As a first timer at TBEX I really had no idea what to expect.  I had been wandering solo around South America for a year but I was more nervous about meeting nearly 400 travel bloggers than catching my night bus to a remote Amazon town and swimming in a lake with piranhas and alligators.

I needn’t have worried.  Once I had got past the stress of deciphering the official TBEX website (TBEX administrators: please take note – a glossary for newbies would be ENORMOUSLY useful) and once I had juggled my trips, hostels and hotels, I jumped on my last minute flight to Barcelona.

There was a fabulous Welcome party in the grounds of the Hotel Santa Marta where old friends caught up and mingled with the new.  We were fed and watered like royalty, entertained and educated over the course of the conference at the Evenia Olympic Resort and we had the opportunity to see all that Lloret de Mar had to offer tourists.  We were treated to a sangria reception courtesy of Eurail and there was a closing party sponsored by Lloret de Mar and Costa Brava. My FAM Trip (luckily I eventually worked out that these were not restricted to families before all the spaces were taken up) was my first major press trip and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction as I was wined, dined and shown all that the Pla de l’Estany region in Catalunya had to offer.

And after all of that, I decamped to the resort of Platja d’Aro where I recovered my senses at the Hotel Planamar for 6 nights.  It was here that I made plans to take my blog to the next level, inspired and encouraged by all of the people that I had met over the previous week. Not everything is rosy in my life and I still have some very dark days, and while I certainly wish that some things had been dealt with or had turned out differently, I do not regret for one minute handing in my resignation, quitting my job and taking off to follow my dreams.

I can’t mention everybody by name but I will keep in touch with and collaborate with many bloggers and quite a few of the show sponsors and I am also intending to be at TBEX in Bangkok. But I do want to mention and thank Jaume Marin, the director of Patronat Turisme Costa Brava Girona and his team who put together a most spectacular package of opportunities and who showcased Catalunya, at its very best and the hotels which hosted me – the Hotel la Sala de Camos in Banyoles and the Hotel Planamar in Platja d’Aro

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