Wanderlust Wednesday: I Went To My First TBEX!

Eva Explores El Nido

Where I’ve Been

Helsinki, Finland (6 Nights)
Doha, Qatar (1 Night in the Airport)
Manila, Philippines (4 Nights)
Taal, Southern Luzon, Philippines (1 Night)
Batangas, Southern Luzon, Philippines (2 Nights)
Manila, Philippines (3 Nights)
Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines (2 Nights)
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines (8 Nights)

It feels surreal that at the beginning of this month I was still in Finland!

Eva Explores Wanderlust Wednesday Fall Foliage Finland
Enjoying my last hooray of fall 2016 in Finland

What I’ve Loved

  • I’m finally in ASIA!!! Back when I first got the idea to travel around the world, Asia, particularly Southeast Asia, was at the top of my list. I ended up going to Central America first (which I’m so happy I did), but it feels so good to finally be in Southeast Asia! Walking around, looking out the window of my tricycle, I feel a sense of accomplishment in making it here.

    Living the good life in Manila 🌴 (okay so this was taken from the @pinkmanila hostel, but still..) #🇵🇭

    A photo posted by Solo Female Travel 👻 Evaeec (@eva_explores) on

  • I attended my first TBEX, the Asia version in Manila. TBEX is a Travel Blogger’s Conference that happens a few times each year in different locations around the world. It was actually the impetus for me to fly to the Philippines in the first place. And I had an amazing time. I read a lot about attendee’s past experiences with TBEX, and prepared myself that the sessions I attended may not be super informative. Well, maybe I chose really good sessions, or maybe the sessions at TBEX Manila were better than usual, but I learned a lot! Even if I already knew what the speaker was talking about, I left with some nugget of information that I will be using to improve my travel writing career.
    TBEX Manila Philippines Travel Blogger Conference

  • Finally feeling like I have co-workers. I met travel bloggers from around the world during the 2-day conference. We discussed SEO, Instagram engagement, and email subscription newsletters. I can’t describe how nice it was to talk IRL to people who understand the struggle of getting more Facebook Page likes, and don’t just look at me like I’m crazy!

    TBEX Manila Philippines Travel Blogger Eva Explores
    #TBEXPH with Cristal from Tofu Traveler and Alex who works at Finder.com.au

  • Having immediate friends at TBEX because of Snapchat! Meeting Taylor of Taylor’s Track’s, Richelle of Adventures Around Asia, and Cailin of Travel Yourself, it felt like we already knew each other! It made me feel SO much more comfortable going into the conference knowing that I would at least have something to talk about with three people!

    TBEX Manila Philippines Boodle Fight
    Bloggers having a Boodle Fight

  • Meeting new travel blogger friends. I opted to stay at a hostel with a few other travel bloggers who were more into the budget backpacking scene than the fancy hotel one, and it was a great decision. While I do not recommend the hostel we stayed at, the social atmosphere was awesome for making fast friends.

  • Going on a FAM trip! So remember when I listed working with a Tourism Board as one of my 27 things to do before 28? And remember when I was skeptical that it would happen because this blog is still a baby? Well, it happened! It feels a bit like cheating counting it, because everyone who applied for a post-TBEX press trip got one, I did still have to apply! I went on the Southern Luzon Heritage, Culinary, and Wellness Tour with the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines. And WOW did we see and learn (and EAT) a lot! The people of the Philippines are truly the most hospitable I’ve ever met.

    What I’ve Learned

  • It’s important, when you’re a nomad, to have home bases. If not one home base, then a few around the world. I am forever grateful that my best friend Dave has allowed me to call his apartment in Helsinki, Finland one of my homes! The week before I left for Asia, it was essential to have somewhere that felt like home to organize everything, get a bunch of work done, and have a friend to connect with before heading back out into the unknown!

    Also important? Affordable accommodation options that are still comfortable – like at Z Hostel in Manila!

  • I should have arrived in the Philippines a few days earlier than I did. The time difference and jet lag really threw me for a loop. I didn’t feel fully myself until after the conference had ended! And then the FAM trip was so fast, I didn’t get much time for sleeping until everything was said and done. Next time I fly around the world, I will need to add extra recovery days before and after important events.

    Taal Vista Hotel
    My room at the Taal Vista hotel had a chaise, people. A chaise!

  • Along with the last point, and I’ve been saying this the past two months, but I need to slow down! I am thinking now that staying one month minimum in a location is going to have to be my baseline. It’s just too much to move every 1-6 days while trying to work (and keep up with this blog. Which is why I only posted twice in the month of October. Oops!)

    So um this is the view from my hotel. Yeah. #🇵🇭 #elnido #itsmorefuninthephilippines #palawan

    A photo posted by Solo Female Travel 👻 Evaeec (@eva_explores) on

    The perfect place to relax? El Nido, Palawan! This is the view from breakfast at the Ocean Vista Inn, where I’ve stayed the longest this month. Can you see why?

  • Just because you travel doesn’t mean you’re open minded. The amount of pig-headed ignorance I’ve run across in the past month has been astounding. If you can’t go to a country vastly different from your own and learn something about the people who call that place home, you’re doing travel wrong. Sorry, it’s just the truth. Also, just because people have less material wealth than you do, they are still human beings who deserve respect. Expect a full post on checking your privilege when you travel in the near future.

    Where I’m Going Next

    A few more days in the Philippines, and then I’m off to…BALI! It started as a work retreat for WeTravel, but I’ve already extended my stay there through the beginning of December.

    Notice anything new? I’ve recently re-designed my website! There are still a few things to iron out, but I’m really happy with it so far. Let me know if you run across something that isn’t working while browsing my new site. New for you to check out: An improved start here page and a Destinations landing page.
    In honor of my one year Blog anniversary, I would love if you could fill out this reader survey! I want to bring you content that you find useful, and this survey will help me to do that.

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    Happy Exploring, Wherever You Are!

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