Tomorrow morning, I’m hitting the highway with two other bloggers — the Kelly half of Travellious and Peter of The Carey Adventures. Our destination? Chicago for BlogHer and The Travelblog Exchange. I’m excited to be doing cool stuff at both events. At BlogHer I’m on a panel with three other bloggers (Roz, Nancy, and Angel); we’ll be talking about how travelblogs can inspire others to travel (among other things). I’m also reading a post from the Nerd’s Eye View archives at the Community Keynote, and no, I won’t tell you which one it is, so please don’t ask until after the conference is over– at that point, you can probably find me stuttering on the YouTube. At TBEX, I’m on a panel about how PR and bloggers can work together – effectively and honestly — to promote travel stuff — destinations, gear, etc.
But I’m also hugely excited to be traveling across the US. We’re stopping in Yellowstone and we’ll see Mount Rushmore, something that is sure to make me either soggy with patriotism or send me in to fits of ironic snickering, or, more likely, some odd combination of both. We’re zooming across the plains of Iowa where we expect to see lots of pigs and corn and possibly to eat some remarkable dairy product, what do I know?
We were able to get some great sponsors for our trip — REI set us up with some nice loaner gear (yes, it has to go back when we’re done with it), Boingo gave us access to their far and wide internet service (you’ll find us lurking in Starbuck’s and McD’s parking lots), HomeAway put us up in a swell Chicago pad (well, it looks swell in the pics, that’s for sure, we’ll know more when we see it) and, wow, VW provided the wheels, a brand new Routan minivan (we can’t quite believe how much space we have)! We have a few other odds and ends that we’ll tell you more about as we go along. It’s cool to be on the PR panel and to arrive there having experienced first hand exactly how these types of hookups can work.
We’ve got a swell shared blog put together by Kelly and her sidekick, Austin. Austin couldn’t make the trip, being a guy with a respectable day job, but he’s our tech support guy and he’s built us this cool interactive map — you can see where we are in real time (yes, I said real time) and make suggestions for where we should stop on our way. You’ll be able to read about our adventures on the shared blog as well as our respective individual blogs — we’ll be taking turns writing about our daily doings while the non-scribbling crew members pitch tents, wash dishes, and tend to camp chores.
The whole thing was Peter’s idea — he said “Seattle to Chicago road trip, anyone?” on The Travelblog Exchange forum, and Kelly and I both bit. We aired our faults as travel companions and decided to do it anyways. Peter and Kelly are good people to collaborate on a travel adventure with — Peter is a fine photographer and Kelly aggressively seeks out the local attractions and eats. Me, I’m amused by just about anything.
If you want to tag along with all of us, check out the TBEX Road Trip blog. I’ll be updating here, too. And if you’re on the way, we’d love to camp in your yard, meet you at your favorite local diner for breakfast, crash your local ukulele club meet up, or just make a quick stop to say hi. Don’t be shy, I’d love to meet you on the way.