I was in Denmark last weekend, at TBEX Copenhagen, a Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference – organised by Kim, Maren and Courtney of Galavanting.

If you aren’t interested in blogging – or conferences – feel free to skip this post. Instead, perhaps I can entice you with these cool cafes in Dubai, or life on a Nile boat.

TBEX conferences have been held twice – in Chicago last year and in New York earlier this year. This was the first one in Europe. Local sponsors Momondo, MyDenmarkTV.com and Wonderful Copenhagen saw a great opportunity for introducing international travel bloggers to… well, wonderful Copenhagen. Tourism organisations in other European countries will no doubt scramble for the honour of sponsoring next year’s event. Who will win, I wonder? London? Amsterdam? Or perhaps Helsinki? Finnair was another TBEX-sponsor – this airline seems to have a very contemporary and creative approach to PR.

The conference venue was the fabulous 120-year-old Cirkusbygningen (the Cirkus building) in the centre of town. Funny, I must have been in Copenhagen more than 20 times – and I’ve never really noticed this building before. How could I not?

TBEX Copenhagen

For reasons I’ll get back to, I don’t have a photo of Cirkusbygningen. In fact, I don’t have very many Copenhagen-pictures at all. This one by king_david_uk on flickr’s Creative Commons

TBEX Copenhagen

The programme featured useful presentations, hands-on workshops and fun entertainment. Here are some of the highlights:

– Karen Bryan of Europe a la Carte-fame had good advice for wannabe travelbloggers. It isn’t all fun and games, travel blogging for a living includes boring chores as well, just like every job. And press trips don’t pay the bills. So don’t quit your day job on a whim. She managed to be both sobering and inspirational! Here’s a summary of Karen’s presentation

– Lola Akinmade, editor of MatadorGoods offered great pitching tips in her presentation A – Z of Pitching Outlets. Although I’m not exactly new to freelance travel writing, I picked up some gems from Lola. I was reminded to keep a backlog of ideas and look within a publication’s media kits (why haven’t I thought of that…?). Best TBEX-quote also goes to Lola: Don’t write about surfing if you can’t even swim.

– National Geographic’s Andrew Evans talked about storytelling, sharing his recent bus-trip from Washington DC to Antarctica, using twitter and social media to tell the story. Very inspirational and innovative. Beginning 1 December, National Geographic will send him out on the road as a digital nomad in a new project called Where’s Andrew?, where he’ll tweet and blog about his whereabouts – and the rest of us get to guess where he is. Andrew gave us a sample of this by hiding clues in a few Copenhagen locations. Sadly, I had to leave early, but I have reason to believe Lagkagehuset (The Layer Cake House) featured 🙂

Photo by aienn on flickr’s Creative Commons

The workshops dealt with narrative and non-narrative travel writing, as well as branding and using imagery. Sadly, I haven’t yet figured out how to be in three places simultaneously, so I had to choose. Branding and imagery is what I know least about, but I learnt heaps from Bart of Spotted by Locals and Heather of Heather on her Travels.

For lunch on Friday, we were entertained by two charming performers working at Wallman’s Cirkusbygningen: the wife-husband team Karin (trapeze artist) and Joakim (clown).

Funny – as I write this, I see that none of the presenters and entertainers I’ve mentioned above are from the same country. Karen is a Scot, Lola is Nigerian/Swedish, Andrew is American, Bart is Dutch and Heather is English; Karin is Swiss and Joakim is Swedish. I also had fun with Brits, Australians, Germans, Finns, Swedes, Danes, even another Norwegian, and many American expats. How cool is that!

Here are a few more takes on TBEX Copenhagen:
How travel bloggers spend their Saturday nights by Candace of Rare Travels
– Enjoyed TBEX on Spotted by Locals
TBEX girls want Georg Jensen for Christmas – well his ring, at least… by Heather on her Travels