More than 45 years ago, I graduated from Temple University with a B.A. in journalism. For several years, I used the skills I learned to write advertising for radio and newspaper as well as working as a D.J. in a small Texas hill country town. I made a major career change in the mid 1980’s and for the next 35 years I used my writing skills for other purposes. I wrote reports, grant applications, letters of support and other supervis-y kinds of things. That was until about five years ago when we got the idea to start a blog thanks to our dear friend Gordon. He was tired of us always going to wineries instead of joining him on the golf course so he suggested that we might as well start a wine blog. Little did he know that his suggestion would be life changing.
So here we are, five years and lots of wine and travel posts later and I can truly say, I am a writer. I AM A WRITER. To that end, I have done two “out of my comfort zone” activities in the past few months. I completed an online travel bloggers course called Travel Blogging Fast Track and I attended the he Travel and Words Northwest Travel and Lifestyle Writers Conference in Vancouver WA . Our blog has focused primarily on wine and wineries since its inception, but so much of what we do is travel related, from a weekend in Napa to a trek across Washington to find the amazing wines of that state to a search for the wines of Arizona. We are now planning our first trip to Burgundy to finally taste wine in France. Travel is such a part of our lives that we decided to reimagine what we do and add travel to the core mission of the blog.
I stumbled upon the online course in my reading about travel and wine on social media. I had heard about the conference a few years ago while attending the Wine Blogger’s Conference in California. Several of the folks we talked to there also attend this conference each year so I kept an eye out for information about it. The focus of the online course is exclusively about how to build your blog and solicit comped travel opportunities. The focus of Travel and Words is not really blogging. Much of the discussion is around print media, securing magazine assignments and getting “Fam” trips, subsidized visits to areas of interest. Although print is not a focus for us, travel and writing are and I knew there had to be some crossover. Boy, was there ever!
I spent two and half days in the beautiful city of Vancouver at the Travel and Words Conference feeling like a newbie all over again. I heard phrases that were unfamiliar (like the above mentioned “fam” trips) to ideas about travel writing that I had not even considered. It was enlightening, exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. I left the conference feeling like I could use much of what I learned to move our blog forward to its next phase, a newly reenergized focus on travel and wine related travel.
I know that there are so many places to visit, so many wines to taste and so many wineries to experience. Now to find the time to make it all happen!