Here's my very personal list, in no set order, of the idiosyncratic things I learned at Travel Blog Exchange '10 hosted by Kim Mance and her Galavanting team in New York City this past weekend. (Forgive me, Spud Hilton. This story is about my trip, not my reader's vacation.)
In part, it's a list of "shoulds." Yes, I know all about the evil of should. I've succumbed to it before and certainly will again.
1. I should get out of the house more. Especially if I want to continue calling myself a travel blogger.
2. I should post more often, for the same reason.
3. I need to converse in person with other intelligent adult humans more often. (See point 1.) I do this best in small groups or one-on-one. I'm happy enough in a large group, but I tend to drift to the perimeter of the crowd to become an observer.
4. Two cocktails in one evening is my absolute limit when indulging in a public venue. Thanks to Sean Keener of @Bootsnall and Pete Meyers of @Eurocheapo for helping me (finally) figure that out. That's not to say I won't have to relearn my lesson.
5. Travel blogging isn't just a young person's sport, but one should recognize one's limits. (See point 4.) One should also stay in training.
6. It's okay to be weird in the company of other travel bloggers.
7. I can live without my laptop and digital SLRs for a weekend, but I can't live without some way to connect to the Internet.
8. AT&T 3G service in Manhattan isn't as groovy there as it is in other parts of the country. (See point 7.)
9. It is entirely possible to cultivate real human relationships sight unseen via social media and blogs. Proof: the joy of meeting Zach Everson, Meryl Pearlstein, Renee King, Doug Anweiler, Lola Akinmade, Kara Williams, Todd Lucier, Jennifer Miner, Mara Gorman, Craig Martin, Christine Cantera, Jennifer Huber, Robin Locker Lacey, Trisha Miller, and countless others for the first time in the flesh after long acquaintance online.
10. I'm still capable of hero(ine) worship. Cases in point: Pam Mandel (I hope you don't think I'm stalking you on Twitter), Evelyn Hannon (I read and reread your Journeywoman travel tips before every trip to a new place), Gary Arndt (Your travel porn feeds my fantasies, and I have to agree with your camera advice, although I'd much rather travel with the camera I don't yet have).
11. It will take me a bit of time to get used to referring to people by their real names when I know them so well by their Twitter handles. (See point 9. If I didn't call you out by name, it's because I'm still in the process of rebuilding my internal contact database.)
12. Going out on a limb to write in one's naturally quirky voice is good practice for a persnickety grammarian.
13. I received no compensation or sponsorship for this post or for attending TBEX. I have only myself to thank or blame. I would, however, consider help getting to Vancouver next year.