.
Our big happy BlogHouse Toronto family
For the BlogHouse I was a Co-Production Manager along with Stephanie of WhyWaitToSeeTheWorld.com and together we planned and plotted the three day event from arranging accommodations, planning the schedule, arranging food, speakers and other events. It was fun for me to do this as I was able to use some of my previous skill-sets from working in the Film and TV industry as a Production Coordinator.
We were lucky to have people and good friends show up to talk to the newer bloggers like Matt Gibson from FlightNetwork.com, BlogHouse alum and good friend Elizabeth from youngadventuress.com Gary and Amy from Everything-EveryWhere.com and the loveable Jodi from legalnomads.com. We even had an SEO expert Rob Ross come chat to the group about SEO which I learned a BUNCH from.
We also had some great people and companies work with us to help supply food to our hungry bloggers. We had one of my current favorite beers from the Ontario craft beer brewer HopCity. I almost can’t get enough of their Barking Squirrel beer.
Mmmm Barking Squirrel. Doesn’t it look heavenly?
The favorite of many had to be Cheesewerks. A tasty grilled cheese sandwich shop in downtown Toronto that features many fantastic Canadian cheeses, homemade pop and probably the best bread of my life. The bread the sandwiches were made on had like peppercorns infused into it or something. Hard to describe, but NOMS!
Cheesewerks Mac’n’cheese with Chinese BBQ Pork, noms.
One of my favorite parts of the BlogHouse aside from all of the learning and meeting and helping new bloggers was our networking event. We gathered together at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre’s Trios Bistro where Chef Morgan tantalized our tastebuds while we helped the newer bloggers get their networking jitters out thanks to high profile members of the travel community that came out to talk, mix and mingle with them.
Chef Morgan and some of his extremely tasty treats for us at Trios Bistro in Toronto.
Overall I think this BlogHouse was a major success and it makes me happy and gives me hope for things I am doing right in the industry. I can’t wait until we can have more BlogHouses and teach/help/meet more bloggers.