March 15, 2014
Being a freelance Travel writer who’s rarely on the road is like being a swimmer with limited access to a pool. A professional chef without a kitchen. A keyboardist who’s unable to get her hands on a piano or organ. You get the idea. And since I’m no longer living in Europe—or working as a full-time freelance journalist—I miss out on the pure adrenaline rush that comes from leaving home for some other destination. Thankfully, I get short-term fixes thanks to CNN’s Emmy Award-winning “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown,” the fantasy-inducing “House Hunters International” … and occasional Travel reporting getaways, such as last weekend’s amazing trip with my dad to 5-star The American Club and Kohler Waters Spa in nearby Kohler, Wisconsin.
And that’s why I’m especially psyched to be headed this morning to the Women In Travel Summit in downtown Chicago. The brainchild of entrepreneur Beth Santos, WITS bills itself as “the first and only travel blogging summit by and for women.” And it’s a tangible outgrowth of Go Girl Travel Network, a resource and online community for women travelers, of which Santos is founder and CEO.
I first wrote about Go Girl last year, helping spread the word about a fabulous networking event that Santos and her spirited team were hosting. But this weekend, they’re taking it WAY to the next level with WITS, a March 14-16 fest at Chicago’s historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel that will give attendees a chance to “meet other female travel bloggers, connect with brands, build expertise and engage in the global sisterhood of traveling women.”
Ahhh … nothing like being able to shout hallelujah! along with the already-converted. And although it’s about seven blocks from my downtown Chicago condo, I thoroughly expect it’ll transport me many, many miles away in spirit.
It’s hard to believe, but the last time I went to a Travel blogging conference was the FIRST time I went to one. It was Travel Blog Exchange’s Chicago conference back in 1999, when I was still a newbie blogger. Afterward, I wrote on this blog how “going to events like these helps me remember why I LOVE travel, why I’m willing to spend most of my disposable dollars to see the world – and they remind me of the power of WORDS.” That’s still true today.
I’ll be writing about Women In Travel Summit for “TCW Travel Connection,” the Travel blog I created a few years ago and still maintain for Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine. But I’ll be sure to share it with my UrbanTravelGirls, as well. Santos and her traveling sisterhood plan to make WITS an annual event—and I’ll let you know where they’re heading next.
Until then, my friends—let’s all keep on traveling!
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