Be Present

The team behind Briefcase to Backpack, Sherry Ott & Michaela Potter, recently attended the Travel Blog Exchange conference (TBEX10) where we were able to meet many of the people we network with online in the flesh. The experience of having our virtual worlds collide with our physical lives impressed upon us the importance of old school networking.

[singlepic=1837,300,,,right]The digital world is king. Most of our interactions are done digitally now; just think about your average week of texting, social networking, and emailing. Even for people who don’t live online as I do, the digital world has crept into the heart of our days. When was the last time you mailed a letter, or called someone’s land line? Do you even have a land line? We read our news digitally, we date digitally, we even manage to purchase our gas without ever having to see or talk to another person. Physical interaction is old fashioned.

In the world of digital connections sometimes I forget the power of simply being physically present. So when the panel of travel writers and editors sat down in front of the audience and actually started talking I was a bit startled; they were real people talking to me. Their wise voices emoted rise and fall in pitch, and there were pauses for emphasis. I could read their facial expressions and most importantly understand their tone. All little things I have come to take for granted in the flat world of reading text online.

The panel was impressive. Even though I had met some of them before in social settings, it felt different this time. I was here to hear them speak about there craft – in person; I was present.

The expert panel of writers and editors talked about the importance of story telling as opposed to simply describing the situation. They discussed the importance of arc in a story, and writing using all of the senses. As I sat and listened to them it hit me; none of what they were saying was rocket science. In fact – I’m pretty sure that in my digital world of Google searches I could have found these exact pieces of information if I had googled “how to write a good travel story”. But listening to them speak the words and see their expressions and body movement gave it all a different impact.

It inspired me.

I got out my notebook and started to write notes…actual handwritten notes. I really thought about what they were saying and it resonated with me. I believe it resonated with me because I was there physically in person to hear their voices resonate – a complete physical and emotional experience.

This got me thinking about my own blog and writing. After all, I looked around the auditorium and was surrounded by travel bloggers. We push out digital information to our readers who we’ve never met physically. Sure, that’s an effective way to reach people; however, how much more effective would it be to actually be able to speak to my readers. Or more importantly, how much more inspired would they be if they actually met me in person and heard me talk about the benefits of career break and extended travel. Would they be inspired?

[singlepic=1838,300,,,right]This is why I’m so excited to be a part of creating the travel discussion, Meet, Plan, Go! a free event where you can physically meet some of your favorite travel experts and ask them questions in person. I think it’s great that you read Briefcase to Backpack to learn about other inspiring couples and solo travelers benefiting from taking traveling career breaks. But consider how much more inspired you would be if you could actually meet some of them. Would the message seem more powerful, more meaningful, more compelling? I think so.

We are trying to bring you that opportunity when organizing Meet, Plan, Go! We’ve brought together a group of truly inspirational travel writers/bloggers, career breakers, and extended travelers to simply give you time with them. Time with them in person. They will be scattered out among 13 locations in the US and Canada as we try to reach as many of you as we can.

Why are we doing this? Because we want you to see the world. I hope you join us and see our body language, hear our tone, listen to our pitch; and most importantly receive our message in a way that can be much more powerful than bit and bytes.

The message is more powerful in person.

Be present.

Do you receive and process a message differently in person as opposed to writing?  Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

Other comments

6 Comments on "Be Present"

  1. Nick Laborde on Tue, 6th Jul 2010 1:22 pm 

    Great idea, I’ll have to check out the one in my neck of the woods (for now), Atlanta.

    When will the dates be announced?

  2. Sherry Ott on Tue, 6th Jul 2010 2:11 pm 

    Hi Nick! You have a great idea for your site – very inspiring! At Briefcase to Backpack we are all about challenging your self and having that lead to personal development!
    I do hope you attend the Meet Plan Go event in Atlanta – the brilliant women from are hosting it.
    The date is September 14th and we should have more details up regarding time and venue in the next couple of weeks. It should be a nice casual way for you to meet career breakers and learn more about how you can take a sabbatical or career break and travel!

  3. Nick Laborde on Tue, 6th Jul 2010 7:15 pm 

    Thanks, the site is still a work in progress, I don’t have much content up yet. Reading this blog and others is definitely inspiring me to push foreword.

    Sept, 14 is already marked on my calendar. I’m a member of an active bloggers meetup group that has several career breakers in it. I’ll be sure to pass this along.

  4. Andy Hayes on Wed, 7th Jul 2010 11:12 pm 

    Humans are social beings, and there are many things that technology will never replace. The warmth of a handshake. The intonations of voice. That gut feeling when you look someone in the eyes.

  5. Sherry Ott on Sat, 10th Jul 2010 5:51 pm 

    Absolutely right Andy – that’s why it was great to finally meet you in person a couple of weeks ago!

  6. A Review Of Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) 2010 | Travel Blog Advice on Sat, 17th Jul 2010 12:56 pm 

    […] a digital world and industry, personal connections are still more powerful than any other kind. It was surprisingly nice to find out that so many people I had come to know […]

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