Traverse 17 in London: A Recap

As a relatively new travel blogger,  I’ve taken in my fair share of webinars and articles on how to become better at what I do. If you’re a blogger or Instagrammer you know the drill: increase readership, master social media and the big one, figure out monetisation.

It was with all this in mind that I bought a ticket for Traverse, a travel-focused digital media conference which was held in London this year.

I left Barbados full of excitement. Not only was there a weekend of conference activities on the agenda, but tours, parties and other activities during the week. If you don’t read any further, know one thing: it was well worth it, especially at £69.

My first mid-week event was a photo walk with Michael Tomas of London Viewpoints. He knows the best vantage points and I enjoyed shooting St Paul’s Cathedral from varying angles.

st pauls 2st pauls 3

st paul's cathedral

That night I did the Ghost Tour with Strawberry Tours. I’ve always wanted to do one of these so I jumped at the opportunity. Our guide took us on a spooky walk which included tales of ghosts haunting theatres, lakes and palaces. On a chilly London night, Green Park and St James Park sure do seem a lot different than they do in the daytime!

I was in my element during the next event. If you follow either of my accounts on Instagram (InMyWardrobe, Passport From 246 ) you would already know about the KNOMI fashion tour.  The KNOMI team took six of us to the Sophia Webster  boutique in Mayfair and Smythson on Bond Street for a behind the scenes look at their upscale offerings.

KNOMI is an iOS app which helps shoppers to find luxury boutiques that they may not otherwise come across.  Everything at Sophia Webster is just so cute and quirky! It was also quite amazing to see the monogramming process live at Smythson.

Soon it was Saturday and time to do some learning. I attended sessions by Kash Bhattacharya (Budget Traveller), Nicola Easterby, (Polkadot Passport)  Petra Vorackova (Restless Child) and Rich McCor (Paperboyo)

Kash shared some of the lessons he learned in eight years of professional travel blogging while Nicola talked about how to gain followers on Instagram without losing yourself. Petra delved into IG stories while Rich went through his own awesome Instagram account and shared some of the other Instagrammers who are doing things differently.

Nicola Easterby
Nicola Easterby of Polkadot Passport speaking before a standing room only audience at Traverse 17.

After all the knowledge sharing, it was time to party. We sailed from North Greenwich Pier to Westminster with City Cruises and the views were fabulous!  If there is something more beautiful that the London Eye lit up at night or the view of The Shard through London Bridge, I’m yet to see it.

After all that excitement, I missed the first session on Sunday because I just could not get out the house early. I felt better when I realised I wasn’t the only one.   I attended sessions hosted by Kylie Bawden on how to work with brands and negotiate, Abi King on how to create successful partnerships with the written word and Judith Lewis on SEO.

Abi King
As a writer first and foremost, I soaked up Abi King’s tips.

I enjoyed and learned from all of the presentations but I would have to say Abi’s was my favourite. If there’s one thing I would suggest to the Traverse organisers, it’s to have at least one more writing session on the agenda. I know we are living in a very visual world with Instagram and YouTube and all the variations of stories and live video.  However, I still think good writing is at the heart of communication.

Overall, Traverse was a great opportunity to hear firsthand from people we only see on social media, learn about the realities of blogging and network with some great travel-related companies.

There was something for both new and established bloggers/influencers so I would definitely recommend that people give it a try.  It can be daunting as a newbie but I was able to find people to chat with and I’m definitely not the most social person. I also found some people with Bajan connections!

My first Traverse definitely won’t be my last. See you in Rotterdam next year!

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