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When you live in Australia, sometimes it can feel like you live on the wrong end of the world. There always seem to be events that just aren’t feasible to go to because of the sheer distance you would have to travel. For instance, I just spent 50 hours in transit to get from Brisbane to Porto for the TBU Porto conference. With work and money restraints, I can’t do that very often!
That’s why Travel Massive is so great. Originally founded in Sydney as the Travel Tribe, it’s a great place to meet people in the travel industry without having to travel across the globe. Over 25 cities now host monthly or semi-monthly meetups for anyone and everyone that wants to attend.
I used to be jealous that the American expats I know in Sydney were able to go to such great events each month with Travel Massive (like a full moon party on the beach). Eventually, Kirsty Wallett decided to do something about Brisbane being left out and founded a Travel Massive for our city. I’ve met a lot of great people in the year I’ve been going to these events and I would love to see the event grow even further.
So why should you go to a Travel Massive meetup?
Like I said above, I’ve met a lot of really interesting people through Travel Massive. I’ve met a number of bloggers, like Kirsty, Anthony from The Travel Tart, Jade from Our Oyster, and Hayley from Hayley on Holiday. It’s great to be able to talk — face-to-face — with other people that are really serious about their blogs. I feel like it’s helped me immensely and was one of the driving factors for me going to the European travel blogging conferences this month.
Plus, someone’s always going on an amazing getaway to places like Samoa, the Australian Outback, and Lord Howe Island. I love being able to share travel experiences knowing I’m not completely boring the person on the other end with yet another vacation story.
I’ve met plenty of people in the Brisbane travel industry as well, from hoteliers to rental car companies to regional tourism operators. It’s always interesting to hear from them about the inner workings of travel since it’s something I’m not often exposed to.
I’ve become good friends with people I’ve met in Travel Massive, and I can’t say enough how important that is. Since I’ve lived in Brisbane, I’ve had many different groups of friends relating to different interests, like tennis, photography, and wakeboarding.
While I do find that it pulls me in different directions, I think it’s a very good thing. I have people that I know I can talk to about different interests, knowing that they, too, have a deep interest in the same thing. I’ve learned so many things this way, especially about photography.
It’s always nice, when you’re standing in the middle of nowhere in the dark taking a 45-minute star trail shot, to have someone else to chat to. The same is true for travel. While I often travel solo, I’d be happy to travel with the friends I’ve met and share the experiences with them.
I think I’ve been to more fancy hotels and bars with Travel Massive than I have on my own in the last year. Each month is hosted by a different venue somewhere around inner Brisbane (and on one occasion, at the Hilton Surfers Paradise). Most places provide tasty plates of tapas and canapes as well, which is always welcome since I usually head straight to Travel Massive from work.
If I ever want to have a big party in Brisbane — say, when I do my citizenship ceremony and officially become an Australian citizen — I will have plenty of places to choose from. One of my personal favourites was the venue for last month’s event, Spicers Balfour in New Farm. I had no idea it was a hotel, situated as it is in a residential area of New Farm. The views from the roof bar are hard to beat and it would be a great place to party for Riverfire.
I wouldn’t say that I’m a great “networker.” I like meeting people and making connections, but I’ve always had a hard time going to conferences, handing out business cards and talking briefly to huge numbers of people in an effort to expand my personal network.
This isn’t something I’ve ever been compelled to do at Travel Massive either. I often find that I’ve spent the entire night talking to just a few people, but I’ve truly enjoyed it. Still, even though I’m not out there trying to network for networking’s sake, I’ve still had opportunities through Travel Massive that I wouldn’t have otherwise. The most recent was a personal offer to spend Riverfire photographing from the balcony with an unparalleled view of the river and Story Bridge.
Last but not least, right? Companies often sponsor individual meetups, meaning there’s always a good chance of a door prize! I’ve managed to take home the door prize twice; the first was a one-night stay in the historic Inchcolm Hotel in central Brisbane and the other was a bottle of champagne.
The Brisbane birthday celebration had even more door prizes than usual, plus a huge pile of swag provided for free from Vroom Vroom Vroom. Not bad for a free event!