Have you ever walked into a large group of strangers, but felt like every single one of them could be your new best friend? Welcome to WITS…

 

This was my second time attending WITS. Last year when I went to the conference in Boston, it was actually my first blogging conference ever, so it set the bar pretty high. I had no idea that people felt as passionate about travel as I did. I was able to instantly connect with like-minded women and talk for hours about where we’d been and where we wanted to go. It was a truly “wanderful” and eye-opening experience.

 

Buddy The Traveling Monkey Key Takeaways WITS 2016

 

And this year it was even better! I ran into old friends, and made a bunch of new ones. I also felt more confident now that I had been blogging for over a year. I mean, I was even answering some questions that other girls had! What?! And yet, I was still able to take in so much and learn new things in just a couple of days. Here are the five biggest takeaways I learned this year at WITS…

 

You can talk to a complete stranger, and they won’t think you’re a creeper

It’s true. We’re all there for the same reason. We love to explore, have amazing experiences, and eat new foods. Yes, some aren’t as comfortable going up and starting a new conversation. There’s a reason some people prefer writing to talking; they’re shy or introverts. But this is really the best and easiest place to do it because we all have something in common. No one will judge you. Instead, they’ll move over a bit to let you squeeze into the group.

 

I need to get better organized

If you know me at all, you know I’m pretty organized. I make excel spreadsheets when planning big trips for crying out loud! And yet, when it comes to blogging, I’m realizing how unorganized I really am. I write when I get a chance (thanks a lot full-time job!) so there isn’t really consistency. I need to get a giant whiteboard so I can plan things better. And thanks to Sherry Ott of Ott’s World, I have downloaded two new apps, Evernote and Expensify, to help me keep better track of notes and expenses while I’m on my trips. Hopefully, these steps get me on the right track.

 

I still have so much to learn

I know I’ve learned a lot this past year, but wow, I still have so much to learn! And just when you think that you’re getting good at something… it changes. A big topic of discussion at the conference was the algorithm change that Instagram had just done a few days prior. So I have to learn completely new things, and relearn old things. There isn’t enough time!!

 

We’re all insecure and have moments of self-doubt

We’ve all been there. We’ve all wondered, “Does anyone even care? Does anyone even read my stuff??” We’ve all thought of quitting at one point or another. Sometimes, travel blogging can be depressing AF. When talking to these amazing women though, I realized it wasn’t just me thinking these things. I looked at them, with their impressive blogs, and thought to myself that we all have our bad days. And that’s ok! Even Nadine, of Hey Nadine, reminded us that at one point she started off with 0 followers. But she didn’t give up, even though she had thought about it a few times. There certainly was a sense of solidarity, knowing that we have all had our doubts.

 

We will always want more

You know that feeling you get when you finally meet your hero? The one that seems to have it all together? That has everything you want? That does everything you want to do? Well let me tell you, I have met so many amazing women at WITS that all seem to have what I want. They’re freelancing for magazines. They’re setting up companies. They’re traveling constantly. And yet they still want more. Shit, I’d be happy if I was in their shoes! But they are constantly pushing for more. Striving for more. And I think that is so awesome! Wanting more is a good thing, and the women at WITS are shining examples of that.

 

Buddy The Traveling Monkey Key Takeaways WITS 2016

Here we are with Monica of Monica Goes and Beth Santos, the founder and CEO of Wanderful.

Buddy The Traveling Monkey Key Takeaways WITS 2016

Here we are with Erica of Wanderful Erica and Lindsay of I’ve Been Bit.

Buddy The Traveling Monkey Key Takeaways WITS 2016

 

Next year, WITS will be in Milwaukee and I already can’t wait!

 

Were you at WITS this year or have you been to any travel blogging conference? If so, what did you take away from the experience? We’d love to read your comments below! 🙂