Published on February 27th, 2011 | by Charu Suri22
The “Things I Learned, People I met” Edition: 2011 New York Times Travel Show
This was my first New York Times Travel Show and I was excited at the prospect of mingling with industry veterans, taking in seminars and broadening my travel perspective. Until now, I never thought of travel as a series of seminars and trade shows. I had associated the art with gap year adventurers, backpackers, thrill seekers, nomads and inner migrants. The "Armchair" traveler approach (or in this case, the "schoolgirl taking diligent notes at lectures" approach) was something I had not considered.
But the Travel Show is a fertile ground for meeting industry veterans: from bloggers to tour operators, everyone has a story to tell, a favorite destination to share, a local dish the love. It's a ground for networking, feeling inspired by fellow travelers and figuring out the next destination on your road map.
Here are some of the things I learned from cool people I met at the show:
Meeting & Hanging out with Travel Bloggers is Healthy and Vital:
The internet can only give you one dimension of a person's personality. I absolutely loved hanging out with fellow travel bloggers at the show:
The same suspects, minus Leslie, & moi
It was a joy and thrill to finally meet the famous Andi Perullo from My Beautiful Adventures. Andi and I have been tweeples for several months now, and I was so happy she decided to take the last minute opportunity to fly up from Charlotte, NC to indulge in a weekend in the Big Apple.
Another lovely gal I was charmed to meet was Laura from Travel For Love. Laura hails from Pittsburgh, PA and has a thing for Brazilians!
With Sarah Wu @swgraphic on the left. Sarah and I have also been tweeples for a month now, and I was thrilled to get an opportunity to finally meet her in person.
Taking in countries and costumes is a highly colorful and sensory experience:
Another aspect of the travel show I absolutely adored is the costumes. I LOVE national costumes that exhibit cultural pride and a sense of humor. One look at women and men wearing their national costumes leads you to believe an adventure there is not only probable, but necessary. Everything from the patterns, fabric, choice of accessories, ruching and beading suggests careful craftsmanship and artistry.
Leslie and I hanging out with the gorgeous women of Barbados
The extremely ornate, gilded costumes of Thailand
Two of many ethnic dresses from Ecuador's regions, but with the emblematic poncho, fedora and felt hat
Listening to seminars by world-renowned speakers:
There were a host of seminars attended by eager travel show conference attendees, and some of my favorites included Rick Steves' "Traveling as a Political Act," and The Keynote speech given by Michelle Bernier Toth. Rick Steves' lecture had be enraptured from start to finish, and he talked about Americans' fear of traveling in a world filled with terrorism while several other countries go about their every day work while bombs are exploding in their city square. If there was ever a seminar that could force you to put aside your prejudices and explore a country even when the media was warning you not to, his was it.
I also profited from some words of wisdom from New York Times' Seth Kugel of "The Frugal Traveler" and attending a seminar on Social Media in travel journalism that featured travel bloggers and editors Kim Mance (TBEX) , Where's Andrew (National Geographic), Jen Leo (L.A. Times) and Robert Reid (The Lonely Planet and Reid on Travel).
A lovely finish to the evening was the "Restless Legs" reading at Lolita Bar in the LES, featuring the bloggers mentioned above. As far as indelible memories go, it doesn't get too much better than this.
The New York Times Travel Show was held from February 25 through the 27th at the Javits Center in NYC.
- Charu Suri